Parts of Health Care Law Could Be Thrown Out

March 28, 2012 ( – On the final day of arguments about the health care reform law, the U.S. Supreme Court justices indicated they may throw out parts of the law if they strike down its core requirement.  

According to news reports, justices debated the question of what would happen if they ruled against the constitutionality of the individual mandate of the 2010 Affordable Care Act. The issue was whether or not all of the law’s 450 provisions would need to be cut if the individual mandate was found unconstitutional.

“My approach would say, if you take the heart out of the statute, the statute’s gone,” Justice Antonin Scalia said.

Paul Clement, the lawyer for 26 states challenging the health care law, argued Wednesday that the court should invalidate the entire statute if it decides the mandatory insurance section, which he called “the very heart of this act,” is unconstitutional.

The justices did show interest Wednesday in at least overturning the provisions that require insurers to cover people with pre-existing conditions.

The court will also hear arguments Wednesday afternoon on the law’s expansion of the Medicaid program for the poor.

It is expected that the court will reveal its final decision the end of June ( also see “Supreme Court Justices Question Excessive Authority of Health Care Mandate” and “U.S. Supreme Court Begins Hearing Health Care Reform Case”).