The assisted health care reform brought in by President Obama and widely referred to as Obamacare, is under threat due to wording in the law but one Supreme Court Chief Justice could be able to save the entire programme.
It was three years ago that Supreme Court Chief Justice John Robert cast the vote that essentially saved President Barack Obama’s Obamacare and he could be the man to help keep it on the books as another challenge against it prepares to enter the high court.
According to a report by Reuters, Supreme Court Chief Justice John Robert looks like being the vote that could sway things in the favour of the government and Obamacare.
Reuters explains that the conservative challengers in the case aim to persuade Roberts and the other eight justices that the federal government has overreached by providing tax subsidies to millions of people in 34 states that didn’t create their own insurance exchanges.
Their argument will revolve around wording in the 2010 law that insurance would be provided through exchanges “established by the state,” which they argue rules out a federal role.
However commentators are reminding people that recently Roberts has tended to vote in the favour of the arguments set out by government and he has already stated his concerns about upsetting the balance between federal and state law, especially when it comes to any form of ambiguity in a law’s wording.
According to the government the Obamacare law, when read as a whole, shows the subsidies were intended to be available nationwide.
People will have to wait until March 4th to be able to hear the oral arguments in the case which is then expected to run on until the end of June.
The results of the case will decide the fate of millions of people in states that do not have exchanges as if the government loses the case, these people would lose their subsidies.
According to Reuters, Supreme Court Chief Justice John Robert was appointed by Republican President George W. Bush in 2005. The former corporate lawyer joined the court’s liberal wing in the 2012 case, which ruled Obamacare was constitutional.
While all eyes will be on Roberts as to how he votes, people will also be looking to Anthony Kennedy who is known for often swinging the vote either one way or the other depending on his decision.
Reuters concludes that in this case it really is difficult to predict how any individual justice will vote, particularly before hearing his or her questions at oral arguments.