Three days of oral arguments on President Obama's Affordable Care Act before the Supreme Court got underway this morning -- just a few days after the law's second anniversary. And while the Supreme Court's decision is not expected until June, the fight, not just over the constitutionality of the health-care law but the fundamental role of government, will again take center stage.
What's at stake here? PolicyShop has the rundown:
If the Court were to strike down the mandate but not the rest of the Act, the insurance industry would be all over Congress to find another way to solve the free-rider problem. As my colleague Paul Starr has demonstrated, that would not be difficult.
The end result is to greatly reduce the number of free riders in the system that are driving up costs for the rest of us. The mandate aims to protects us from paying for the irresponsibility of our fellow citizens, which should logically expand our personal freedom and choice, not constrict it.
This argument falls short for several reasons. First, the overall economic effects of the law are simply too small relative to the overall size of the economy to have much of an effect on employment.