TOPEKA – (November 14, 2011) – Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt today issued the following statement on the United States Supreme Court’s decision to hear arguments on the constitutionality of the federal health care law:
“The Supreme Court’s decision today puts the full range of issues before the Court. Recognizing the significance of the constitutional issues presented, the Court has scheduled a rare 5 ½-hour oral argument on the health care law. I am encouraged that the Court has agreed to hear not only the issues surrounding the constitutionality of the so-called ‘individual mandate’ but also whether Congress exceeded its constitutional authority by threatening to withhold a state’s entire Medicaid allotment unless the state shapes its Medicaid program exactly as Congress commands. These are issues that go to the heart of our federal system and its structured protection of liberty, and it is appropriate for the Supreme Court to resolve them.”
The Supreme Court today consolidated three separate requests to review the decision of the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals regarding the constitutionality of the federal health care law. Kansas is a plaintiff in that lawsuit, along with 25 other states. The Court agreed to hear four issues arising out of those appeals, including the constitutionality of the individual mandate and the coercion issues regarding withholding all Medicaid funding. In light of the Court’s action today, it is likely that oral arguments will occur in February or March with a decision expected by June 2012.