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Summary of health care legal arguments

(AP) – The Obama administration, a group of 26 states led by Florida and the National Federation of Independent Business filed Supreme Court briefs Friday on different aspects of the health care law that the court will consider in late March. A summary of their arguments:

Obama administration: In a filing addressing the law’s core requirement that individuals buy health insurance or pay a penalty, the administration said Congress acted within its constitutional powers when it included the individual mandate, also known as the minimum coverage provision. The government said Congress has broad power to address issues of major national economic importance and said health care spending, accounting for nearly 18 percent of the economy, surely is such an issue. The federal appeals court in Atlanta struck down the mandate, saying Congress overstepped its authority.


Florida and 25 other states: Their brief was limited to their argument that if one piece of the law is struck down _ as they argue should happen _ then the rest of the Affordable Care Act should fall. The states, likening the law to a wheel, describe the individual mandate provision as the hub and say it cannot be removed while leaving the spokes _ its other provisions _ in place. The states say that if the court strikes down the expansion of Medicaid, then the whole law should be invalidated as well.


NFIB: Addressing only the issue of what happens if the individual requirement is invalidated, the federation also says the rest of the law should be struck down. The small-business group said the individual mandate is intended to work with other major insurance reforms. It further says that if all the insurance reforms fall, then the rest of the law would be a bunch of “tag-along” provisions that should not be allowed to remain in place.

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