Week ahead: Supreme Court dives into health reform lawsuits

The petitions — and the issues they raise — are linked to:

• The 26-state challenge in Florida, which argues that the individual mandate violates the rights of states and employers. The plaintiffs also argue that the law’s expansion of Medicaid is unconstitutional, and that the whole law should be struck down if the mandate is thrown out;

• The National Federation of Independent Business’s argument that the whole law should be struck down if the mandate is removed;

• The Thomas More Law Center’s challenge regarding the government’s power to impose a mandate on private individuals; 

• Liberty University’s argument that the government can’t impose new insurance obligations on private employers; and

• The Department of Health and Human Services’s appeal, which argues the government does have the authority to impose the mandate and that challenges are barred by the Tax Anti-Injunction Act, which prohibits challenges to taxes before they go into effect (the mandate and its penalties start in 2014). 

Just in time for the coming Supreme Court conference, the University of Richmond Law Review hosts a symposium on procedural aspects of the legal challenges to health law. Topics at the event on Friday include the role of states as litigants, the scope and legal effect of the individual mandate, and the broader regulatory and political landscape. 

On Capitol Hill, the House is out, but the Senate has a few healthcare events lined up.

On Wednesday, the Senate Judiciary Committee’s Privacy subcommittee holds a hearing on "Protecting Health Information in a Digital World." On Thursday, the Health Committee holds a hearing titled "Improving Quality, Lowering Costs: The Role of Health Care Delivery System Reform."

The supercommittee continues to meet as Republicans seek their own “go big” plan for cutting the deficit. Both sides have called for the supercommittee to go beyond its requirement to come up with at least $1.2 trillion in deficit reduction, but Democrats have so far compromised the most by offering hundreds of billions of dollars in entitlement benefit cuts.

Off the Hill, the Brookings Institution on Tuesday hosts British Health Secretary Andrew Lansley, who will present his vision for modernizing the U.K. healthcare system. And the American Medical Association’s House of Delegates interim meeting begins over the weekend in New Orleans.