Five key questions for the Supreme Court to consider in a healthcare decision

A handful of specific questions from last week's oral arguments could help shape the Supreme Court's landmark ruling on President Obama’s healthcare law.

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The over-arching question before the court is whether the law’s individual mandate is constitutional. But that’s a complicated question, and the two sides of the case don't even agree about how best to ask it.

A decision is expected to come in June — just months before the presidential election.

The biggest takeaway from last week’s arguments was that the mandate is very much in jeopardy. That doesn’t mean, however, that the court is sure to strike it down, and the oral arguments helped illuminate several areas the justices will likely consider in their private deliberations.

Here are five questions that could shape the court’s ruling:

  1. Is this about healthcare or health insurance?
  2. Where do the mandates stop?
  3. What constitutes an “activist” approach?
  4. What happened to the Necessary and Proper Clause?
  5. Why does the mandate exist?

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