By Sam Baker - 03/28/12 08:08 PM EDT
During the last session of Supreme Court healthcare arguments, Justice Elena Kagan challenged states opposing the law's Medicaid expansion, suggesting that the program was not unduly coercive, as they had asserted.
Medicaid is, legally, a voluntary program operated jointly by states and the federal government. But the states that filed the healthcare suit claimed the new expansion of the program amounts to “coercion” because no state could realistically afford to give up so much federal money. The federal government will initially pay for the entire Medicaid expansion, then cut its share to 90 percent.
Similarly, the states are complaining because they're getting such a large gift from the federal government, she said.
"It's just a boatload of federal money to take and spend on poor people's healthcare," Kagan said. "It doesn't sound very coercive to me."