Feb. 9, 2016 SIGN IN | REGISTER

Anxiety Permeates Health Care Case

Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call
Sen. Richard Blumenthal was among the Members of Congress speaking to reporters about the health care reform law as the Supreme Court began hearing the case against it Monday.

Alito also noted concerns that forcing people to wait until after they’ve paid a penalty on the individual mandate puts people in a position of having to disobey the law to make a claim. Long disagreed with that contention, but he later allowed, “I would not argue that this statute is a perfect model of clarity” to chuckles.

DeGette, a lawyer and a prominent backer of the law, acknowledged that the justices face a tricky task in sorting through the tax question. “If they are going to uphold the mandate, they might have to call it a tax,” she acknowledged, and yet, if it is a tax, taking the case now appears to contradict the statute.

“It’s a fine line,” she said.

She said the tax concerns could be the “sleeper issue” but that she expects the court to rule on the broader case and find a way around it.

Otherwise, she surmised, it wouldn’t have taken the case in the first place.

Meredith Shiner contributed to this report.

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