WASHINGTON—The Supreme Court did not issue a decision on the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) on Monday. The fate of the landmark law will not be known until the court's final session on Thursday.
Reporters and court-watchers waited on pins and needles for the ACA decision on Monday morning, but the court issued other rulings instead.
Technically, the court could put off the decision until next term, but experts say that is very unlikely.
On Thursday, the court could rule in one of three ways concerning the individual mandate, which requires everyone to have health insurance:
- That the individual mandate is constitutional
- That the individual mandate is unconstitutional, but other components of the law, such as certain insurance market reforms, can stand
- That the individual mandate violates the U.S. Constitution, and that several other major provisions of the landmark law also must be eliminated because they're too closely linked to the mandate to stand on their own. These include the requirement that insurance companies can't deny coverage based on a preexisting medical condition and that they can't charge more based on a person's health status.
The court is also expected to rule on the constitutionality of the law's provision expanding Medicaid.
An unlikely possibility: that the court could put off a decision entirely until 2015. Such a decision would be based on a tax law called the Anti-Injunction Act, which prohibits lawsuits until there's been actual harm. In this case, that would be after the individual mandate and other key provisions go into effect in 2014.