President Barack Obama is "confident" that the health care overhaul he has described as his signature domestic achievement is constitutional but he will be "ready" for anything.
"We remain confident that the Affordable Care Act is constitutional and we are ready for whatever decision is rendered by the Supreme Court," press secretary Jay Carney told reporters aboard Air Force One.
The high court's ruling is expected on Thursday, moments after 10 am. The nine justices have given no hint of their decision. The court could uphold or strike down the law in whole or in part. Much of the oral arguments focused on whether the government has the right to require Americans to buy health insurance — the so-called "individual mandate" at the core of the landmark overhaul.
The White House had previously denied having a "Plan B" if the court guts the law. But Carney told reporters that "the administration has pressed forward with implementing the various aspects of the Affordable Care Act, and will continue to do so."
And he brushed aside weekend news reports that detailed some second-guessing of the administration's legal strategy. "While I sometimes try to sound like one, I'm not a lawyer, and I can't dissect each argument," Carney said.
"But I can say that we have confidence in the Justice Department and the Solicitor General and we are confident that the law is constitutional," the spokesman said. Solicitor General Donald Verrilli, Jr, had drawn fire from liberals for a sometimes stumbling performance in oral arguments before the court. The White House has always publicly expressed confidence in him.