Battle Over Obama Health Care Law: A Legal Primer

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Medicaid:

The state of Florida, joined by 26 other states, also argues that the law will unfairly burden the state in having to provide costly Medicaid to more citizens. Florida Attorney General Pam Bond argues, "The implementation of this law could add more than 1.9 million Floridians to the Medicaid program, a tremendous financial burden on our state at a time when our budget has no room for extra expenses."

But the Obama administration argues that Medicaid is voluntary and states can withdraw from the program if they don't like it. During oral arguments in the Florida case, Deputy Attorney General Ian Gershengorn argued, "State sovereignty is respected when states are given the choice to opt out." As a policy matter the Obama administration says that the federal government will cover the majority of the costs of new enrollees over the next several years. It says that in the long run, states will save money because their citizens will have more medical coverage.

The case is not expected to reach the Supreme Court for about two years. The legal and political scene at that time could change the backdrop of the debate.

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