Court Debates Constitutionality of Mandatory Health Care

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- The U.S. Supreme Court will consider Tuesday the constitutionality of President Obama's individual mandate for health care.

During the second day of hearings of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, commonly referred to as Obamacare, the nine justices will listen to oral arguments about the minimum coverage provision that requires taxpayers to report their health insurance coverage on tax returns or pay a penalty.

Tuesday's hearings, which will last for two hours, concern the well-known individual mandate provision of the legislation that requires individuals without employer- or government-sponsored health insurance to receive minimum coverage.

Tuesday's hearings come a day after the court listened to Solicitor General Donald Verrilli Jr. and outside lawyer Robert Long argue the case that Obamacare is a tax and should therefore be reviewed by the court after the legislation takes effect in 2014.

Monday's arguments were a formality as the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals made the judgment that the legislation is a tax, which meant the Supreme Court had to hear the case. Neither the Obama administration nor the states opposed to the Affordable Care Act supports the tax argument, though the administration had initially fought for the point of view.

-- Written by Joe Deaux in New York

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