Massachusetts Keeps A Close Eye On Supreme Court

The Supreme Court Justices (DonkeyHotey/Flickr)
The Supreme Court Justices (DonkeyHotey/Flickr)

Martha Bebinger reports that "the unprecedented combination of health care policy, legal theory and broccoli before the U.S. Supreme Court this week has kept many Boston area residents glued to their computers, radios, TVs and phones for updates."

This barrage of coverage has an air of inevitability to it: there's an overall sense that the individual mandate will be invalidated and much, if not all, of the health law may go down with it. (The government's case is being called, alternatively, "a train wreck" and a "plane wreck," the U.S. solicitor general's performance has been panned as he came off as nervous and awkward even while the Obama administration says it remains confident that the law will be upheld.)

So, Martha writes: "Many Massachusetts residents are surprised at how the individual mandate was described this week in and outside the Supreme Court."

"One thing we’re hearing a lot in Washington, particularly from people who are opposed and would like to see it overturned, is how draconian the mandate is and what an extreme overreach of government it is, and it’s the death of freedom and all of that," says David Kravitz, co-founder of the left leaning blog Blue Mass Group.

Kravitz says he's struck, listening to these claims, by how little opposition he’s seen to the individual mandate in Massachusetts, the only state that currently requires residents to buy health insurance.

"And I say that as someone, honestly, who was quite skeptical of whether an individual mandate was a good idea and was necessary to get the law to go forward," adds Kravitz.

In Massachusetts there have not been any major court challenges or attempts to overturn the health insurance requirement. Andrew Dreyfus says that's because "we were able in Massachusetts to create a culture of coverage, an expectation that this is part of our value system. Unfortunately that’s not been embraced nationally."

This program aired on March 29, 2012. The audio for this program is not available.

Headshot of Rachel Zimmerman

Rachel Zimmerman Reporter
Rachel Zimmerman previously reported on health and the intersection of health and business for WBUR. She is working on a memoir about rebuilding her family after her husband’s suicide. 



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