Today's arguments hit the core of the Affordable Care Act: the mandate that requires just about everyone to have health insurance starting in 2014.
And the U.S. Supreme Court's justices appeared split on whether the federal government can force people to buy health insurance. The court's conservatives appeared skeptical and unmoved by the government's arguments in favor of the mandate.
"The government had a hard time, and if they win, they win narrowly," NPR's Nina Totenberg reported from outside the court. "I don't think you can call this."
On Tuesday, the Supreme Court hears its second day of testimony about the Affordable Care Act. At issue is a central tenet of that law: whether it's legal to require individuals to purchase health care.
But apart from the legal debate, there are questions about the economics of the mandate. Some — like Peggy Bodner of Portland, Ore. — worry it may be difficult to find the money to pay for health insurance, even with government subsidies.
The U.S. Supreme Court gets to the heart of the health care arguments Tuesday. Almost exactly two years after Congress passed the Obama health care overhaul, the justices are hearing legal arguments testing the constitutionality of the so-called health care mandate — so-called because those words actually do not appear in the law.
The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday opened three days of oral arguments over the constitutionality of the insurance requirement embedded in President Obama's landmark health care law with a simple question and an obscure 1867 law.
The question: Does the court even have the right to hear the health care challenge, given that the Anti-Injunction Act prevents federal courts from taking cases where taxpayers are trying to prevent the government from "assessing or collecting" taxes?