The Supreme Court wraps up its last day of hearings Wednesday over the future of health care reform with renewed focus on an issue once dismissed by many legal and political analysts as trivial.
It follows Tuesday's fascinating, monumental court discussion about the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act's key provision: the individual mandate requiring most Americans to have health insurance or face a financial penalty. The mandate's future appeared to be in trouble, based on questioning from the court's conservative majority.
At issue: Must the entire law's 450 or so provisions be scrapped if the mandate -- the key funding mechanism of the law -- is found unconstitutional? And are states being "coerced" by the federal government to expand their share of Medicaid costs and administration, with the risk of losing that funding if they refuse?