The next round in the litigation that will determine the future of the health care reform law is about to begin, with the Supreme Court on Thursday setting the schedule for briefs to be filed before oral arguments.
Generally, briefs on the key issues before the court will be due in early January, with reply briefs due in early February and final briefs due in mid-March.
Issues on which briefs will be filed include:
- Whether the law's individual mandate is constitutional. That mandate, effective in January 2014, requires individuals to enroll in a qualified health care plan or pay a financial penalty.
- Whether the entire law can stand if the individual mandate is to be found unconstitutional.
- Whether a challenge to the individual mandate can be decided before penalties for not having coverage are imposed.
A hearing date for oral arguments has not been set, but a decision in the case is expected by the end of the court's term in June.
The Supreme Court in November agreed to review the legality of the reform law.