WASHINGTON, D.C. (WWBT) - There has been quite a bit of debate over how the Supreme Court should decide in the health care reform case, but regardless of your opinion, their decision will automatically send shock waves through the country. Not only politically, but also economically and in the relationship you have with your doctor. The confusion comes because the court could rule in any number of ways and each one of those decisions sends the future of health care in this country in a completely different direction.
Let us look at their Options:
"They could punt" - The Supreme Court could decide that they are not allowed to rule in this case because several of the key provisions. Most notably the mandate that requires everyone to have health insurance, have yet to be enacted. Therefore, that means no one can officially complain. That effectively will not change anything, but it will leave a great deal of uncertainty because as soon as things are enacted. This legal process will start over.
"They could throw the whole law out" - This would be the biggest blow to the Obama Administration. They could decide the law as it stands is unconstitutional. That would force the administration to end the programs already enacted immediately including popular a provision that allows children up to the age of 26 to be covered under their parent's plan, and requiring insurance companies to cover pre-existing conditions.
"They could toss out the mandate" - The court has the ability to choose what they like and do not like in the law. The biggest provision in danger is the requirement that everyone buy Health Insurance. If that is tossed the rest of the law would stand, but congress would be in a tough spot because that is what pays for a large part of the plan meaning they would be forced to dramatically alter their policy.
"That could leave it be" - This will be the best-case scenario for the Obama Administration. The court could decide the law meets constitutional muster and allow it to continue to be enacted as planned, ending any future legal challenge.
Each one of these possible outcomes will have a dramatic impact in the debate over health care. That is why we are watching so closely. We will have future stories on what impact this will have in Virginia.