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Health care arguments conclude: Day One

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Stacey Vanek Smith: The Supreme Court justices have just finished hearing today’s arguements on President Obama’s health care reform. For the next three days, the Court will hear about several aspects of the overhaul.

Our own Gregory Warner was there, he’s outside of the courthouse now. Gregory, good morning.

Gregory Warner: Good morning, good morning. I’m squatting on the courthouse steps, basically.

Vanek Smith: Well set the scene for us, because from what I understand, there is quite a scene to set.

Warner: It’s mobs here — you have one group shouting ‘Save the Constitution;’ the other shouting ‘Save the families.’ I’m looking at the people holding signs, ‘People of faith for health care,’ so everyone’s put in their claim. And they have a part roped off now for Sen. Santorum, who’s scheduled to speak soon.

Vanek Smith: Wow. What happened inside the courtroom today?

Warner: Today was a bit legalistic, but basically it’s something called the Anti-Injunction Act was being debated, and it’s the question, it’s really kind of down to: Can the Court rule on this individual mandate, rule on this health care law now, or do they have to wait for the actual part of the law to go into effect in 2014? You know, the debate is interesting, it has to do with whether this is a tax or penalty. Really, two things out of today: one is, the justices clearly staking out their larger positions that are going to carry forward into the next two days, asking the states: How exactly are you harmed by this mandate to have everyone have health insurance, how does that harm you? And another interesting aspect here is we’re coming out on this second day — sorry, I’m being distracted here —

Vanek Smith: Well that is live radio on the steps of the courthouse, our own Gregory Warner.

Warner: Here I am, back in a more secure location.

Vanek Smith: Oh you’re back, excellent. Well, Gregory Warner in Washington, thank you Gregory.

Warner: OK, thanks a lot.

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