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News Posted on March 27, 2012

Associate Dean Amar Comments for Media on Supreme Court Affordable Care Act Arguments

Vikram Amar, Associate Dean and Professor of Law at UC Davis School of Law, commented on the U.S. Supreme Court arguments on the Affordable Care Act for media including National Public Radio station KQED, Southern California Public Radio station KPCC, and KCBS radio. 

As a guest on KQED's Forum program, Amar talked about the issues before the Court, including the reasoning behind the argument that the Commerce Clause of the U.S. Constitution supports the Act's requirement that individuals purchase health insurance. 

"If Congress has the power to prohibit insurance companies from discriminating against persons with pre-existing conditions, and everyone agrees that it does, and if Congress has the power to force health care providers to provide services even to people who cannot pay, and I think everyone agrees that it does, then Congress has the auxiliary power to eliminate free riders who would have an incentive to not get insurance but wait until they get sick or they're injured, and the appropriate way that Congress has decided to eliminate the free rider problem is to require people to procure insurance or else pay money into the treasury," Amar said.  "So it's really the regulation of the insurance companies and the healthcare providers that drives the economic sensibility of imposing a mandate on individual consumers."

Amar said that however the Court may rule, he hoped that it would not be a decision in which the five Republican appointees strike down the Act, which is often seen as the signature achievement of the Obama administration and which Republicans have sought to overturn.  Such a decision, Amar said, would "erode the line between constitutional law and party politics."

Vikram Amar, Associate Dean of Academic Affairs and Professor of Law with the UC Davis School of Law, is a national authority in the fields of constitutional law, civil procedure, criminal procedure, and remedies. His biweekly column for, a leading provider of online legal information, centers on his expertise in constitutional law.

KQED Forum