Monday, November 14, 2011

Big news is the Medicaid grant

Again, the really big news of the morning -- if there is anything surprising -- is that the Court has decided to take up the constitutionality of the ACA's Medicaid amendments. Specifically, the question is whether the spending conditions that the ACA imposes on the states are effectively "coercive," such that they amount to an impermissible commandeering. There is no split on the question, and no lower court judge has yet voted to uphold the states' claim. But the Court will take it up.

As a purely legal matter, this is a bigger issue than the individual mandate. For much of the modern liberal state is undwerwritten by Congress's use of the conditional spending power.