Update (II): The second part of the discussion today is about the expansion of medicaid. This has to do with when the Federal Government can coerce states with financial incentives. I will say bluntly I have not explored that issue as much as the mandate and severability, so I will write a post on the severability arguments first, and then listen to the second argument and see if I have any insight on that. It might be the case that I have none.
And ultimately it might be irrelevant. If the Supreme Court rules that none of the act can be severed, then this whole question becomes moot. But I will confess to a certain amount of skepticism of the argument that somehow cutting off Federal funding is "coercive."
We now resume the original post, more or less as it was written.
This isn’t likely to be as “sexy” as yesterday’s arguments, but here’s the thing: in some ways it is more important. They are talking about severability. The issue is, if the mandate is unconstitutional, does that mean the whole law is struck down, or just part of it? And that is important because if only part of it is struck down, the rest of it could be a potential economic disaster.
Update: Having only listened to the first part of the discussion, I can see that the conservatives are toying with the idea of making new law. They are arguing that the mandate is the "heart" of Obamacare, and thus it is inappropriate to be talking about severing the rest when you cut out the heart. It also seems that even the liberals will want to sever out more than the mandate, if the mandate is struck down. More will come.