'What options does the Court have in deciding the challenge?
Coyle: The justices have the following options:
They can rule that their jurisdiction to decide the challenge is barred by the Anti-Injunction Act. That decision would only put off the constitutional test until at least 2015 when the penalty on eligible persons who fail to buy minimum coverage is enforced.
They can rule that the law is constitutional. That would end the legal debate, but not the political debate. Whatever the justices do, the health care law likely will be an issue in the presidential election campaigns.
They can strike down the individual mandate. If they take that option, they then face three sub-options (You didn't really think this was going to be simple, did you?)
They could decide the mandate cannot be severed from the rest of the law, and the entire law must fall. This probably would create considerable chaos and uncertainty, because a number of states already have moved to implement the law and have offered insurance to people who were unable to get it or afford it prior to the law's enactment. However, such a decision also would end the legal, but not the political debate.
They could decide that the mandate can be severed from the rest of the law. The government argues that the mandate is inextricably entwined with two other provisions -- a prohibition on insurers denying coverage of preexisting conditions and charging higher premiums based on health status or gender. Without the mandate, the government predicts premiums would skyrocket and other market reforms would fail.
They could sever the mandate and the guaranteed issue and community rating provisions and decide that the rest of the law can function as Congress intended.
They could uphold the expansion of the federal-state Medicaid program.
They could strike down the Medicaid expansion as unconstitutional.'
PBS | 'Primer: Supreme Court's Health Reform Ruling Expected Soon' by JASON KANE at June 8, 2012 at 1:13 PM EDT