How will stock markets react to the Supreme Court’s health care decision? What will Joe Biden and John Boehner say? When will the president appear on TV? We have answers to these and other burning questions.
Thursday will be a big day for the Constitution and for Washington, D.C., when the Supreme Court announces its decision on the multifaceted health care law.
You can check here at Constitution Daily for a quick breakdown of the decision, around 10:15 a.m. EST.
Officially, it's known as the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, and it's called "Obamacare" by the act's opponents.
Here is what to watch for after the court's decision is announced.
President Barack Obama and the Democrats
The president’s schedule is open for Thursday. His last scheduled event is a picnic with members of Congress on Wednesday night in Washington, D.C.
Usually, the president will appear on national TV in the first hour after a major news event, especially one with a fixed time like the Supreme Court’s health care decision. Expect the major TV networks to take the president live.
Given the possible complexity of the Court’s decision, it could take longer for President Obama to appear. He will likely make a statement and not take questions. He could appear with Vice President Joe Biden, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.
Pelosi will probably issue a written statement later in the morning, as should Reid.
Biden is in Iowa on Wednesday for a bus tour campaign stop. His schedule is open for Thursday. Hopefully, for reporters, Biden will be standing next to an open microphone at some point.
Mitt Romney and the Republicans
Romney is campaigning in northern Virginia on Wednesday and has an open schedule on Thursday.
Expect Romney to make a public appearance. His campaign will issue a statement after the court’s decision. Romney could read his own statement or take questions.
The presumptive GOP presidential candidate has frequently said he will overturn President Obama’s health reform program, with the help of Congress, if he is elected.
Also look for House Speaker John Boehner and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell to appear, close to when President Obama pops up on TV.
Stock market reaction
Markets open in earnest at 9:30 a.m. EST, about 45 minutes before the Supreme Court’s announcement.
Investors usually “price in” big economic news well in advance, so the market open on Thursday, or close on Wednesday probably won't be an indicator of how investors anticipate the court’s decision.
In March 2010, the passage of the Affordable Care Act didn’t have a big effect on markets, but stocks rose for hospital operators and fell for insurance companies.
An analysis on Wednesday on Marketwatch.com backs up the theory that the health care decision shouldn’t drive markets on Thursday.
But if the decision is so dramatic as to effect the presidential election, markets could react strongly.
The states, the governors
The governments of the 50 states have a huge stake in the health care decision, since the Supreme Court will decide how they participate in Medicaid’s expansion.
If the Supreme Court upholds Title 2 of the Affordable Care Act, which greatly expands Medicaid at the state level, governors and budget makers will scramble to find more cuts in the budgets.
Many states have enacted Medicaid spending cuts, but if the court upholds Title 2, states must hold the line of cuts and budget for more spending, starting in 2017.
Expect the group of 26 governors who sued the federal government over the Affordable Care Act to have a statement on Thursday.
Health insurers and medical care providers
The biggest issues for the health industry are parts of the ACA that require people to buy insurance or pay a tax penalty, and the section that allows all people to buy insurance despite pre-existing medical conditions.
Expect a negative reaction if the Court strikes down the individual mandate to buy insurance but still requires insurance companies to take new customers with medical problems.
Health insurers will have a more positive reaction if the Court strikes the pre-existing conditions requirement or the section that bars insurers from putting lifetime benefit limits on customers.
Either way, the health industry has spent two years preparing for the Supreme Court’s decision, and their reaction on Thursday will be measured, and probably slower in coming than reaction from the politicians.
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