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J Health Polit Policy Law. 2013 Apr;38(2):273-82. doi: 10.1215/03616878-1966261. Epub 2012 Dec 21.

"Our own limited role in policing those boundaries": taking small steps on health care.

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  • Princeton University, USA.


The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act ignited a political firestorm and raised intriguing new questions of constitutional law. Cutting a path between the liberals and conservatives on the US Supreme Court, Chief Justice John Roberts made small adjustments in established constitutional law to uphold key features of the act. In doing so, he not only upheld the statute but also left the landscape of constitutional law much as he had found it. He did, however, suggest that the federal courts should take a more active role in monitoring how Congress uses its constitutional powers and should not shy away from making specific determinations of whether Congress had abused its power in particular cases.

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