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WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court has several options in ruling on President Barack Obama's healthcare overhaul, from upholding Obamacare to striking it down in its entirety. The court, which is scheduled to hear arguments on the law next week, also could avoid deciding the law's constitutionality at all, if it finds the lawsuits challenging the law are premature. Here is a Q-and-A look at six potential outcomes, from the simplest to the most complicated possible rulings:
Q. What if the Supreme Court upholds the law and finds Congress was within its authority to require most people to have health insurance or pay a penalty?
A. A decision in favor of the law would end the legal fight and allow the administration to push forward with implementing its provisions over the next few years, including the insurance requirement, an expansion of Medicaid and a ban on private insurers' denying coverage to people with pre-existing health problems. The political wrangling, however, probably would continue as Republican candidates for president and lesser offices are calling for repeal of the law
Q. What if, on the other hand, the court strikes down the entire law?
Q. What happens if the court strikes down the individual insurance requirement, but leaves the rest of the Affordable Care Act in place?
Q. What if the court strikes down the mandate, and invalidates the parts of the law that require insurance companies to cover people regardless of medical problems and limit what they can charge older people?
Q. What happens if the court throws out only the expansion of the Medicaid program?
Q. What happens if the court decides that the constitutional challenge is premature?