The Affordable Care Act, the Supreme Court and Line-Standers

by Elaine Schwartz    •    Mar 26, 2012    •    496 Views

If you don’t have 3 days to spare and want to watch the oral arguments for the Affordable Care Act, you can hire a professional line-stander. Charging close to $36 an hour to wait outside the Supreme Court, they started the line last Friday.

There are approximately 400 seats in the courtroom. With each of the Justices allowed 9 people, and the Court staff, certain Congressional leaders, members of the Supreme Court Bar and the media attending, the room fills up quickly. In addition, 60 seats have been allotted to the public for each day’s arguments and another 34 for a 3 to 5 minute peek at the proceedings. With tomorrow (3/27) considered prime because of the individual mandate oral arguments, people might say no for their Monday seat and stay in line for another day.

If you cannot get in, and no radio, no TV, no commercial photos or video, how to be a part of history? Each day, the audio should be available here by 2:00 and you can see the schedule here for the case, formally called Department of Health and Human Services et al. v. State of Florida et al.

You can look at the issues at econlife.

The Economic Lesson

The alternative you sacrifice–your time if you stand in line or your money if you pay a line-stander–is the opportunity cost of the decision. Whatever the Supreme Court decides for Department of Health and Human Services et al. v. State of Florida et al, the opportunity cost will be considerable.

An Economic Question: What is the opportunity cost of a decision you recently made? (Remember that choosing is refusing.)

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