PPACA takes one step closer to the Supreme Court. The United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit heard two cases this week challenging the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act – Liberty University v. Timothy Geithner and Commonwealth of Virginia v. Sebelius. The cases were heard by a three-judge panel randomly selected by a computer. Fox News called it an “Obama-friendly court,” given that two judges were appointed by Obama and one by Clinton. The Court is expected to issue its ruling this summer, after which the cases are expected to be appealed to the Supreme Court, where the constitutionality of PPACA will be ultimately decided. 

Will Republicans advocate universal health care in 2012? OK, probably not, but several GOP presidential hopefuls certainly did at one time or another.  Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, who tweeted his intention to run for president this week, has been “a vocal champion for mandated insurance coverage.” Even “The Donald” has trumpeted the need for a universal health care system in the not-so-distant past.

A lot of attention was paid this week to the similarities between the health care system in Massachusetts and the Affordable Care Act, even as Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney attempted a less than graceful balancing act to defend his record while trying to distance himself from Obama, calling RomneyCare a “state solution to a state program,” unlike Obamacare, which Romney characterized as a “power grab by the federal government.” The Wall Street Journal didn’t pull any punches, advising Romney either to apologize or “knock off Joe Biden and get on the Obama ticket.”

Companies are hiring at the fastest pace since 2006. BenefitsPro reported that American companies are in the midst of a hiring spree. According to Department of Labor figures, April saw the addition of 268,000 jobs, representing the 14th consecutive month of job growth. The figures exceeded economists’ expectations and caused Wall Street to rally. Despite the news, high unemployment in battleground states could pose a major problem for Obama’s bid for reelection.

Quick hits:

The worst retirement savings plan of the week: Ex-Mets clubhouse manager is accused of stealing more than $2 million in team memorabilia to fund his retirement.

CEO pay jumps sharply in 2010: The Wall Street Journal offers an interactive chart of the CEO compensation packages of the 350 largest public companies.

Are retirement advisors becoming extinct? SmartMoney chronicles the rise of the accountant-advisor, and BenefitsPro asks whether traditional retirement advisors are disappearing.

The impact of the “great recession” on retirement savings: The Center for Retirement Research at Boston College released a research paper to examine the long-term effects of the economic downturn on future retirement incomes.

5 of this, 5 of that: Five things 401(k) sponsors need to know and five characteristics of a good 401(k) plan.

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Most popular story on BenefitsPro this week:  Appeals court in Va. Hears health care cases

New app analyzes your brain: Xerox unveiled Business of Your Brain, a new app that offers “an unproven and completely unscientific mental activity analysis” by analyzing the content in an individual’s inbox.

Thought-provoking blog: AdvisorOne’s John Sullivan explains why saving for retirement is like losing weight.