John Roberts Joins Liberal Wing of Supreme Court to Uphold Affordable Care Act

History has been made. By a vote of 5-4, the Affordable Care Act, better known as Obamacare, was ruled constitutional and upheld by the Supreme Court. Chief Justice Roberts joined the court’s left-wing in deciding to uphold the individual mandate.

Apart from the major CNN fail, here’s a quick look at what went down at the Supreme Court. The individual mandate was upheld by a narrow vote of 5-4. Justice Roberts, the George W. Bush appointee, sided with President Obama and the court’s liberals to keep the mandate alive. But there’s a kicker: the mandate is constitutional as a tax. Based on the SCOTUS ruling, “the precedent demonstrates that Congress had the power to impose the exaction under the taxing power. [However,] the Court reinforces that individuals can simply pay the tax and not comply with the mandate.”

According to the Supreme Court, the individual mandate does violate the Commerce Clause.  However, that point is essentially nullified since there are five votes for the mandate to be constitutional under the taxing power.

So point one: the individual mandate is constitutional as a tax.

The second major part of the law, Medicaid expansion and penalties for states who do not comply, was the only section that saw a slightly different ruling. Don’t get this confused. Medicaid expansion to 133% of the Federal Poverty Line is constitutional.  However, it is unconstitutional for the federal government to withhold Medicaid funds from states for non-compliance with the expansion provisions of the Affordable Care Act. That is to say that Medicaid expansion can take place, but states who do not comply would not lose all Medicaid funding, just new funds.

So the whole law is essentially constitutional. The most controversial part of ACA was upheld.  Americans, you’ll be required to purchase health insurance or pay the tax.

Insurance companies must cover young adults until age 26 and people with pre-existing conditions, among others. It is expected that Obamacare will now see an additional 32 million Americans with health insurance.

The opinion for the health care cases can be found on the Supreme Court website.

Affordable Care Act = Obamacare = Constitutional.  This is a big win for President Obama.

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Adam Jutha

B.S. Public Health - Health Policy and Management from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Former member of the Roosevelt Institute | Campus Network. Interests lie in health care policy, international development, and politics.

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