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BREAKING: SCOTUS Upholds Health Care Law’s Individual Mandate

BREAKING: SCOTUS Upholds Health Care Law’s Individual Mandate

The Supreme Court has upheld the individual mandate, the core of the far-ranging healthcare bill, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, that President Barack Obama signed into law in 2010.

The justices voted 5-4 that Congress has the power to have Americans carry health insurance or pay a penalty. Chief Justice John Roberts joined with the four liberal Justices Sonya Sotomayor, Stephen Breyer, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Elena Kagan in the ruling. Writing in the majority opinion, Justice Roberts wrote:

Simply put, Congress may tax and spend. This grant gives the federal government considerable influence even in areas where it cannot directly regulate.

“The federal government may enact a tax on an activity that it cannot authorize, forbid or otherwise control.

Dissenting Justices Anthony Kennedy, Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito argued that the entire health care act is unconstitutional.

Under the ACA, virtually all Americans would be required to have health insurance or pay a fine beginning in 2014. This “individual mandate” has been an ongoing bone of contention, with conservatives charging that it is illegal under the US Constitution. 26 Republican-controlled states have challenged the law on these grounds.

The Court has limited the law’s extension of the Medicaid program for the poor, on the grounds that the federal government cannot threaten to withhold money from states that are not in compliance.

The ACA was passed in 2009 without one Republican in Congress voting for it and has become known as a signature legislaitve achievement of Obama’s presidency. It was the biggest overhaul of the US’s healthcare system since the enactment of Medicare and Medicaid in 1965.

Nearly 50 million — 16.3 percent — of Americans do not have health insurance. According to US Census Bureau figures, 30.7 percent of Hispanics are uninsured and 20.8 percent of African-Americans; in contrast, 18.1 percent of Asians are uninsured and 15.4 percent of whites.

While polls have suggested that a majority of Americans wish to see the law overturned, many Americans are in favor of some of its provisions, such as those that allow for children to remain on their parents’ health insurance up to the age of 26 and another that bans insurance companies from withholding coverage for people with pre-existing medical conditions.

Indeed, the ruling was a “surprise victory” for the Obama administration, which had undergone “tough questioning” by the court during oral arguments in March. The Supreme Court’s ruling on the health care law has been widely anticipated to have major repercussions on the US presidential election which is only four months away.

 

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Photo of protesters outside the Supreme Court this morning by Care2 blogger Sam Taxy

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29 comments

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8:26PM PST on Mar 6, 2013

We need Obamacare! People are ill and dying and have no chance for the continuance of a decent life without available healthcare. Those Republicans have so many perks now as members of the Conress, that they no longer care about anybody but themselves. Talk about inhumanity to man. The Bible tells us that we are our brothers' keepers; that hurting children should be punished "by tying a milstone around the miscreants' necks and drowning them in the depths of the sea". We are to love our neighbors as we love ourselves, and our neighbors are those who need our help. Why have those who have become so selfish?

5:32PM PDT on Jul 10, 2012

Everyone needs healthcare. .... NOW!

6:29PM PDT on Jul 3, 2012

PLEASE WILL YOU KEEP THE GOOD MEICARE AND MEDICAID, AND KEEP THE LOCAL HEALTH CLINICS THAT SERVE ON A SLIDING SCALE FEE -- ACCORDING TO HOW MUCHA PERSON MAKES -- BECAUSE THESE ARE GOOD PROJECTS AND PROGRAMS THAT HAVE BEEN WORKING.

MAY PEOPLE WHO KNOW HELATHCARE AND ARE TRAINED IN IT HELP PEOPLE AS GOOD SAMARITANS. I WOULD IF I COULD.
PLEASE THINK ABOUT TOO MUCH GOVENMENT CONTROLE OVER HEALTH CARE.

4:49AM PDT on Jul 1, 2012

Justice via litigation and advocacy is truly a workable dream. In order for ObamaCare to be successful, Obama has to win this coming Nov.

9:04PM PDT on Jun 30, 2012

These are the same people who scream that they don't want to pay for someone's abortion. Well I don't want to pay for their cancer or their car wreck.

8:32PM PDT on Jun 30, 2012

Also Fred, Obama's appointee voted against the bill.

You are so screwed up! Fine by me if you reject the medical system, but don't go whining to the ER if you're in a car accident. I'll end up paying for you, and I really don't want to.

8:06PM PDT on Jun 30, 2012

I am still full of joy at the decision. Millions more people will have health care. That is a wonderful thing. It's not for me, I have a good union health plan that I can and will keep. I am thinking of all the others who don't have what I have.
I don't understand how Romney and his wealthy friends and donors don't feel the same. I guess they got theirs and to hell with the middle class and the poor.

6:52AM PDT on Jun 29, 2012

The Affordable Care Act has and will continue to save lives. It allows millions who do not have insurance do to prexisting conditions to get the insurance they need. It allows adult children to stay on their parents insurance. It removes lifetime limits to the amount of healthcare one can get.

6:13AM PDT on Jun 29, 2012

Make your vote count in the upcoming election.

4:07PM PDT on Jun 28, 2012

New SCOTUS Ruling will be known as BAIT and SWITCH. Congress now has permission to pass all kinds of legislation by LYING to the public, saying there will be no new taxes, but in reality they will just be called a "fine", "fee" or something else. There are lots of laws to protect consumers from businesses that use bait and switch swindling tactics, but now SCOTUS has given Congress legal permission to bamboozle the American taxpayer.

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