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Supreme Court Upholds Individual Mandate As A Tax

Thursday, 28 June 2012 10:43 By Igor Volsky, ThinkProgress | Report

The Supreme Court has upheld the individual mandate in Obamacare, paving the way for full implementation of the law in the states and ensuring that millions of uninsured Americans haves access to affordable coverage. The court upheld the provision as a tax, but found that it does violate the Commerce Clause.

The Medicaid expansion is limited, but not invalidated, the court found. In short, it decided that if a state does not expand the Medicaid program, as required by the law, the federal government cannot withhold Medicaid funds.

In short, "the entire ACA is upheld, with the exception that the federal government's power to terminate states' Medicaid funds is narrowly read."

Chief Justice John Roberts joined Justices Sonya Sotomayor, Stephen Breyer, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and Elena Kagan in the 5 to 4 decision. Justice Anthony Kennedy — who was considered a swing vote on in the case — sided with the conservatives.

UPDATE

From the opinion: "Our precedent demonstrates that Congress had the power to impose the exaction in Section 5000A under the taxing power, and that Section 5000A need not be read to do more than impose a tax. This is sufficient to sustain it."

UPDATE

On the Medicaid issue, a majority of the Court holds that the Medicaid expansion is constitutional but that it would be unconstitutional for the federal government to withhold Medicaid funds for non-compliance with the expansion provisions. Here is the quote: "Nothing in our opinion precludes Congress from offering funds under the ACA to expand the availability of health care, and requiring that states accepting such funds comply with the conditions on their use. What Congress is not free to do is to penalize States that choose not to participate in that new program by taking away their existing Medicaid funding."

UPDATE

From the dissent, Kennedy writes, "In our view, the entire Act before us is invalid in its entirety."

UPDATE

A link to the full text of the decision is here.

UPDATE

Republicans have announced that they will take another vote on repealing the law the week of July 9th.

This piece was reprinted by Truthout with permission or license. It may not be reproduced in any form without permission or license from the source.

Igor Volsky

Igor Volsky is the Health Care and LGBT Editor for ThinkProgress.org at the Center for American Progress Action Fund. He also writes on LGBT Equality issues. Igor is co-author of Howard Dean's Prescription for Real Healthcare Reform.  Igor grew up in Russia, Israel, and New Jersey.


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Supreme Court Upholds Individual Mandate As A Tax

Thursday, 28 June 2012 10:43 By Igor Volsky, ThinkProgress | Report

The Supreme Court has upheld the individual mandate in Obamacare, paving the way for full implementation of the law in the states and ensuring that millions of uninsured Americans haves access to affordable coverage. The court upheld the provision as a tax, but found that it does violate the Commerce Clause.

The Medicaid expansion is limited, but not invalidated, the court found. In short, it decided that if a state does not expand the Medicaid program, as required by the law, the federal government cannot withhold Medicaid funds.

In short, "the entire ACA is upheld, with the exception that the federal government's power to terminate states' Medicaid funds is narrowly read."

Chief Justice John Roberts joined Justices Sonya Sotomayor, Stephen Breyer, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and Elena Kagan in the 5 to 4 decision. Justice Anthony Kennedy — who was considered a swing vote on in the case — sided with the conservatives.

UPDATE

From the opinion: "Our precedent demonstrates that Congress had the power to impose the exaction in Section 5000A under the taxing power, and that Section 5000A need not be read to do more than impose a tax. This is sufficient to sustain it."

UPDATE

On the Medicaid issue, a majority of the Court holds that the Medicaid expansion is constitutional but that it would be unconstitutional for the federal government to withhold Medicaid funds for non-compliance with the expansion provisions. Here is the quote: "Nothing in our opinion precludes Congress from offering funds under the ACA to expand the availability of health care, and requiring that states accepting such funds comply with the conditions on their use. What Congress is not free to do is to penalize States that choose not to participate in that new program by taking away their existing Medicaid funding."

UPDATE

From the dissent, Kennedy writes, "In our view, the entire Act before us is invalid in its entirety."

UPDATE

A link to the full text of the decision is here.

UPDATE

Republicans have announced that they will take another vote on repealing the law the week of July 9th.

This piece was reprinted by Truthout with permission or license. It may not be reproduced in any form without permission or license from the source.

Igor Volsky

Igor Volsky is the Health Care and LGBT Editor for ThinkProgress.org at the Center for American Progress Action Fund. He also writes on LGBT Equality issues. Igor is co-author of Howard Dean's Prescription for Real Healthcare Reform.  Igor grew up in Russia, Israel, and New Jersey.


Hide Comments

blog comments powered by Disqus