Supreme Court Upholds Constitutionality of Obamacare and the Individual Mandate

The U.S. Supreme Court upholds the constitutionality of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, and related healthcare reform legislation. The Court determined that the most controversial aspect of Obamacare, the individual mandate, was constitutional because it is a tax.
The Supreme Court of the United States has released its ruling in the matters of National Federation of Independent Business v. Sebelius, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services v. Florida and Florida v. Department of Health and Human Services. These three cases were decisions out of the 11th Circuit of the United States Court of Appeals that challenged the constitutionality of some or all of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, and related healthcare reform legislation, known colloquially as Obamacare.

The principal issues set forth in the 11th Circuit cases that the Supreme Court agreed to review can be simplified and summarized as follows:
  • Whether Congress has the power under the Constitution to require virtually all Americans to obtain health insurance or pay a penalty;
  • Whether, if the Court concludes that the provision of the Act requiring virtually all Americans to obtain health insurance or pay a penalty is unconstitutional, the rest of the Act can remain in effect or must also be invalidated;
  • Whether Congress can require states to choose between complying with provisions of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act or losing federal funding for the Medicaid program; and
  • whether the Anti-Injunction Act, which prohibits taxpayers from filing a lawsuit to challenge a tax until the tax goes into effect and they are required to pay it, prohibits a challenge to the Act’s provision requiring virtually all Americans to obtain health insurance or pay a penalty until after the provision goes into effect in 2014.[1]
The most controversial matter has been what is known as the "individual mandate" issue — whether the federal government can compel practically all Americans to acquire health insurance coverage or pay a penalty.[2]

The Supreme Court's ruling today generally upholds the constitutionality of Obamacare, although it narrowly reads the federal government's authority to terminate Medicaid funds. The individual mandate is upheld as a tax, and the Court reinforces that individuals can simply refuse to pay the tax.[3]


1Remaining Merits Cases: In Plain English, SCOTUSblog, Amy Howe, June 15, 2012.
2Health care: Time to sum up, SCOTUSblog, Lyle Denniston, June 26, 2012.
3SCOTUSblog, live blog coverage of public reading of the Court's opinion, Amy Howe, Lyle Denniston, Tom Goldstein, June 28, 2012, 9:45 AM CST.

3 comments:

  1. Supreme court already made its decision. I just hope that the Obamacare's goal to give an affordable health insurance to every individual will be met accordingly. The only thing we can do today is to wait for 2014 to come and see what would happen.

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  3. The government has never required people to buy any good or service as a condition of lawful residence in the United States.Thanks.
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