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Supreme Court Upholds Health Care Law

Memo Pad

Supreme Court Upholds Health Care Law


In a historic 5-4 decision, the Supreme Court ruled this morning that the Affordable Care Act — including the individual mandate that requires almost all Americans to buy health insurance — is constitutional. Chief Justice John Roberts joined liberal justices Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor, Elena Kagan, and Ruth Bader Ginsburg in affirming the mandate. However, the surprise decision didn’t come on the basis of Congress power to regulate commerce as many had expected; instead, the Supreme Court held the individual mandate constitutional under the Congress taxing power. The individual mandate entails a person to buy insurance and if he or she refuses, that person will be penalized with a fine; the Supreme Court holds this penalty as a kind of constitutional tax that Congress is allowed to impose.

Chief Justice John Roberts explains in the majority opinion: “Simply put, Congress may tax and spend. This grant gives the federal government considerable influence even in areas where it cannot directly regulate.”

SCOTUS blog’s Amy Howe further explains the decision, “Because the mandate survives, the Court did not need to decide what other parts of the statute were constitutional, except for a provision that required states to comply with new eligibility requirements for Medicaid or risk losing their funding.”

Medicaid is a joint federal-state program that provides healthcare to certain poor Americans–the ACA provision sought to expand coverage to anyone with an income under 138 percent of the federal poverty line beginning in 2014. The provision also stated that if a state refuses to expand coverage, it will lose all funding and have to opt out of Medicaid completely. Several states argued that this provision would place a costly burden on them, and the Court agreed–ruling that states have a right to choose whether or not they want to participate in the Medicaid expansion. While the federal government can revoke new funds, it cannot take away all of the states’ funding if they don’t comply with the Medicaid expansion.

The full Supreme Court opinion can be read here.



  1. Angel June 28, 2012

    KEEP IT THOUGHTFULLY HONEST: Chief Judge Roberts and his four colleagues on left of the Supreme Court made the ultimate historical decision that all Americans should be protected by having access to affordable health care! Now as reported in LA Times, “Americans like Dale Berman who do not have a political rooting interest has been given by Court affordable Health Care reform law that his life depended on it. This American like so many others are no longer at the mercy of the” California’s federally funded Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan that was created by the Congress’s healthcare reform law as a temporary refuge for people awaiting establishment of so-called insurance exchanges in 2014 with the prospect of insurers not being able to deny coverage to anyone!” THE INCONVENIENT TRUTH IS: For political extreme right wing, That Judge Roberts decision on this law will provide critical help to uninsured middle-class households to afford premiums to avoid bankruptcy as well as expand Medicaid to pick up coverage for low-income people. So the majority of the Roberts Court needs to be publically commended for it’s this historic responsible decision despite the ugly and divisive politics of Romney and the republicans through their lies and distortions that will try over-turn this life and death coverage for thousands of American! Whether Judge Roberts intended or not, he was the “decider” of this historically significant AFFORDABLE HEALTH CARE decision!

  2. ObozoMustGo June 28, 2012

    A woman in a hot air balloon realized she was lost. She lowered altitude and spotted a man in a boat below. She shouted to him, “Excuse me, can you help me? I promised a friend I would meet him an hour ago, but I don’t know where I am.”

    The man consulted his portable GPS and replied, “You’re in a hot air balloon approximately 30 feet above a
    ground elevation of 2,346 feet above sea level. You are 31 degrees, 14.97 minutes north latitude and 100 degrees,
    49.09 minutes west longitude.”

    She rolled her eyes and said, “You must be a Republican.” “I am,” replied the man. “How did you know?”
    “Well,” answered the balloonist, “everything you told me is technically correct, but I have no idea what to make of your information, and I’m still lost. Frankly, you’ve not been much help to me.”

    The man smiled and responded, “You must be a Democrat.”
    “I am,” replied the balloonist. “But how did you know?”

    “Well,” said the man, “You don’t know where you are or where you’re going.
    You’ve risen to where you are due to a large quantity of hot air. You’ve made
    a promise that you have no idea how to keep, and now you expect ME to solve
    your problem. You’re in EXACTLY the same position you were in before we met,
    but somehow, now, it’s MY fault.

    Have a nice day!

  3. dtgraham June 28, 2012

    I’m as shocked as anybody on planet Earth about John Roberts, but what the hell. I just have one thing to say about this. Congratulations America! Looks good on ya! Big congrats from Canada.


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