Most Shared

Health Care Reform
 
text size

Analysis: Supreme Court Upholds Obama Health Care Law

Updated: Saturday, August 3 2013, 04:08 PM CDT

One of the most closely watched legal sagas in recent memory ended Thursday with a twist few had expected and many are still parsing.

The political battle over the Affordable Care Act entered the judicial system the day President Obama signed it on March 23, 2010. Before the ink was dry, Florida and 12 other states filed a complaint in a federal court. The principle opposition to the law focused on the so-called individual mandate -- the requirement that all citizens be covered by some form of health insurance.

Supporters argued that the mandate is legal under Congress’ power to regulate interstate commerce as outlined in the Constitution. In writing his opinion in the 5-4 decision that upheld the law, Chief Justice John Roberts, who was appointed by former President George W. Bush, disagreed with that argument, but still arrived at the same ultimate conclusion. Instead of justifying the mandate under the Commerce Clause, Chief Justice Roberts instead ruled it constitutional under Congress’ power of taxation. The law states that people who don’t have the required coverage must pay a penalty, which Roberts says is tax (ironically, during the law’s rocky passage through Congress, its supporters – including President Obama – publically asserted the penalty was, in fact, not a tax).

While it upheld the mandate, the Court struck down another controversial provision in the law that would have allowed Congress to revoke Medicaid funding to states that didn’t expand the service to include to the entire non-elderly population with incomes below 133 percent of the poverty level (According to the federal government, that line is an individual income of $11,170 per year, so anyone making $14,856 would’ve qualified under the expansion).

Chief Justice Roberts wrote that the carrot-and-stick approach was unconstitutional but that therefore didn’t disqualify the entire law. He cited a legal precedent stating that his “touch¬stone for any decision about remedy is legislative intent, for a court cannot use its remedial powers to circumvent the intent of the legislature.” In other words, Congress would have intended the rest of the law to stand even without the punitive provision against states unwilling to expand services.

The fact that Chief Justice Roberts wrote the opinion upholding the ACA caught many observers off guard. But his written opinion is consistent with statements he made during his confirmation hearings in 2006 when he promised objectivity over ideology. In his conclusion, he writes, “the Court does not express any opinion on the wisdom of the Affordable Care Act. Under the Constitution, that judgment is re¬served to the people.”  npr.org/2012/06/28/155907705/interactive-inside-the-health-care-ruling

President Obama, Democrats, and other supporters of the law largely welcomed the Court’s decision with praise but Mitt Romney, Republicans, and Tea Party activists have vowed to repeal the bill in Congress. That effort is likely to become a rallying cry heading into November’s elections. Indeed, the Romney campaign has already claimed it has raised $1 million (thehill.com/blogs/blog-briefing-room/news/235399-romney-raises-1-million-off-of-court-ruling) in the hours after the decision was announced. That indicates the twisting, operatic saga of health care reform is far from over.


Read the Supreme Court decision:  cbsnews.com/htdocs/pdf/2012/11-393c3a2.pdf
Read the Affordable Health Care law: healthcare.gov/law/index.htmlAnalysis: Supreme Court Upholds Obama Health Care Law


Advertise with us!

Related Stories


FOX News - Health Care Headlines




CNN Health Care Headlines


 

Enrollment for healthcare exchanges as part of healthcare reform begins October 1 in states where exchanges will be set up. Expect special reports each week from us about what you need to know about 'Obamacare' and the ongoing political fight about its future

Health Care National Stories
Small Businesses Size Up Taxes Under Affordable Care Act

Digging Through The Affordable Care Numbers

Deadline Is Over: Calculations Start

Marching To The Deadline

Cable Or Obamacare

Anti-Obamacare Ads

Another Delay In The Affordable Care Act

A New Wrinkle To The Affordable Care Act

Emergency Care On The Brink

An Early Cost Gauge Of Obamacare

Confusion Over ACA Still Reigns

The PR Campaign for Obamacare

Suing Over Healthcare

Obamacare in the Hands of President Obama

Paying for Obamacare

Health and Human Services Wastes Millions on Cancer Drug

A Chief Architect of Obamacare Gives Some Employees a Pass

Healthcare.Gov -- a Hackers Delight

How Healthy Are Insurance Co-Ops?

The Cost of the Affordable Care Act

Doubling Down On Affordable Care

Democrats Run For Cover

Enroll America Under Fire

The Republican Divide Over Healthcare

Congress Treated to the Royal Side of Obamacare

'Obamacare' Disappears From Talking Points and Promotion

Hacking Into Healthcare.gov

Changing the Rules to Obamacare

Healthcare Heartburn

Who Are The Healthcare Navigators?

Counting Obamacare Enrollees on One Hand

Is Sorry Enough?

"You Can Keep Your Healthcare Plan"

Other Looming Health Care Disasters

Heartbreaking Health Care Letters

The Few and Far Between

Millions of Americans Frustrated by Healthcare.Gov

When Did the White House Know Millions Would Lose Health Care Coverage?

Feds Promise to Fix the Affordable Care Website

Why is it so Difficult to Enroll for Healthcare Insurance?

Viewer Questions About the Affordable Care Act Asked and Answered

Sorting Out Fact from Fiction About Breast Cancer Screenings

What Changes are Coming to CHIP?

Confusion Over Health Care Law Still Persists

Doctor Visits

Health Care Spending

The Unexpected Costs of Health Care

Attempting to Derail Obamacare

Concerns Over the Cost of Healthcare

Rubio on Obamacare

Healthcare Exchanges

Defunding Obamacare

Healthcare Reform: A Doctor

Congress and Healthcare

No Change in Obamacare Opinions

Unions Oppose Obamacare

The Cost of Obamacare on Your Wallet

The Individual and Family cost of Healthcare under the new law

Questions and Answers About the Affordable Care Act

Whooping Cough Advisory

Lots of Questions About the Health Care Law

Healthcare Exchanges Continue to Generate Viewer Questions

Advertise with us!

Share your Health Care Reform questions and challenges with new health care laws.

Name
Location
Question