WASHINGTON, D.C. — In a 5-4 U.S. Supreme Court decision upholding the Affordable Care Act. Chief Justice Roberts joined the 4 “liberal” justices on the Court upholding the health care reforms implemented by President Obama’s signature domestic policy achievement.
The key portion of the act, the individual mandate, was upheld under the Congressional tax authority. The majority opinion was written by Chief Justice John Roberts, who held that the law was a valid exercise of Congress’s power to tax. The Court has ruled that States can however opt out of providing expanded Medicare benefits without loosing all federal funding for Medicare.
[Updated at 10:28 a.m. ET] In its 5-4 decision to uphold the U.S. health care law, the Supreme Court answered several key questions:
Question: Can the court decide the constitutionality of health care now, or does it have to wait a few years?
To answer, the court had to decide whether a penalty the law imposes on people who do not have health insurance amounts to a tax.
A previously obscure law mandated that the legality of a tax cannot be challenged until it is imposed, and the health care law doesn’t call for penalties until 2014.
The court’s answer: The court upheld the entire law.
Question: Is the requirement that people have health insurance – the so-called individual mandate – constitutional?
The court’s answer: Chief Justice John Roberts wrote that the commerce clause did not apply, but the mandate stands under the taxing clause.
Question: If the individual mandate is unconstitutional, can the rest of the law stand, or is the whole thing unconstitutional?
The court’s answer: The mandate is constitutional, rendering moot further questions on the rest of the law.
Question: Can the federal government force states to expand their share of Medicaid costs and administration?
The court’s answer: Yes, but the justices ruled that the federal government cannot remove existing Medicaid funding if the states choose not to participate in the new program.
Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez (CA-47) today released the following statement in response to the Supreme Court’s decision to uphold the vast majority of the Affordable Care Act, including the individual mandate provision.
“The Supreme Court upheld the core of the Affordable Care Act today, the individual mandate, ruling that this critical component to health care reform complies with our Constitution. I agree with and applaud the Supreme Court’s decision. Preserving the individual mandate is the best way to ensure Americans can access affordable and quality health care.
“With today’s ruling by the highest court in the land behind us, it’s time to move forward, roll up our sleeves, and work together to get our economy back on track and create jobs. I hope my Republican colleagues in Congress will join me in this effort, rather than focusing on new attempts to try to strip Americans of their health care rights.”
We will have more later today.
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We start at 8:30 p.m. at Memphis at the Santora, 201 N. Broadway, Santa Ana.
Washington, D.C. – Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi released the following statement today after the Supreme Court ruled the Affordable Care Act constitutional:
“This decision is a victory for the American people. With this ruling, Americans will benefit from critical patient protections, lower costs for the middle class, more coverage for families, and greater accountability for the insurance industry.
“The Affordable Care Act is already paying dividends for millions of Americans – with more to come:
• Children can no longer be denied coverage due to pre-existing conditions.
• Seniors are paying less for prescription drugs.
• Students and young adults can stay on their parents’ plans.
• Being a woman is no longer a pre-existing medical condition.
“In passing health reform, we made history for our nation and progress for the American people. We completed the unfinished business of our society and strengthened the character of our country. We ensured health care would be a right for all, not a privilege for the few. Today, the Supreme Court affirmed our progress and protected that right, securing a future of health and economic security for the middle class and for every American.”
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