Jun 28 2012

Live Stream: SCOTUS Ruling on the Affordable Care Act

Up Date: SCOTUS has ruled the individual mandate unconstitutional constitutional but redefined as a tax.

Up Date: As per MSNBC, the mandate was upheld but redefined as a tax. There is some confusion as to whether that means it is unconstitutional or not.

Up Date: Roberts votes with the four “liberal” justices.

Quotes from SCOTUS Blog:

The money quote from the section on the mandate: 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.

On the Medicaid issue, a majority of the Court holds that the Medicaid expansion is constitutional but that it w/b unconstitutional for the federal government to withhold Medicaid funds for non-compliance with the expansion provisions.

Another way to think about Medicaid: the Constitution requires that states have a choice about whether to participate in the expansion of eligibility; if they decide not to, they can continue to receive funds for the rest of the program.

In other words, states can opt out of ACA without losing federal funding for Medicaid.

Watch live streaming video from democracynow at livestream.com

Up Date: More from SCOTUSBlog:

In Plain English: The Affordable Care Act, including its individual mandate that virtually all Americans buy health insurance, is constitutional. There were not five votes to uphold it on the ground that Congress could use its power to regulate commerce between the states to require everyone to buy health insurance. However, five Justices agreed that the penalty that someone must pay if he refuses to buy insurance is a kind of tax that Congress can impose using its taxing power. That is all that matters. 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. On that question, the Court held that the provision is constitutional as long as states would only lose new funds if they didn’t comply with the new requirements, rather than all of their funding.

Essentially, the individual mandate of the ACA was upheld under the right of the government to tax individuals. Chief Justice Roberts agreed with that and voted with Ginzburg, Breyer, Kagan, Sotomayor.

The court also ruled if individual states opt out of the ACA, they cannot lose current Medicaid funding. They will only lose new funding.

Up Date: From Lyle Denniston at SCOTUSBlog:

The rejection of the Commerce Clause and Nec. and Proper Clause should be understood as a major blow to Congress’s authority to pass social welfare laws. Using the tax code – especially in the current political environment – to promote social welfare is going to be a very chancy proposition.” This is a big deal. Congress in the future may have to use far more of the taxing power than they are comfortable with. This is still a conservative ruling in many respects.

National Federation of Independent Business v. Sebelius (pdf)


  1. TMC
  2. 3pinner

    At the UberPatriot shop surrounded by True Believing Cool-Aid drinkers I know I’d be hearing it right now if the decision had gone the other way.  ‘Look at that Obama care gone’ the beer and chips would be broken out and every one would be slapping each others backs as if they had had something to do with taking down the Kenyan and his Commie, Sissified ideas.

    Well Nanny Nanny Goo Goo (as he thumbs his nose) at em.  And they are soooo quiet as though the sky had fallen and somebody told em the Pope was fallible.  HeHeHe

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