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Supreme Court Ruling on the ACA

Writing for the majority, in the Supreme Court of the United States’ decision upholding the health care law, Chief Justice John Roberts wrote,  “[t]he Affordable Care Act is constitutional in part and unconstitutional in part.” The Court held that even though “[t]he individual mandate cannot be upheld as an exercise of Congress’s power under the Commerce Clause,” that “it is reasonable to construe what Congress has done as increasing taxes on those who have a certain amount of income, but (who) choose to go without health insurance. Such legislation is within Congress’s power to tax.”  Roberts made a point of noting that he and the other justices “possess neither the expertise nor the prerogative to make policy judgments. Those decisions are entrusted to our Nation’s elected leaders, who can be thrown out of office if the people disagree with them. It is not our job to protect the people from the consequences of their political choices.”  So, in other words, the Court held that Congress cannot require individuals to enter into an activity so that it could regulate it but that the individual mandate passed muster under the taxing power.  The Court also held that the States cannot be coerced into expanding their Medicaid programs and that States are free to opt of the expansion, which is projected to add nearly 30 million more people to the insurance program for our nation’s indigent, if they choose.

This article is intended as a summary of newly enacted federal law and does not constitute legal advice. 

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