In a 5-4 decision, Chief Justice John Roberts and the Supreme Court upholds Obama law’s requirement that most Americans have health insurance.
As reported by the Associated Press:
Breaking with the court’s other conservative justices, Chief Justice John Roberts announced the judgment that allows the law to go forward with its aim of covering more than 30 million uninsured Americans.
Roberts explained at length the court’s view of the mandate as a valid exercise of Congress’ authority to “lay and collect taxes.” The administration estimates that roughly 4 million people will pay the penalty rather than buy insurance.
Roberts also made plain the court’s rejection of the administration’s claim that Congress had the power under the Constitution’s commerce clause to put the mandate in place. The power to regulate interstate commerce power, he said, “does not authorize the mandate. “
The justices rejected two of the administration’s three arguments in support of the insurance requirement. But the court said the mandate can be construed as a tax. “Because the Constitution permits such a tax, it is not our role to forbid it, or to pass upon its wisdom or fairness,” Roberts said.
The court found problems with the law’s expansion of Medicaid, but even there said the expansion could proceed as long as the federal government does not threaten to withhold states’ entire Medicaid allotment if they don’t take part in the law’s extension.
The suspense is over and this is a huge victory for President Obama. Now that the law can move forward, it will cover more than 30 million uninsured Americans.
Read the text of the US Supreme Court health care ruling here.