Affordable Care Act Upheld

July 3, 2012

Last week the Supreme Court of the United States released their greatly anticipated ruling on the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act that was passed in 2010.

The Supreme Court upheld the Affordable Care Act, including the provision of the individual mandate that requires all Americans to buy insurance or face a penalty. The law was upheld with a vote of 5-4, Chief Justice Roberts being seen as the key swing vote to secure the majority.

The court ruled that the individual mandate was constitutionally sound under the power of Congress to levy taxes. In the court’s majority opinion Chief Justice Robert wrote, “The Affordable Care Act's requirement that certain individuals pay a financial penalty for not obtaining health insurance may reasonably be characterized as a tax.” The law was upheld by Congress’ power to tax, not to regulate interstate commerce.

The decision did restrict a major tenant of the law: states have more flexibility not to expand their Medicaid programs and not suffer the financial penalties that were a part of the original provisions of the law.

The health care law is expected to expand coverage to millions of Americans who do not currently have insurance.

To read more about the health care decision and what that means for you check out Kaiser Health News.