Supreme Court Upholds Obamacare

Earlier today, CNN incorrectly reported that the Supreme Court

struck down the individual mandate. We regret the error.

Although news anchors on both CNN and Fox, initially announced that the Affordable Care Act, better known as Obamacare, was ruled unconstitutional, it became clear that in a 5 to 4 decision, made on June 28, 2012, the United States Supreme Court upheld its constitutionality with few changes.  The “personal mandate,” at the heart of the law’s controversy, which allows the federal government to require everyone to have health insurance or face a penalty, is being allowed.

Chief Justice John Roberts is being touted as the surprise swing vote as the usually conservative judge sided with Justices Stephen Breyer, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan. It was his written decision that may have confused news anchors:

“The individual mandate, however, does not regulate existing commercial activity. It instead compels individuals to become active in commerce by purchasing a product, on the ground that their failure to do so affects interstate commerce. Construing the Commerce Clause to permit Congress to regulate individuals precisely because they are doing nothing would open a new and potentially vast domain to congressional authority.”

From the decision syllabus:

“Such an analysis suggests that the shared responsibility payment may for constitutional purposes be considered a tax. The payment is not so high that there is really no choice but to buy health insurance; the payment is not limited to willful violations, as penal­ties for unlawful acts often are; and the payment is collected solely by the IRS through the normal means of taxation. “

According to CNN.com, dissenting Justices Samuel Alito, Antonin Scalia, Anthony Kennedy and Clarence Thomas, wrote in their opinion that, “To say that the Individual Mandate merely imposes a tax is not to interpret the statute but to rewrite it. Imposing a tax through judicial legislation inverts the constitutional scheme, and places the power to tax in the branch of government least accountable to the citizenry.”

The Supreme Court did rule that the proposed Medicare expansion, which included a provision that states that did not comply would lose their existing federal funding, was deemed unconstitutional.

There are strong opinions and emotions on both sides of this very complex ruling. So much so that presidential hopeful, Mitt Romney, reportedly raised over four million dollars since the ruling was announced.

What do you feel about the mandate?  For more details click here to read the entire 193 page decision.

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