Without question, the Supreme Court’s decision to uphold the Healthcare bill makes this a great day for Americans who would be denied access to healthcare, if the GOP had its way.
The court ruled that the individual mandate is constitutional under the taxing power. This was key to upholding the law, in the sense that it provides the financial ability to pay for provisions in the bill that Americans like.
There are many interesting aspects of this ruling, at first glance, including the composition of the split. Chief Justice Roberts joined with the liberal wing of the court, perhaps in an effort to dispel the perception of right wing judicial activism by the Supreme Court, while Justice Kennedy joined with Thomas, Scalia and Alito in dissent.
The Court upheld the mandate under the taxing authority, rather than under the commerce clause. From pp 45-46 of the ruling.
“The Federal Government does not have the power to order people to buy health insurance. Section 5000A would therefore be unconstitutional if read as a command. The Federal Government does have the power to impose a tax on those without health insurance. Section 5000A is therefore constitutional, because it can reasonably be read as a tax.”
The extent of the implications of the Court’s reasoning not only in the majority opinion, but in the dissenting opinions as well remains to be seen.
The one provision that didn’t survive is the Medicaid provision based on what is ultimately a states’ rights argument.
Republicans will point to the unpopularity of the individual mandate, which was originally proposed by the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank. However, without Medicare for all, the only remaining means to make it possible to pay for the benefits we love, is the individual mandate. We love that illness will not mean bankruptcy. We love that health insurers will no longer be able to discriminate against people with pre-existing conditions. We love that parents will be able to provide insurance for their children until they are 26 years old. This bill makes preventative care affordable and accessible.
Honestly, if the GOP plans to repeal this bill, they will have to put up or shut up. The only other alternative they will have is to explain to people why they are taking your health insurance away from you.
A more detailed legal analysis to follow.
Image from USA Today