Affordable Healthcare Act Upheld

In case you weren't following along in this thread, the Affordable Healthcare Act, aka Obamacare, has been upheld by the Supreme Court. It was a typical 5-4 decision, but Kennedy sided with the conservatives, and Bush-appointed Chief Justice John Roberts sided with the less-conservatives.


gif of President Barack Obama, First Lady Michelle Obama, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and Vice President Joe Bidem car-dancing

Amy Howe at SCOTUSblog explains: "In Plain English: The Affordable Care Act, including its individual mandate that virtually all Americans buy health insurance, is constitutional. There were not five votes to uphold it on the ground that Congress could use its power to regulate commerce between the states to require everyone to buy health insurance. However, five Justices agreed that the penalty that someone must pay if he refuses to buy insurance is a kind of tax that Congress can impose using its taxing power. That is all that matters. Because the mandate survives, the Court did not need to decide what other parts of the statute were constitutional, except for a provision that required states to comply with new eligibility requirements for Medicaid or risk losing their funding. On that question, the Court held that the provision is constitutional as long as states would only lose new funds if they didn't comply with the new requirements, rather than all of their funding."

Lyle at SCOTUSblog adds: "Justice Ginsburg makes clear that the vote is 5-4 on sustaining the mandate as a form of tax. Her opinion, for herself and Sotomayor, Breyer and Kagan, joins the key section of Roberts opinion on that point. She would go further and uphold the mandate under the Commerce Clause, which Roberts wouldn't. Her opinion on Commerce does not control."

So, essentially, healthcare reform gets upheld on the basis that the government can compel taxation, even though the fed is compelling taxation to for-profit private enterprise (insurance companies) in this case. As opposed to, say, compelling taxation for a single-payer universal system like every other industrialized nation has. But free market conservatives are pissed about the decision, even though it's a giant corporate hand-out to insurance companies.

Meanwhile, progressives are celebrating, even though it's a giant corporate hand-out to insurance companies, because at least people will have access to healthcare.

lol this country.

The decision is available here (pdf).

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