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Supreme Court Upholds Health Care Law

The U.S. Supreme Court upheld the health care law Thursday.

Supreme Court

Photo: TexasGOPvote.com (Flickr)

The Supreme Court upheld the health care law Thursday, indicating the individual mandate is a tax.

Updated 10:39 a.m.

In a 5 to 4 decision the United States Supreme Court has upheld the health care law, ruling the individual mandate cannot be upheld under the Commerce Clause but can be upheld as a tax. The other two sections of the law (Title 1 and Title 2) have also been upheld.

Below is an explanation of each section of the law and a chart on how the justices voted.

WFIU and WTIU will update the information below as soon as more information becomes available.

The Individual Mandate - Upheld as a tax

The Affordable Health Care Act mandates most people to have insurance coverage by 2014 or else pay a penalty fine. The court ruled that the mandate could not stand under the Commerce Clause but will be upheld as a tax. The votes below reflect which justices voted the tax was constitutional or unconstitutional.

Title 1 (Insurance Reform) - Upheld

This section of the law caps out-of-pocket expenses and requires that preventive care be fully covered without out-of-pocket expense. It also makes changes to how insurance companies deal with preexisting conditions.

Title 2 (Public Programs) - Upheld*

Beginning January 1, 2014, all low-income individuals earning less than $29,000 for a family of four, who are not disabled and not elderly, would be eligible for Medicaid.

The Federal Government would subsidize this cost for states for the first two years, mandating states to progressively contribute more of the cost until they were paying 10 percent in 2019.

*The Supreme Court ruled that this expansion is an option, not a mandate for the states. The federal government cannot penalize the states for not expanding.

Justice Constitutional Unconstitutional
John Roberts X
Clarence Thomas X
Antonin Scalia X
Samuel Alito X
Anthony Kennedy X
Elena Kagan X*
Stephen Breyer X*
Sonia Sotomayor X*
Ruth Bader Ginsburg X*
Total 5 4

 

*In further explanations,  these four justices said they think the individual mandate could have been upheld under the Commerce Clause.

Views from Indiana experts:

 David Orentlicher portrait David Orentlicher
Robert H. McKinney School of Law, IUPUI

“What the court said is this mandate is ok because it really operates like a tax. Functionally what this mandate says is we all have to pay 2.5% of our income to the government but you get an exemption if you carry health care insurance.”

“What’s important for our state is that we’ve been slow to prepare for the acts kicking in, the main provisions in 2014. We’re going to need an exchange where people can buy health care in two years, and the question is will the state be able to get it up and running.”

 Beth Meyerson portrait Beth Meyerson
IU Applied Health Science Department

“We know that the court upheld the mandate, we also know there was a narrowing ruling on the Medicaid component, which essentially means that states won’t have to implement what’s required under ACA for the expansion of Medicaid. If they don’t want to, they won’t be punished for their entire Medicaid. The federal government was essentially limited in its scope to use Medicaid as a carrot and stick to make states expand their Medicaid.”

Reaction from Indiana politicians and candidates:

 Mitch Daniels portrait Mitch Daniels
Indiana Governor

“The Court’s ruling that the federal government has the constitutional power to do what it has done must be respected. But many actions that are constitutional are still unwise. The now undisputed facts that this federal takeover of one-fifth of our economy will worsen deficits, increase the national debt, raise health care costs, and force Americans off insurance coverage they have chosen, still argues for repeal of a dangerously misguided law and its replacement by major reforms based on individual freedom and consumerism.”

Todd Young portrait Todd Young
Congressman (R-9th)

“Because of the negative effect on our economy and job creation, I’m disappointed that the so-called individual mandate requiring every American to purchase health insurance will stand. However, I am pleased that the Court has affirmed that our federal government is constitutionally limited in its ability to regulate Americans’ lives.”

Shelli Yoder portrait Shelli Yoder
9th District Democratic Candidate

“Because of the negative effect on our economy and job creation, I’m disappointed that the so-called individual mandate requiring every American to purchase health insurance will stand. However, I am pleased that the Court has affirmed that our federal government is constitutionally limited in its ability to regulate Americans’ lives.”

Senator Dan Coats:

 

More coverage of the health care decision can be found on WFIU:

Thursday, June 28

  • Talk of the Nation at 2 p.m. on HD2
  • All Things Considered 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. on HD1
  • An hourlong special at 7 p.m. on HD1

Friday, June 29

  • Morning Edition 6 a.m. to 9 a.m. on HD1
  • Noon Edition at 12 p.m. on HD1

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