Supreme Court Upholds Obama Health Care Law

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By Christina Camara
 
The U.S. Supreme Court, in a 5-4 decision this morning (June 28, 2012), upheld President Obama's health care law, declaring the individual mandate constitutional as a tax.
 
The requirement that most Americans buy health insurance or pay a fine starting in 2014 has been the most unpopular and controversial element of the health care law.
 
Chief Justice John Roberts provided the key vote to preserve the landmark law. Justices Antonin Scalia, Anthony Kennedy, Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito dissented. 
 
The government had argued that Congress had the authority to pass the individual mandate as part of its power to regulate interstate commerce. The court disagreed, instead preserving the mandate because the fine amounts to a tax. Opponents believed the mandate to be unconstitutional, arguing that if the federal government could compel people to buy health insurance, "it could compel them to buy almost anything," the New York Times reported.
 
Roberts wrote in the decision that the penalty's "practical characteristics pass muster as a tax under our narrowest interpretations of the taxing power," the Wall Street Journal reported. A person who does not wish to carry health insurance is left with a "lawful choice to do or not do a certain act, so long as he is willing to pay a tax levied on that choice," wrote Roberts.
 
Political observers are calling the ruling a victory for President Obama. Most of the law was upheld, but the justices also found fault with expansion of Medicaid, making some changes there. Under the ruling, states have some flexibility not to expand their Medicaid programs, without paying the same financial penalties written into the law, the New York Times reported.

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I expect the already low confidence level in federal government decreased again.

I'm not sure about the wisdom of the law, but the Court was correct in characterizing the mandate as a tax.

Good news for accountants, I guess.

We could not continue to have increased numbers of people avoid being part of the insured population and shifting the burden of covering these uninsured services through higher charges to those who purchase insurance. The mandate is the first step to stopping the cost shifting.

The next step is to lower the rate of cost increases in healthcare. This bill only starts that process. These is a lot of work remaining to get control of the rising cost of healthcare and to fix this problem. We cannot afford as a Nation to fund this expansion without lowering the cost of healthcare. The fun has just began!

This law has been the excuse by the insurance companies to raise the premiums because of the "mandates"  Eighteen per cent increases for each of the last three years is ridiculous, but ........

Here come the death panels!

Our lawmakers scrupulously avoided using the word "tax" in the bill.  Presumably to avoid being called a tax increase. So Justice Roberts interprets penalty to mean tax because it like a tax? If Congress meant "tax", they should have said 'tax".  When dealing with laws, don't you think it would be a good idea to be specific?  Even baseball rules are specific although sometimes umpires see it wrongly.  I can see it now: he beat the throw and he meant to touch the bag, he could of touched the bag but he didn't and Justice Roberts would call him safe.  What a terrible precedent.  Now Congress can mandate anything and if you don't comply charge you a penalty oops, I meant tax.

I think the court was correct in characterizing the mandate as a tax. This law really made insurance companies to increase  the premiums because of the mandates.