This May Be Off-Topic, But The Supreme Court Has Affirmed Obamacare

Hank Sims / Thursday, June 28, 2012 @ 7:59 a.m.

(NOTE: DISQUS seems to be buckling under the strain of all the insta-reaction that blog fans worldwide are providing, so comments may be hit and miss for a bit. Kind of like a technologically imposed cooling-off period.)

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Obviously there are way smarter and far more informed people all over the Web talking about this.

But here’s a link to the ruling, concurring opinions and dissent (193-page PDF).

Here’s a summary from Amy Howe of SCOTUSblog, some of the best reporting anywhere on the Supreme Court:

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.

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UPDATE, 8:25 a.m.: The Los Angeles Times has a posted a quick piece about how the Affordable Care Act’s survival affects California.

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UPDATE, 8:15 a.m.: Rep. Mike Thompson checks in:

“Today’s ruling by the Supreme Court is a victory for all Americans. The historic health care reform legislation passed by Democrats in Congress is saving money and saving lives. Seniors are paying less at the pharmacy counter; insurance companies can no longer discriminate against people with preexisting conditions or women who become pregnant; millions of Americans can rest assured that if they get sick, they won’t have their health coverage dropped.

“By 2014, virtually all of the law will go into effect, making even more improvements to our health care system. More than 32 million people who are currently uninsured will gain access to affordable coverage. It will put an end to the hidden taxes that all insured individuals currently pay for emergency room visits by people without insurance. Women will no longer be charged substantially higher premiums than men for the same coverage, and being a woman can no longer be treated as a ‘pre-existing condition’ by insurance companies.

“Reforming our health care system is an ongoing process that began with the passage of this bill. It is an important first step towards making quality, affordable health care a reality for all Americans. In the months and years ahead, we need to put politics aside, focus on the facts and work together to further improve our nation’s health care system. By building on the reforms made in the Affordable Care Act, we can make sure every American can afford to go to the doctor.”

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