In a monumental decision, the United States Supreme Court has ruled that the individual mandate will be upheld as a tax.
Justice Chief Roberts has joined the left side of the Court in ruling that the mandate is Constitutional.
The reasoning is that Congress has the power to impose a ‘tax’ – not a fine – if someone refuses to purchase health insurance coverage.
The Medicaid provision is limited but not invalidated. According to the SCOTUS Blog:
Basically, the entire Affordable Care Act is upheld, with the exception that the federal government’s power to terminate states’ Medicaid funds is narrowly read.”
CNN has reported a different outcome, but for now we’re going to stick with the official SCOTUS Blog:
UPDATE: They have corrected this:
Check back soon for more updates.
UPDATE 10:30am EST:
Expect chaos in the Republican world. Cries to repeal the individual mandate ‘tax’ will only become louder.
As for the Medicaid provision: “The Constitution requires that states have a choice about whether to participate in the expansion of eligibility; if they decide not to, they can continue to receive funds for the rest of the program.
UPDATE 10:350am EST:
The court has ruled that the individual mandate violates the Commerce Clause, but that is not a valid concern because five votes consider the mandate to be constitutional under the taxing power.
The court says labeling the mandate a ‘tax’ is not controlling, so the Anti-Injunction Act does not apply.
Justice Kennedy said, “In our view, the entire Act before us is invalid in its entirety.”
UPDATE 10:36am EST:
This is from Amy Howe of the SCOTUS Blog:
UPDATE 10:39am EST:
If you have a few hours, you can read the decision in its entirety here: Click to Read
UPDATE 10:50am EST:
A quick glance through the comments finds a strong level of dissent over the decision. Many are confused as to why or how the five Supreme Court Justices could possibly consider the fine – for not adhering to the individual mandate – a ‘tax’. Many commenters on the networks have called this a ‘tragedy’ while Democrats are so pleased they are bringing ‘equality’ to Americans in need of health care coverage.
The expectation is that everyone’s voice that is in opposition to this questionable decision will only become louder and louder. Romney and the rest of Republicans will campaign very hard to try to stir up their fan-bases in hopes of repealing the Affordable Care Act.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D – Nevada) just said “This is not perfect,” and something along the lines of “Now that this is settled, lets move on and focus on jobs.” (I heard it live and could not type fast enough – if it isn’t the exact quote it is very close.)
If it wasn’t perfect, why pass it? This issue is so important Democrats shouldn’t have been just flipping it through Congress as they did.
And furthermore, WHY WEREN’T YOU DEMOCRATS FOCUSING ON JOBS BEFORE???
UPDATE 10:54am EST:
Via SCOTUS Blog:
UPDATE 10:50am EST:
I know that most on this site are upset with this decision, but don’t forget that this could serve to fire up the conservative fan base even more. Just three days ago, a Rasmussen poll showed 54% of Americans at least somewhat wanted to repeal the law.
UPDATE 11:12am EST:
You can buy health care and not pay a tax. But if you don’t buy health care then you must pay a tax. The only thing you cannot do is not buy health care and not pay the tax.
I’m so confused as to how this is not seen as forced commerce. A ‘tax’ is a ‘fine’ in my unimportant opinion. I would love for someone to argue the preceding statement with any amount of validity.
I have heard the argument that health care services should be viewed the same way in which Americans view services like the police and fire rescue services. I’m not certain that I see eye to eye on that one.
The government has an obligation to protect its citizens from things like theft or fire, which they may not be able to totally control, but they don’t (or should not) have an obligation to keep its citizens healthy. People who take care of themselves through diet and exercise and don’t engage in injury prone activities should, in a sense, be rewarded for their efforts. Now it appears we are one step closer to socialism.
If you do think health care should be right there with police and fire departments, think about this: if your careless neighbor sets his house on fire, the fire department is there on your tax dollars to help stop the fire for you, your other neighbors, and the city. But if your neighbor is an obese man who eats donuts all day and is suffering from heart disease, does this create some sort of risk for you? The federal government implies it does…
UPDATE 11:30am EST:
House Majority Leader Eric Cantor said Republicans will force a vote to repeal ObamaCare as early as July 11th. Since this would never pass through the Senate, this is solely symbolic, but could stir up more controversy.
Also: Sarah Palin not pleased. Her latest tweet says, “Obama lied to the American people. Again. He said it wasn’t a tax. Obama lies; freedom dies.”