The Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) today released the ruling on President Obama’s health care law and found the law to be largely constitutional with the individual mandate to purchase health insurance being classified as a tax.
Report from the Washington Post:
The Supreme Court on Thursday upheld the individual health-insurance mandate that is at the heart of President Obama’s landmark health-care law, saying the mandate is permissible under Congress’s taxing authority.
The potentially game-changing, election-year decision — a major victory for the White House less than five months before the November elections –will help redefine the power of the national government and affect the health-care choices of millions of Americans.
Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. sided with the majority in voting to uphold the law, Obama’s signature domestic initiative.
Passage of the legislation by the Democratic-controlled Congress in 2010 capped decades of efforts to implement a national program of health care. The legislation is expected to eventually extend health-care coverage to more than 30 million Americans who currently lack it.
Republicans in Congress and GOP presidential challenger Mitt Romney have vowed to try and repeal the measure after the November elections.
Calling this a win for the White House may be a little premature. The short term victory in the ruling is a win but now the President will need to sell this legislation to a citizenry who have already rejected it. The court stated that the financial penalty for not purchasing health insurance can be called a tax which means the President now has to defend a tax increase on anyone who does not purchase acceptable insurance. If the argument for ObamaCare was that many couldn’t afford health insurance, the President may be left answering the question of whether someone who still can’t afford insurance will now be forced to afford thousands of dollars in a “tax” for not entering the insurance pool.
This will not be the end to this issue, of course, since it will be a large campaign issue heading up to Election Day.
Full Opinion from SCOTUS: 6/28/12 – National Federation of Independent Business v. Sebelius (PDF)
More to come including reactions from the Obama and Romney campaigns…
More from ABCNews:
The court ruled that the mandate is unconstitutional under the Constitution’s commerce clause, but it can stay as part of Congress’s power under a taxing clause. The court said that the government will be allowed to tax people for not having health insurance.
“The Affordable Care Act’s requirement that certain individuals pay a financial penalty for not obtaining health insurance may reasonably be characterized as a tax. Because the Constitution permits such a tax, it is not our role to forbid it, or to pass upon its wisdom or fairness,” Chief Justice John Roberts wrote in the ruling.
President Obama vehemently argued in 2009 that his health care law was not, in any way, a tax:
This ruling will make his argument much more murky to defend in the coming months.