In what will undoubtedly be viewed as a major victory by the Obama administration, the U..S. Supreme Court, in a landmark 5-4 decision, upheld Obamacare’s controversial individual mandate that requires all Americans to purchase or have health insurance.
Some legal scholars felt the mandate would be struck down by the high court but the Supremes kept the power of Congress to impose the mandate as a tax if necessary but Chief Justice John Roberts joined the court’s liberal side to five the mandate a victory.
Wrote Roberts in the court’s opinion:
If an individual does not maintain health insurance, the only consequence is that he must make an additional payment to the IRS when he pays his taxes. It makes going without insurance just another thing the government taxes, like buying gasoline or earning an income.
In other words, you pay either way.
Opponents of Obamacare wanted the mandate declared unconstitutional or, at the very least, left up to states but the court left the power with Congress.
The court did rule unconstitutional the provision that allowed the federal government to withhold Medicaid funds from states that refused to expand the program under the act but left in place the expansion itself.
The individual mandate was challenged by 26 states, which brought the issue before the Supreme Court.
While the court decision gives Obama a clear victory in a tough election year, it also provides his opponents a strong political issue. Polls show the individual mandate is not popular with many Americans and Republicans will use that dissension to try and increase their presence in Congress and overthrow the act next year.
Developing…more to come