The Supreme Court ruled today on the Obamacare provisions and upheld it almost in its entirety. I am surprised by this, I was fully expecting to be writing a post right now saying just the opposite. Even more surprising is that Chief Justice Roberts was in the majority of the opinion and Kennedy wrote the dissent. If anything could be done to restore some small amount of faith in the judicial branch of the government, this was it.
Nothing in our opinion precludes Congress from offering funds under the ACA to expand the availability of health care, and requiring that states accepting such funds comply with the conditions on their use. What Congress is not free to do is to penalize States that choose not to participate in that new program by taking away their existing Medicaid funding.
The only thing they’ve really changed is that Congress doesn’t have the ability to punish states for non-compliance by taking away Medicaid funding. Everything else stands based on Congress’ right to impose taxes — the opinion seems to say that the mandate is functionally a tax, and therefore Constitutional.
Our precedent demonstrates that Congress had the power to impose the exaction in Section 5000A under the taxing power, and that Section 5000A need not be read to do more than impose a tax. This is sufficient to sustain it.
I’m still waiting for an online copy. http://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/11pdf/11-393c3a2.pdf