It’s a tax not a mandate
The United States Supreme Court upheld Obama care in a 5-4 decision. CJ Roberts broke the tie and authored the opinion.
A Link to “The Decision”:
NATIONAL FEDERATION OF INDEPENDENT BUSINESS v. SEBELIUS, Nos. 11-393, 11-398 and, 11-400, 2012 BL 160004 (U.S. June 28, 2012)
A FREE Download of “The Decision”:
- Lyle’s report on the Court’s decision to uphold the mandate is here.
- “Salvaging the idea that Congress did have the power to try to expand health care to virtually all Americans, the Supreme Court on Thursday upheld the constitutionality of the crucial – and most controversial — feature of the Affordable Care Act. By a vote of 5-4, however, the Court did not sustain it as a command for Americans to buy insurance, but as a tax if they don’t. That is the way Chief Justice John G. Roberts, Jr., was willing to vote for it, and his view prevailed. The other Justices split 4-4, with four wanting to uphold it as a mandate, and four opposed to it in any form…”
- Amy’s report on today’s decision “In Plain English” is here.
- “…Although the Chief Justice rejected the government’s Commerce Clause argument, he agreed with one of the government’s alternative arguments: the mandate imposes a tax on people who do not buy health insurance, and that tax is something that Congress can impose using its constitutional taxing power. He acknowledged that the mandate (and its accompanying penalty) is primarily intended to get people to buy insurance, rather than to raise money, but it is, he explained, still a tax. If someone who does not want to buy health insurance is willing to pay the tax, that’s the end of the matter; the government cannot do anything else…”
- Kevin’s report on the Medicaid portion of the decision is here (with a supplement here).
- “…The Court’s decision on the constitutionality of the Medicaid expansion is divided and complicated. The bottom line is that: (1) Congress acted constitutionally in offering states funds to expand coverage to millions of new individuals; (2) So states can agree to expand coverage in exchange for those new funds; (3) If the state accepts the expansion funds, it must obey by the new rules and expand coverage; (4) but a state can refuse to participate in the expansion without losing all of its Medicaid funds; instead the state will have the option of continue the its current, unexpanded plan as is…”
- Tejinder’s report on the Anti-Injunction Act portion of the decision is here.
- “Before reaching the merits of the Affordable Care Act case, the Supreme Court held that that Anti-Injunction Act (AIA) – a statute that bars suits to restrain the collection of taxes – does not apply to suits challenging the individual mandate.
- In general, nobody can sue to challenge the collection of a tax before the tax is actually collected; instead, you have to pay the tax, and then sue for a refund. This policy protects the government’s ability to secure revenues. Thus, the AIA bars any suit brought “for the purpose of restraining the assessment or collection of any tax.” 26 U.S.C. § 7421(a). Today, the Court held that the AIA does not bar the challenge to the individual mandate because the mandate is not a “tax” within the meaning of the AIA. But if the individual mandate is only constitutional as an exercise of Congress’s taxing power, then how can that be?…”
- A podcast of Tom talking with Spencer Mazyck of Bloomberg is here.
Blog posts written PRIOR to the Supreme Court decision in Obama care
- “The Supreme Court takes on Obama-care”
- “Can Obama-care Survive without the ‘Individual Mandate?’ “
- “The Supreme Court Oral Argument on the “Individual Mandate”
- “Obama-care Legislation Reaches the Supreme Court”
The morning after “The Decision”
- NY Times editorial, “A Moderate Ruling with Risks Ahead”
- WSJ, “Court backs Obama on Health Law” [full multi-media coverage]
The President, Mitt Romney, and lawmaker’s reaction to the Obama care Supreme Court ruling
From Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, 1600:
‘Tis but thy name that is my enemy;
Thou art thyself, though not a Montague.
What’s Montague? it is nor hand, nor foot,
Nor arm, nor face, nor any other part
Belonging to a man. O, be some other name!
What’s in a name? that which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet;
So Romeo would, were he not Romeo call’d,
Retain that dear perfection which he owes
Without that title. Romeo, doff thy name,
And for that name which is no part of thee
Take all myself.