On Thursday, the Supreme Court ruled that the individual health insurance mandate is, in fact, constitutional. This is a big victory for supporters of President Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act, and a crushing, humiliating defeat for opponents of “Obamacare”.
The new mandate requires almost every American to obtain some health insurance or pay a penalty. Five of the justices agreed that the mandate fell within the powers granted Congress by the Constitution to “lay and collect taxes.”
Chief Justice John Roberts wrote the controlling opinion, upholding the mandate as a tax, although ultimately concluding that this wasn’t a good use of Congress’ commerce clause power.
Ginsburg, who wrote separately from the other liberals, pointed out that they would have likely upheld it under the commerce clause, as well. “Unlike the market for almost any other product or service, the market for medical care is one in which all individuals inevitably participate,” she explained, continuing, “Virtually every person residing in the United States, sooner or later, will visit a doctor or other health care professional.”
I’ve been waiting for this for a long time, and I know this was one of the selling points of Obama’s campaign platform for quite a number of people. He’s had his share of hits and misses, so the trajectory of this one is something we’re going to have to tract very carefully.