BenefitsLink Health & Welfare Plans Newsletter
Supreme Court Upholds ACA: Mandatory Purchase of Health Insur.ance—Else Pay the Tax—Is the Law of the Land (PDF)
(Click the above headline to view the Court's opinion.)
The entire ACA is upheld, with the exception that the federal government's power to terminate states' Medicaid funds is narrowly read.
The individual mandate is construed as a tax on individuals: "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."
The Court reinforces that the only effect of not complying with the mandate is that one must pay the tax. The Court holds that the mandate violates the Commerce Clause, but it becomes irrelevant because five Justices find the mandate to be constitutional under the taxing power.
On the Medicaid issue, the Medicaid expansion is constitutional, but it is unconstitutional for the federal government to withhold Medicaid funds for non-compliance with the expansion provisions.
"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."
(Supreme Court of the United States via BenefitsLink.com)
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Lois Baker, J.D., President
David Rhett Baker, J.D., Editor and Publisher
Holly Horton, Business Manager
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