Wahoo! This news just made my day. Today the Supreme court declared in a 5-4 vote that the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is constitutional. The individual mandate was the primary issue in a lawsuit filed against the act by 26 states and a business group. Twenty five of the 26 states were Republican. The argument was that the individual mandate violated the Constitution's interstate commerce clause, which empowers Congress to regulate interstate commerce. The basis of the arguement was that although healthcare is a form of interstate commerce, individuals who do not engage in commerce cannot be compelled to participate. The fear was this act could open the door to further eroding of personal liberty.
The Supreme Court ruled that individuals foregoing insurance coverage still actively participate in the healthcare marketplace because they will eventually require medical attention. The decision not to get healthcare coverage affects everyone else because the cost of their free or subsidized care is passed on to the rest via higher insurance premiums and healthcare provider costs. In addition, it leave the existing risk pool of insured Americans smaller and sicker, thus increasing premiums even more.
The justices also upheld the constitutionality of the expansion of the Medicaid program and declared that a penalty applied to individuals who don't obtain health insurance coverage beginning in 2014 does not prohibit consideration of the case beforehand. This addresses the Anti-Injunction Act which prohibits anyone from challenging a tax in court until it has been paid.
Chalk another one up for Obama!!!