Gavel Grab

Supreme Court Upholds Core Provision of Health Care Law

A divided Supreme Court has upheld the central provision of the federal health care overhaul, which requires almost all Americans to obtain health insurance or face a penalty.

Chief Justice John Roberts Jr., a conservative, joined the court’s liberal wing in the historic ruling, one that affects millions of people and was the most closely watched case in recent memory. The 5-4 ruling delivered a legal victory for President Obama in a presidential election year.

“The Affordable Care Act’s requirement that certain individuals pay a financial penalty for not obtaining health insurance may reasonably be characterized as a tax,” Chief Justice Roberts wrote for the court’s majority, according to a Reuters article.

“Because the Constitution permits such a tax, it is not our role to forbid it, or to pass upon its wisdom or fairness,” he wrote.

In another part of its decision, the court narrowed the Affordable Care Act’s extension of Medicaid for low-income people. It said the federal government may not threaten to withhold existing funding from states that choose not to comply, Bloomberg reported.

The case has thrust the high court into an unusual spotlight and prompted extensive debate over its role and even its structure. It came on the final day of the court’s term.

Initial reports about the ruling included articles in The New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Fox News, Wall Street Journal and USA Today.


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