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Thursday, June 28, 2012
FULL TEXT: Supreme Court Upholds Obamacare Mandate as Tax, Restricts Commerce Clause
By Selected News Articles @ 1:20 PM :: 5868 Views :: National News, Ethics

Supreme Court Upholds Mandate as Tax

From Wall Street Journal (excerpts)

By a 5-4 vote, the court held the mandate valid under Congress' constitutional authority "to lay and collect Taxes" to provide for "the general Welfare of the United States." The penalty for failing to carry insurance possesses "the essential feature of any tax," producing revenue for the government, Chief Justice Roberts wrote.

Although the Obama administration always asserted the penalty was valid under the federal taxing power, until Thursday no court had fully accepted that theory. Those that upheld the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, as the law is known, did so under Congress's constitutional power to regulate interstate commerce.

The court did find one part of the law unconstitutional, saying its expansion of the federal-state Medicaid program threatened states' existing funding. The court ruled that the federal government can't put sanctions on states' existing Medicaid funding if the states decline to go along with the Medicaid expansion.

The ruling leaves the bulk of the law intact and means the fall campaign will present voters with a clear choice between Republicans who want to repeal the law and Democrats led by Mr. Obama, who spent much of the first 14 months of his term pushing his health overhaul through Congress….

On the commerce question, Chief Justice Roberts handed conservatives an ideological victory, if not a practical one. Along with the four dissenting justices, he rejected the administration's central argument that Congress could require Americans to carry insurance because the aggregate impact of uninsured individuals drove up insurance costs for everyone else.

Congress has invoked that commerce authority to justify a vast range of legislation, from environmental regulation to the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Conservatives wanted to see the Supreme Court put a limit on the commerce power, and Thursday it did.

"The Commerce Clause is not a general license to regulate an individual from cradle to grave, simply because he will predictably engage in particular transactions," the chief justice wrote.

Justice Anthony Kennedy, joined by Justices Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito, said they would have struck down the entire law, arguing that neither the government's commerce nor taxing power justified the mandate….

Even as the law's fate was in doubt, the administration moved ahead with implementing its provisions. It has been negotiating with states to set up exchanges where consumers can buy subsidized insurance policies and sign up millions of lower-income Americans for Medicaid. Some states, including Florida and Texas, refused to cooperate because they expected the law to be overturned.

The exchanges are set to open in 2014, the same year insurers will have to accept all customers regardless of their medical histories. The insurance mandate will also take effect that year: People must show when they file tax returns for 2014 that they had coverage during that year or pay a tax penalty. The size of the penalty will rise over time and eventually reach a maximum of several thousand dollars a year.

Also starting in 2014, employers with more than 50 workers will have to pay penalties starting at $2,000 per employee if they didn't offer a set level of health benefits….

FULL TEXT: Majority and Minority Supreme Court Opinions

read … Supreme Court Upholds Mandate as Tax

·       SUPREME COURT RULES: OBAMACARE STANDS...Mandate survives as a tax...

·       Chief Justice Roberts joins left of the Court...

·       The court reinforces that individuals cant simply refuse to pay tax...

·       FLASHBACK: Obama: Mandate is Not a Tax...

·       VIDEO...

·       Justices Find Fault With Medicaid Expansion 

·       Election 'Just Became About Obamacare'

·       Republican governors vow to ignore Obamacare...


·       Speaker Boehner: 'Ruling underscores the urgency of repealing this harmful law in its entirety'...

·       MCCONNELL: 'Sold to American people on a deception'...



·       Fournier: Roberts Labels Obama a Tax-Raiser...



·       Sarah Palin: 'Obama Lies, Freedom Dies'...

·       Virginia Attorney General: 'Dark Day for American Liberty'...

·       Rubio: IRS to 'come after' uninsured...



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