Supreme Court Upholds Health Care Reform
In a 5-4 decision, the Supreme Court of the United States declared that the Affordable Care Act, enacted in 2010, was appropriate under the United States' Constitution and within the powers of the federal government. Opponents of the law particularly challenged the constitutionality of the individual mandate, which would require most individuals either to purchase health insurance or pay a fine. In defence of the act, the Obama Administration cited the Commerce Clause of the Constitution, which claims that Congress had the power to regulate interstate trade.
After hearing deliberations, Supreme Court Chief Justice Roberts presented on June 28, 2012, the majority opinion that while the Commerce Clause did not allow Congress to compel an individual to purchase services, the individual mandate was constitutional since it could be considered a tax, rather than a fine, which Congress does have the power to impose. With an exception to the act's Medicaid expansion plan, the law in its entirety was upheld as constitutional and will proceed as scheduled.
While this decision's ultimate political outcome is yet to be seen, the healthcare industry is expected to proceed relatively unfazed. Provisions already enacted will stay in effect and those yet to be implemented are still on schedule as normal. For more information on how the Affordable Care Act may affect your coverage, please contact your insurance provider.
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