Supreme Court upholds Obamacare

The justices, voting 5-4, say Congress has the power to require Americans to carry insurance or pay a penalty.

By MSNMoney partner Jun 28, 2012 10:28AM

By Greg Stohr, Bloomberg

The U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday upheld the core of President Barack Obama's health care overhaul, giving him an election-year triumph and preserving most of a law that would expand insurance to millions of people and transform an industry that makes up 18% of the nation's economy.


The justices, voting 5-4, said Congress has the power to make Americans carry insurance or pay a penalty. That requirement is at the core of the law, which also requires insurers to cover people with pre-existing health conditions. The court limited the law's extension of the Medicaid program for the poor by saying the federal government can't threaten to withhold money from states that don't fully comply.


The ruling frames the health care issue for this year's elections and is a victory of symbolism as well as substance for Obama. Chief Justice John Roberts, a Republican appointee, joined four Democrat-selected justices to give the president a majority on a law that has divided the country along ideological and partisan lines throughout Obama's presidency.


Roberts, writing for the court, said Congress had the authority to impose the insurance requirement under its power to levy taxes.


"It is reasonable to construe what Congress has done as increasing taxes on those who have a certain amount of income but choose to go without health insurance," Roberts wrote.


The decision on the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is the climax to an epic legal fight that featured the longest courtroom arguments in 44 years, a record number of briefs and extraordinary public interest in a Supreme Court case. The case tested both the constitutional powers of Congress and the willingness of the Roberts court to overrule the other two branches of the federal government.


The dispute marked the first time the Supreme Court had considered a president's defining legislative accomplishment in the middle of his re-election campaign. The Supreme Court hadn't considered a law of comparable scope since justices overturned part of the National Industrial Recovery Act in 1935 during President Franklin Roosevelt's New Deal.

More from Bloomberg


Jun 28, 2012 11:08AM

If we the employee have to pay for our own healthcare, then we should in turn be able to write that off our taxes.  Plus, none of this bullcrap that you don't meet the deduction to write it off our taxes.  But you know that will never happen because you can't give the taxpayers a deduction when you want them to pay for the lazy **** people who don't work for their benefits!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Jun 28, 2012 11:20AM
All in Favor of Hanging the Supreme Court by it's Toes say AY AY AY AY AY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Jun 28, 2012 10:54AM
Sorry folks but socialism has to be paid for. We tax payers don't have the money. It is time to declare bankruptcy and start over.
Jun 28, 2012 11:13AM

It must be nice to be a supreme court judge and never be a judge!!!  Who was the bonehead who allowed that???  Oh, that's right, the boneheads who are currently in office now!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Jun 28, 2012 12:12PM
Can you spot the difference in these two statements?

1. Every individual in this country - as a condition of their existence - must have health insurance. Those who do not comply will be forced to pay a monetary sum determined by the federal government.

2. Every individual in this country - as a condition of their existence - must have health insurance. Those who do not comply will be forced topay a monetary sum determined by the federal government.

According to the Supreme Court, one of those is an unconstitutional "mandate" unsupported by the Commerce Clause, and the other is an entirely legal "tax" that falls under Congress' taxing authority.

What will we ever do with all this freedom? 
Jun 28, 2012 11:44AM
Paying for my healthcare is one thing.  But raising my taxes to pay for the lazy people that refuse to get a job or attempt to get healthcare is another story!!!!  Plus, I think the government should start to put limits on parents with children.  You are allowed only 2 children and that's it.  Any more is not financially beneficial to we the tax payers of this country!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Jun 28, 2012 11:56AM
Fixdlguy, I don't think when they created the Supreme Court that Politics would play a majority role in the decisions that are made today!  Plus, I always thought that the justices serving were the creme of the crop.  But when you have people on there that are nothing more than a teacher at a law school then what is this world coming too.  But then again I couldn't be a judge and have to put up with all the B/S!!!!!!!!!!!
Jun 28, 2012 11:00AM
As an employer I welcome the decision.   I had already planned to discontinue  healthcare coverage in 2014 and pay the penalties.   I will let my employees buy their own coverage.  As the government fines will preclude any increases in pay to compensate for the coverage, the employees will just have to bear the additional costs.  

I have decided to make this happen on September Oct 1st, this year, so the employees will have time to adjust and to vote their pocketbooks.  I encourage all business to do the same thing...

Jun 28, 2012 10:49AM
And I'm sure Elaine Kagan voted in favor seeing that she is the only So Called Pseudo Justice who has never seen the light of day in a court room.  I guess she has to kiss the Presidential Butt who put her in the court to begin with!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Jun 28, 2012 10:55AM
Looks like it is time to redefine the Supreme Court and limit thier terms. Gov't set up 235 years ago is no longer responsive and is out of touch. We need a new one.
Jun 28, 2012 11:03AM
And of course Roberts the wimp or should I say KISSBUTT that he is stuck up for the President!
Jun 28, 2012 10:48AM
It wasn't the issue that divided the country, it was the GOP with its lies and deceit.  Time now to get to work on a public option, which of course won't be possible unless the GOP is defeated in 2012 or some later time, if the country still exists after the damage they have done.
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