The Supreme Court's decision in the case regarding the Affordable Care Act ("Obamacare"), National Federation of Independent Business v. Sibelius, Secretary of Health and Human Services, No. 11-393 (June 28, 2012), is now out. Read it here: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/politics/documents/supreme-court-health-care-decision-text.html See the bottom of this note for early analyses pro and con. Pending a reading of the full opinion, here is a brief analysis from the Washington Post:
Is the penalty in the law equivalent to a tax that therefore—under the Anti-Injunction Act—cannot be challenged until it's actually levied? YES and NO
In voting to uphold the mandate, the justices ruled that a penalty for refusing to obtain health insurance amounts to a tax. But the court did not accept that the Anti-Injunction Act precludes a decision on the health-care law.
Is the law's individual mandate constitutional? YES
The court rejected the administration's commerce-clause argument, but ruled that Congress has "the power to impose" the individual mandate under its taxing authority. The provision "need not be read to do more than impose a tax," the opinion said. "That is sufficient to sustain it."
Is the law's provision expanding Medicaid to cover a greater share of the poor constitutional? YES, but . . .
The justices found that the law's expansion of Medicaid can move forward, but not its provision that threatens states with the loss of their existing Medicaid funding if the states declined to comply with the expansion. The finding raises questions as to how effectively the federal government will be able to implement the expansion of the joint federal-state insurance program for the poor.
Did Justice Roberts analyze the issues rightly? "A Confused Opinion," says Richard A. Epstein in The New York Times. http://nyti.ms/Lb1TFX On the contrary, "Modesty and Audacity" says Times columnist David Brooks. http://nyti.ms/N1Av7v
What do you think?
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