Today the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) issued a ruling upholding the entire Affordable Care Act (ACA) with some limitations. The majority of the Court found that under Congress’ taxing power, the ACA mandate that requires all individuals to have health insurance is indeed constitutional. While the SCOTUS did not have the five votes it needed to uphold the mandate on the ground that Congress could use its power to regulate commerce between the states to require everyone to buy health insurance, five Justices (Chief Justice John Roberts, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan) agreed that the penalty individuals must pay for refusing to buy insurance is the kind of tax that Congress can impose using its taxing power.
As it pertains to the Medicaid expansion, the SCOTUS ruling was less clear. The majority of the court upheld the expansion under ACA but limited the federal authority for issuing sanctions for states that fail to comply with the expansion. Essentially, the Constitution requires that states have a choice about whether to participate in the expansion of eligibility; if they decide not to, they can continue to receive funding at their current levels. In issuing its ruling the SCOTUS made it clear that the federal government may not threaten noncompliant states with the loss of their existing funding.
On Monday, July 2, CWLA will hold a conference call to describe and discuss the Supreme Court decisions on health care, immigration, and juvenile life without parole and their impact on children and families. The conference call will be held Monday at 3:00 pm eastern and will be for CWLA members only. To register for this conference call send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.