Supreme Court upholds Affordable Care Act

Supreme Court upholds the Affordable Care Act
Supreme Court upholds the Affordable Care Act

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled 5-4 in favor of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) this morning.

Leading up to this ruling, officials from 26 states filed lawsuits against the ACA claiming that a key provision, the individual mandate requiring all Americans maintain “minimum essential” health insurance coverage or else pay a penalty, violated the Constitution's Commerce clause.

The Court also ruled in the expansion of the scope of persons covered under Medicaid.

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Story Highlights

Chief Justice John Roberts presented the ruling on the individual mandate and stated, “The Federal Government does have the power to impose a tax on those without health insurance. Section 5000A is therefore constitutional, because [the individual mandate] can reasonably be read as a tax. Because the Constitution permits such a tax, it is not our role to forbid it, or to pass upon its wisdom or fairness.”

 


  • Following this ruling, all Americans must have or buy health insurance by 2014.
    • In 2014, the penalty will be $285 per family or 1% of income, whichever is greater.
    • By 2016, the penalty it goes up to $2,085 per family or 2.5% of income. 
  • Select groups of people will be except from the ACA:
    • Those with religious objections or who participate in a “health care sharing ministry”
    • Those who are “not lawfully present” in the U.S.
    • Those who are incarcerated
    • Members of an Indian tribe
    • Those who cannot afford coverage and or have suffered a hardship with respect to the capability to obtain coverage
    • Those who experience only short gaps in coverage
  • The ACA prohibits insurance companies from denying coverage to those with preexisting conditions or other health issues, or charging unhealthy individuals higher premiums than healthy individuals.
  • The additional expansion of the Medicaid program will require state programs to provide coverage by 2014 to adults with incomes up to 133% of the federal poverty level.

Click here to view the Supreme Court's full ruling on the ACA.

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