Supreme Court Health Care Ruling: The Mandate Can Stay


Obama's opponents in Congress signaled they aren't done fighting. The Senate minority leader, Mitch McConnell, said that "Congress must act to repeal this misguided law."

"Today's decision does nothing to diminish the fact that Obamacare's mandates, tax hikes, and Medicare cuts should be repealed and replaced with common-sense reforms that lower costs and that the American people actually want," he said. "It is my hope that with new leadership in the White House and Senate, we can enact these step-by-step solutions and prevent further damage from this terrible law."

The conservative Chamber of Commerce also chimed in. Said President Thomas Donohue: "While we respect the Court's decision, today's Supreme Court ruling does not change the reality that the health care law is fundamentally flawed. Left unchanged, it will cost many Americans their employer-based health insurance, undermine job creation, and raise health care costs for all."

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie said: "I've been clear from the very beginning that I do not believe a one-size-fits-all health care program works for the entire country and that each governor should have the ability to make decisions about what works best for their state. Today's Supreme Court decision is disappointing and I still believe this is the wrong approach for the people of New Jersey who should be able to make their own judgments about health care. Most importantly, the Supreme Court is confirming what we knew all along about this law – it is a tax on middle class Americans."

In court, the government argued that the health care law was passed partly because in 2009, 50 million people lacked health insurance. Costs of the uninsured were spiraling out of control and were being shifted to those who are insured, doctors and insurance companies. And, people with so-called pre-existing conditions were being denied coverage. The law offered insurance reforms but mandated that almost every American buy health insurance by 2014.

The government said that Congress was well within its authority to pass the individual mandate under the Commerce Clause and the Necessary and Proper Clause of the Constitution. As a secondary argument the government also said Congress had the authority to pass the mandate under its taxing authority.

Opponents — 26 states, an independent business group and two private citizens — said that while Congress has the authority to regulate interstate commerce, it doesn't have the power to require people to buy a product. The opponents argued that the claim of federal power was both "unprecedented and unbounded."

In March, the court devoted more than six hours of arguments to different aspects of the law.

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