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Supreme Court Affordable Care Act Decision

Thursday, June 28, 2012   (0 Comments)
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Dear DHPE Members and Partners,

This morning the Supreme Court ruled that the Affordable Care Act is constitutional, therefore upholding the law. The majority opinion was authored by Chief Justice John Roberts and was joined by Justices Elena Kagan, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer and Sonia Sotomayor. The ruling represents a major victory for public health advocates who worked tirelessly over the past two years in support of the law.

On a 5 to 4 decision, the Court ruled that the individual mandate may stand as a tax. While they found that the mandate does violate the Commerce Clause, the majority of the Court found that it is constitutional under the taxing power of the Congress. On the Medicaid issue, a majority of the Court holds that the Medicaid expansion is constitutional but that it is unconstitutional for the federal government to withhold Medicaid funds for noncompliance with the expansion provisions. Chief Justice Roberts stated,"Nothing in our opinion precludes Congress from offering funds under the ACA to expand the availability of healthcare and requiring that states accepting such funds comply with the conditions on their use. What Congress is not free to do is to penalize states that choose not to participate in that new program by taking away their existing Medicaid funding."

We will be analyzing the ruling along with others in greater depth and will be studying the analyses of the decision by experts on constitutional law as well as other sources. We will report back as appropriate. For an overview of the law as well as state-specific fact sheets on how your state is benefiting from the ACA, visit the Healthcare.govwebsite.

For additional information about the court's decision, visit the Supreme Court's website or SCOTUSblog. Look for future webinar announcements which give further detail about this ruling.

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