Conservative Chief Justice John Roberts sided with the liberal wing of the Court in allowing the Affordable Health Care Act, also known as “Obamacare,” to cover more than 30 million uninsured Americans.
The key point of the Act, known as the individual mandate, requires virtually all Americans to buy health insurance meeting minimum federal standards, or to pay a fine if they refuse. It has been opposed by 26 states. Republicans have argued the clause is unconstitutional; if the government could require citizens to buy health insurance, it could force them to buy anything else.
The Obama administration’s commerce-clause argument was rejected by the Court, but ruled 5-4 that Congress nevertheless “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. “This is sufficient to sustain it.”
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