The Supreme Court ruled today that Obamacare will stand. Some statements from the court, provided by ScotusBlog.com:
The money quote from the section on the mandate: Our precedent demonstrates that Congress had the power to impose the exaction in Section 5000A under the taxing power, and that Section 5000A need not be read to do more than impose a tax. This is sufficient to sustain it.
The Court holds that the mandate violates the Commerce Clause, but that doesn’t matter b/c there are five votes for the mandate to be constitutional under the taxing power.
This means that the individual mandate to have health care insurance is viewed as a tax by the Court. Under the law, if you don’t have health insurance, the federal government can levy a tax against you. The court did not uphold the individual mandate under the Commerce Clause, which is expected, but instead, the majority of the court (5-4) considers the mandate constitutional under the taxing power.
The key comment on salvaging the Medicaid expansion is this (from Roberts): “Nothing in our opinion precludes Congress from offering funds under the ACA to expand the availability of health care, 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.” (p. 55)
This means that Obamacare can expand Medicaid as it planned to in the law. However, it cannot punish states for refusing to accept additional Medicaid funds, and it must continue to provide funding even if a state refuses the expansion.