What I am getting out of the first news reports I am hearing is that the Court decided that the entire law is Constitutional. More specifically, the majority opinion says that the law is upholdable under a taxation provision of the US Constitution, but that it was not under the commerce clause as orignally argued by the White Hosue and reform supporters. That's a bit of a twist.
So, while upholding the law under tax provisions, the Court also said that the federal government cannot require individuals to buy something as part of regulating commerce nationally...like health insurance.
I note that this also would mean going forward that laws requiring people to buy other things as part of regulating commerce would not pass muster as Constitutional...like private pension funds as part of a conservative overall of Socail Security. That's something conservatives have long talked about doing, but I seriouly doubt Republicans would try to enforce a individual mandate requiring purchase of private investment services as part of an overhaul of Social Security by relying on a TAX provision to do it. Just not their thing, and despite a keen ability to do a 180 on issues at a drop of hat...that might be a bit much for even them. So, the ruling today might be a double whammy against the conservative agenda.
One person who should be a bit perplexed by the decision today is Mitt Romney. After all, he championed and successuflly passed a very, very similar law in Massachesetts when he was governor. So, he was correct on what was best for Americans by supporting this reform back in the day, right? But he also has consistenly railed against the national healthcare reform law since he began running for President. Odd to run against the exact thing you championed previously. But that's Mitt for you.
But, all that being said, with its decision today the Supreme Court has upheld that:
- Expands coverage to 32 million Americans who are currently uninsured
- Health insurers cannot turn you down for coverage based on pre-existing conditions
- Insurance companies could no longer denying children coverage based on a preexisting condition