Supreme Court Upholds Health Care Law’s Individual Mandate


Today's Supreme Court decision on President Obama's health care law is a big win for the commander-in-chief.

MSNBC and other outlets report the Justices decided the contentious individual mandate does not violate the U.S. Constitution because Congress has the power to tax citizens, and the mandate qualifies as a tax.

Shockingly, conservative Chief Justice John Roberts agreed.

In a dramatic victory for President Barack Obama, the Supreme Court upheld the 2010 health care law Thursday, preserving Obama’s landmark legislative achievement.

The majority opinion was written by Chief Justice John Roberts, who held that the law was a valid exercise of Congress’s power to tax.

The decision came as a sharp rebuff and disappointment to congressional Republicans, many of whom had expected the court to strike down at least some parts of the law.

Towleroad legal expert Ari Ezra Waldman will offer a complete analysis later today.


  1. Jersey says

    It doesn’t surprise me actually, was this court really going to block a mandate that shovels that much money into the coffers of insurance companies?

  2. Derrick from Philly says

    I thought Roberts would be the surprise conservative in support of the Affordable Health Care law. He may have even more surprises in the future. Remember, President Eisenhower thought that Earl Warren was a staunch (or stable) conservative. Not.

  3. Jack M says

    The Republicans will probably hang the members of the Supreme Court in effigy by the end of the day.

  4. Josh says

    This law kept me from being put on a 12 month waiting list for people with pre-existing conditions, when I got my new job.

    My pre-existing condition was not having had health insurance and not an actual medical condition.

  5. say what says

    CNN ran for 10 minutes with struck down

    OUCH, someone is going to get fired at CNN

    a real Dewey beats Truman moment

  6. Gary says

    I have mixed emotions about this. On the one hand, on the whole, The Affordable Care Act does alot of good, but the individual mandate was originally a Republican idea and a boon for private insurance. It’s not exactly like we got a single payer system which would have been preferable. As my friend Tom said, “I never expected the Supreme Court to overturn the Perpetual Profits for Insurance Companies Law.” It’s funny how politics evolves. The further the Republican party moves to the right, its former positions are now reviled as “socialist”. So, in some ways, this is really a Republican/conservative victory. And we’re supposed to be elated? I’m happy I guess, It’s progress, but still a huge compromise.

  7. Ljc says

    The cost of covering everybody for everthing will likely be greater than the increase in premiums received.

  8. Bobby says

    I bet Romney is praying for the big UFO in the sky to come get him right now. LOL! President Obama’s reelection is on track!

  9. Esther Blodgett says

    Whether this is a “big win” for President Obama is for time to tell.

    This ruling is a “big win” for the country and the citizens.

  10. anon says

    Well, this will get conservatives out to vote in Nov. since they will have to repeal the law in Congress. Since not a single Rep. voted for the law, they all have their political backs covered. Had the law been struck down, everything would be business as usual.

    If you live in a state with mandatory car insurance coverage, you know the difficulties of getting people to pay up, and the issue of illegal immigrants will be worse. Did they think this one through??

  11. Derrick from Philly says


    Damn…well, thanks for bringing me back to reality. I forgot this is all based on “RomneyCare”.


    I guess I’m just happy that the far right-wing kooks aint gonna’ like this decision. I forget about those greedy, inhumane insurance companies.

    Damn, the right-wing and the media in this country can get you so f.cked up in the head that you begin celebrated a victory that worth sh.t.

  12. DRG says

    @ANON…hate to break it to you, but if you have to “pay up” for not having health insurance, the government will being taxing you…not waiting for you to pay a fine. The IRS is the one entity that you don’t mess with. As for illegal immigrants, the health care legislation bars coverage to anyone who does not have citizenship, visa, or other government issued acceptable form of identification. illegal immigrants just go to hospitals when they are in an accident or have major health issues. the hospitals legally have to treat them costing the tax payers tons of money, but that is no different from before the healthcare reform act.

  13. Inside says

    Big winners today: Big Pharma. They just lobbied their way into 45 million new customers, paid out of your pocket.

  14. Derrick from Philly says

    I meant “You bein celebrating a victory that aint worth poop”

    Sorry for all the profanity, Andy. It makes me feel so masculine like Rick. Now, where is my lip gloss.

  15. DRG says

    @Derrick from Philly, yes this will mean more money for insurance companies as more people will buy insurance. but it will also bring down the cost of insurance because more people will be buying into it. insurance companies make money by denying coverage not collecting premiums. this law also has provisions to cut the insurers abilty to deny that coverage. if we can’t have a single payer system, this is a great step in the right direction.

  16. say what says


    august will see almost $2 billion in checks sent out to people from their insurance companies w a letter stating it is due to Obamacare

    one provision not talked about much but big insurance hated was reimbursements for overcharging

    & yeah it is a stepp

    medicare was step1
    Obamacare is step 2

    a few decades from now will be step 3 = national health care

  17. says

    it’s funny how this has upset the conservative right. this is the most “Christian” thing the US has done in a few decades, if you catch my drift 😉

    they should be happy. but they aint. cuz they’re not Christians when it comes to helping others, only when it comes to hating gays and Muslims.

  18. VDUFFORD says

    I to have a pre-exisiting condition Crohn’s disease about 8 grand every eight weeks for a life saving infusion called Remicade. So you can see that I am glad to see this stay in place. A young man that is only 23 gets the three hour infusion next to me told me he would have been denied this drug if he was not on his family insurance.The young man was still in school studying to be a lawyer.How many stories of real people out there that are positively effected by this bill.

  19. Jerry says

    Roberts’ majority ruling, which saved the mandate as a taxable matter, also cast a shadow on the long-term outcome, as a tax can be repealed by a future Congress and President. While this is a long-shot in the short-run – Mittens could win in November, and more Republicans could be elected to Congress- it will be all but impossible to win enough new seats to get a filibuster-proof (60 votes) majority in the Senate in one election cycle.

  20. say what says

    stuffed animal

    don’t worry…..the affordable care act in the end will be the slow death of for profit insurance and deliver National Health care down the road

    The US is the only industrial nation to not have universal health care and we have the lowest life expectancy of all industrial nations. Canada delivers national health care at 1/3 the cost health care costs in the US

    take a deep breath and relax…..this is a good day for america or are you saying you would prefer the US to lag behind the rest of the industrial world and people to die….do you prefer a few at the top to profit off of people’s suffering?

  21. say what says

    PS stuffed animal

    why do you hate america?

    anything that gets us closer to national health care is good for national security

    national health care systems are better equipped to deal with pandemics…our for profit system is not….sick people put off getting treatment thus running around spreading pandemics while national systems can treat and halt pandemics more quickly = good for national security

    why do you hate america so much?

  22. Joey says

    Insurance is socialism. We all pay in and those that need it get the help they need. When ideologues in America try and shove it into a capitalistic model it breaks down. That is why the USA has the most expensive, most corrupt and worst performing health care system of all the western countries.

  23. says

    Stuffed Animal blathers: I agree with Jersey and Inside. A little bit of our democracy died today! It’s chilling that any SCOTUS justice would agree that government has the right to force citizens to buy a private company’s product.

    If I want to drive a car, I have to buy car insurance, forced to by the government.

  24. Dead in Two Years Anyway. says

    Bad law, bad decision. Was hoping the Court would blunt off some of the ACA’s bad means, while preserving most of the good ends.

    Be wary of Roberts. He is no friend of Equality.

  25. Zlick says

    I think one of the popular misconceptions is that the individual mandate is a way of Congress forcing people to buy a privately offered product. But the Supreme Court just ruled that method unconstitutional (as it should have) under the Commerce Clause, and instead rationalized that this COULD HAVE BEEN a way for Congress to tax people who don’t buy health insurance, and that was indeed ruled constitutional under Congress’ power to tax.

    It’s not that much of a stretch, considering that the penalty for not buying insurance is levied by the IRS, and there are plenty of ways the federal government taxes individuals for private purchase decisions, and indeed on income itself.

    What’s overlooked is that the penalty is very paltry now, and rises to a pretty paltry level of $645 per year in 2015, and is pegged to the Consumer Price Index thereafter. Sorry, but that’s not a huge penalty for not buying insurance that would likely cost far more. And there is no criminal penalty for not paying, no fine for not paying, and no interest on the amount not paid for the health insurance penalty. So it’s really not much of an incentive for people to buy health insurance. Most insured people will just pay the far cheaper penalty, and who knows how many will simply thumb their nose on the IRS on this toothless matter.

    That’s the practical. On the political, it’s a big win for Obama, which I’m thrilled about. And it’s fun to watch the conservatives get their panties in a bunch on a deal that hugely favored their side (a vast boon to private insurance companies).

    On a future-track level, the news is good, too. This IS a conservative-weighted deal – – but we are finally on the road to Universal Coverage. It will happen.

  26. anon says

    Whoa, I come back to find I’m suddenly in league with Rick. While this law passed under Democratic support, it does not set up “universal healthcare” or “socialized medicine” or a “national health service” such as they have in Canada and Europe. All it does is extend Medicaid funding to include those that can’t currently afford insurance. It does not specify the extent to which any medical condition will be covered, so even if you have this insurance your condition may or may not be covered. It also does not cap the price of the insurance, so you may or may not be able to afford the insurance (ending up in the Medicaid pool). It also does nothing to forestall the high cost of uninsured illegal immigrants using emergency rooms for basic health services. I’m not sure who this law is going to help unless you just happen to lose a job and can’t afford COBRA payments and are ineligible for SS longterm disability payments. Likewise, this will up conservative voter turnout by a few % points, perhaps enough to tip the election.

  27. say what says


    look at the stock market

    hospitals up and private insurers down

    why? well for the private insurers = profits will be cut and thus this is the death knell of for profit insurance in the long run

    National health care is coming a decade or 2 at most because this will be (rightly so) the death of for profit health insurance

    On stimulating repub base , balanced out that romneycare makes romney the worse torch bearer for the repubs on this issue….they are already crying about romney being the worse possible guy at this moment in time to have as the nominee

    a wash out on repub base

  28. Gregoire says

    Let’s not celebrate John Roberts quite yet please. I helped deliver Citizens United, among many other loathsome outcomes.

  29. Derrick from Philly says


    Well, you’re right, and Roberts is still too far to the right. But that’s what makes this decision even more delightful. The conservatives are stratching their heads and azzes at Roberts’ vote. They’re very unhappy (hee hee hee).

    And, DEAD IN TWO YEARS ANYWAY, your posting name is frightening. You aint goin’ no where. I said the same thing when Ronald Reagan won in 1980.

  30. Jersey says

    Don’t get it twisted regarding my first post, I am all about this win for getting healthcare for everyone and have no problem covering the cost with a tax. I’d gladly pay a tax to have the woman down the street get prenatal care or the old guy across the street get his diabetes meds, much more so than funding some asinine war somewhere. My pointing out that it didn’t suprise me Roberts went along was the big money for insurers. In a way I guess it was smart of Obama to do it this way. Also it seems we can maybe get to single payer easier someday from this position.

  31. says

    The court has ruled: pay your taxes or die! There is now no way you won’t have to pay some form of tax if you are alive!

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