SCOTUS Reportedly Upholds Mandate As an Exercise of the Tax Power


SCOTUSblog reports that the Supreme Court has upheld the individual health insurance mandate as a tax, which makes my recent Reason essay along those lines suddenly relevant. SCOTUSblog says the entire Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act will stand, except that "the federal government's power to terminate states' Medicaid funds is narrowly read." Chief Justice John Roberts joins the left-leaning members of the Court in upholding the law.

More to come.

Update: Majority opinion quote via SCOTUSblog:

Our precedent demonstrates that Congress had the power to impose the exaction in Section 5000A [the  "shared responsibility payment" due from people who fail to obtain government-prescribed medical coverage] 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.

SCOTUSblog's Amy Howe says "the court reinforces that individuals can simply refuse to pay the tax and not comply with the mandate." That is especially true in light of the law's weak enforcement mechanism.

It sounds like a majority of the Court (Roberts plus the four dissenters) agreed that the mandate does not pass muster as an exercise of Commerce Clause power. Four justices would have upheld the mandate on that ground as well.

The decision is here.