US Supreme Court Upholds ObamaCare

ObamaCare's individual insurance requirement can be construed as a tax and is therefore constitutional, America's high court rules.

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Gabe Kahn,

US Supreme Court
US Supreme Court

The US Supreme Court on Thursday upheld the individual insurance requirement at the heart of President Barack Obama's attempt to overhaul America's healthcare system.

The decision means the massive healthcare intiative, popularly called ObamaCare, which is still only partly in effect, will proceed and pick up momentum over the next several years.

The plan is expected to affect the way countless Americans receive and pay for their personal medical care, and is intended to ensure some 30 million uninisured Americans will recieve proper healthcare.

The ruling also hands Obama a campaign-season victory in rejecting arguments that Congress went too far in requiring Americans to have health insurance or pay a penalty.

Chief Justice John Roberts announced the court's decision to allow the law to go forward.

However, the court did reject two of the administration's three arguments in support of the insurance requirement. But the court nonetheless said the mandate can be construed as a tax, making it constitutionally sound.

"Because the Constitution permits such a tax, it is not our role to forbid it, or to pass upon its wisdom or fairness," Roberts said.

The court did take issue with the law's expansion of Medicaid, but even there said the expansion could proceed as long as the federal government does not threaten to withhold states' entire Medicaid allotment if they don't take part in the law's extension.

Justices Stephen Breyer, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Elena Kagan and Sonia Sotomayor, joined Roberts in the outcome.

Justices Samuel Alito, Anthony Kennedy, Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas dissented.

"The act before us here exceeds federal power both in mandating the purchase of health insurance and in denying non-consenting states all Medicaid funding," the dissenters said in their opinion.