The U.S. Supreme Court upheld President Obama’s Affordable Care Act in a 5-4 decision June 28.
The court found the mandate requiring all Americans buy health insurance was a valid exercise of Congress’ authority to “lay and collect taxes.”
However, the justices rejected the government’s argument that Congress had the power under the Constitution’s commerce clause to put the mandate in place. Chief Justice John Roberts said the power to regulate interstate commerce “does not authorize the mandate.” The justices instead focused on a point that had not received as much public attention — the health care mandate is permissible when considered a tax.
The justices also tackled Medicaid, federal health insurance for the poor, which is directly impacted by the ruling on the mandate. The court said the federal government cannot force states to expand their Medicaid programs. Furthermore, the federal government cannot penalize states by withholding existing funding.
In the above video, FIU professors Elizabeth Price Foley from the College of Law, Nicol Rae from the School of International and Public Affairs and Dr. Joe Greer from the College of Medicine weigh in from a legal, political and medical perspective.