The Supreme Court health care decision in plain English

Here is Amy Howe of Scotusblog’s interpretation at 9:32 AM CDT:

In Plain English: The Affordable Care Act, including its individual mandate that virtually all Americans buy health insurance, is constitutional. There were not five votes to uphold it on the ground that Congress could use its power to regulate commerce between the states to require everyone to buy health insurance. However, five Justices agreed that the penalty that someone must pay if he refuses to buy insurance is a kind of tax that Congress can impose using its taxing power. That is all that matters. Because the mandate survives, the Court did not need to decide what other parts of the statute were constitutional, except for a provision that required states to comply with new eligibility requirements for Medicaid or risk losing their funding. On that question, the Court held that the provision is constitutional as long as states would only lose new funds if they didn’t comply with the new requirements, rather than all of their funding.

–Stephanie Curtis, social media host

  • inuit

    The court has done a wonderful job of making sure that Congress will become heavily Conservative in the coming election, and stay there for the forseeable future.

    Perhaps that was their intention.

  • I’m surprised the mandate was upheld (especially with this supreme court makup). Medicare for all would have been a better approach if it could have been passed and afforded (neither of which is true) but I guess they are sticking with what we have. Not sure it will change the election for the worse for the Dems as the person above stated…at best it will help Dems, at worst it will change nothing.

  • John in NW Suburbs

    Setting the politics aside, this is a good decision, and we need more of the same. We have some of the most expensive health care and poorest outcomes among western nations. We deserve better.

    We next need to tackle the “elephant in the living room,” the outrageous prices we’re all paying for prescription drugs. If Target, Walmart, and Walgreens can make a small profit charging $5 a month for generics, the actual cost of making any drug, generic or under patent, has to be less than that. Therefore, the part of the price that’s above that is profit to the drug manufacturers. We can’t afford in this economy to pay profits like this to the drug companies. If a $2 prescription costs us $200 a month, that’s a 10,000% profit margin! We wouldn’t tolerate that in any other industry.

  • cheryl S

    I am a teacher and belong to Education MN. I allo have a disabled daughter, and have lived in that world for 24 years. Having said all that, one would think that I am a liberal. However I am neither liberal nor conservative but a blend of both ended both independent often as well as Democrats and Republican candidates. My personal experience with the medical assistance program and government provided insurance blend together with my private insurance is that we’ve had through employers leads me to disagree with any type of universal health care especially Obama care. The bureaucratic mess that is pervasive in government programs disgusts me. They expect private care insurance to have 15% profit /admin costs but I would claim based on my personal experience that the governmental wastes, and costs associated with their bureaucratic admin, is what skyrocketing our healthcare costs today. I have seen so much money wasted in the public sector (both in the public schools and in public medical assistance). For 18 years our private insurance combined with supplemental government insurance provided my daughter’s care. We have had minimal problems with our private insurance coverage which varied often from open enrollment year-to-year, while dealing with the public sector insurance has always been troublesome. On top of that the disability services that the state provides has decreased year after year. I cannot understand how the general public can truthfully believe that the government can spend healthcare dollars efficiently. This frightens me and for the first time in my 47 years I am actually scared of the direction of our country. This will bankrupt us. We need to learn from our socialist European counterparts that this will not work. Let’s learn from their mistakes. For the first time in my adult life I will be contributing to a political party and it will not be the Democrats. I have always followed to never give money to Republican or Democrat parties but this year I will give what I can to the Republican Party, not because I’m a Mitt Romney fan, but because this healthcare reform will completely bankrupt our country. We need to listen to what our businesses tell us in regards to this. If they cannot afford it then they cannot afford to keep employees. If everyone takes the penalty because it’s cheaper than the premiums then what happens next? Private instruments will come to a screeching halt and the government will for sure go belly up(just look at Europe).

    While I believe that we should care for sick and elderly, this deliberate attempt at socialism is not the right way. This is not what our country is about. Why can’t the government be the last line of defense and safety net for our sick and elderly and not the first. Let charities do the work they want to do without government interference. But the private industries do what they can do without government insurance first. When all else has failed then let’s have taxpayers and our government step in to make sure that Americans get the healthcare we need.

  • Marlon Griffing

    With, what, 45 million Americans uninsured and the number rising as employer-based insurance recedes, is the country not at least close to the point where all else has failed?

  • Suki Barnstorm

    First of all Cheryl, ObamaCare is NOT universal health care. Your health insurance policy will not change unless you change it on your own. It sounds like you have been taking advantage of government provided health care for a long time. Not to sound crass, but your daughter’s health care needs are one of the causes of the increase in health care costs for everyone. You couldn’t afford to pay the cost for her care on your own, and your private insurance company wouldn’t take on that risk, so you have to have help from the public right? Well, your conservative friends are saying that you should take that risk on your own. Why should my tax dollars pay for your daughter? It is the same argument. This new law is not going to change anything if you have private/employer sponsored coverage. But if you are one of the millions who fall in the cracks of making too much to qualify for Medicaid and can’t afford your employer’s plan, now the insurance companies will be required to create plans that will be affordable. And if you choose not to take that coverage, you will be taxed. Because I don’t care who you are…..someday you will need health care. And if you don’t have insurance, we all pay for you. This will help stop that. So take some time and read about the law before you listed to the right and believe what they say.

  • Pete

    Is anyone else surprised it was Roberts?

  • John Hoffman

    Cheryl, you are screwing yourself and the rest of us by thinking the private sector does a good job with healthcare insurance. When 40 million people in this country go uninsured and individuals pay through the nose or can’t afford it and premiums and co-pays eat a larger and larger share of our paychecks, you can’t tell me the private sector is working. By the way, most of that red tape in the public sector are rules put in place by the GOP to try to kill the programs or discourage people from accessing taxpayer funded care, often used by the working poor who also contribute taxes out of their paycheck. I’m disgusted with your take on being a member of Education Minnesota, meaning you are enjoying the hard fought, but relatively meager benefits of being a union member, yet you would vote for and contribute money to the GOP who very clearly want to undermine every union in the country. Open your eyes a little wider and see past your nose. This is a battle of working class versus the Oligarchy controlling damn near everything in America.

  • John

    For all the people saying “Yes” to the Affordable Health Care act, you’re getting nothing more than a phony marketing gimmick paid for by the health insurance and big Phama lobby industry, which is being funded by Uncle Sam. The government owns the corporations and you are one of the million suckers that continue to believe in this sort of nonsense. Health Care is a billion dollar industry that could give a rat’s beans about you as a patient. You want better health care, try Europe like the UK, France, or Sweden. We really don’t have the best health care in the world—unless you are filthy rich.

  • Jamie

    Thank you, John Hoffman. Cheryl, you have been drinking too much GOP/tea party Kool-Ade – which means you’re believing a lot of hyperbole, mis-characterizations, and downright lies. The Affordable Care Act (ACA) is so NOT anything like socialism. That’s just one of those scary, inflammatory words that the GOP like to use to scare and mislead people. The ACA (“Obamacare”) is based largely on private-sector, profit-making insurance (as Republican ideas for solving our health care problem have often recommended in the past – they just claim to hate it now that it came from Obama). It’s a big giveaway to the insurance industry, which is one of the reasons this liberal does not like the plan. But it IS a plan. At least they’re trying SOMETHING. And it will be tweaked to make it work better over the next several years, if Republicans don’t do too much of their usual obstructing of anything that looks like progress.

    Your experience with public-sector health care doesn’t have anything to do with the ACA. And it doesn’t have anything to do with what a “Medicare-for-All” plan or a single-payer plan would be like, either. State and county health care systems have been squeezed and contrived to the point of near-uselessness by greedy politicians (read: GOP) to punish needy people and discourage them from using it, and to appease their greedy campaign contributors.

    Also Cheryl, “The Government” does spend health care dollars efficiently in a huge, mostly very well-run program called Medicare. There is some expensive fraud perpetrated against Medicare by private companies and individuals, but they’re starting to get a handle on that. Otherwise, Medicare stands as an example of why you’re wrong.

    John: “The government owns the corporations…”

    You’ve got that backwards, John.

  • John

    Dumb dumb dumb….

    About half the peeps in this country are still against this Obamacare debacle, so the 88% in favor result on this website’s poll clearly shows the bias of those trafficking this site and commenting herein.

    Obamacare, ACA, PPACA, whatever you want to call it, is the epitome of crony capitalism. It is the ugly child created when big business (Health Insurers, Big Pharm, etc…) get in bed with big government. Anyone that doesn’t recognize this is either stuck in their sycophantic liberal echo chambers or just plain dumb, probably the latter (Thanks government-monopoly public education system! You served your purpose of dumbing down the population enough to screw them continuously for generations to come.)