"Supreme Court upholds Obamacare individual mandate as a tax"
In a victory for President Obama, the Supreme Court decided to uphold his signature health care law's individual mandate in a 5-4 decision, upending speculation after hostile-seeming oral arguments in March that the justices would overturn the law. The mandate has been upheld as a tax, according to SCOTUSblog, with Chief Justice John Roberts joining the liberal wing of the court. Tom Goldstein of SCOTUSblog says Roberts' vote "saved' the Affordable Care Act. Twenty six states sued over the law, arguing that the individual mandate, which requires people to buy health insurance or face a fine starting in 2014, was unconstitutional. Opponents cast the individual mandate as the government forcing Americans to enter a market and buy a product against their will, while the government countered that the law was actually only regulating a market that everyone is already in, since almost everyone will seek health care at some point in his or her life. House Republicans have vowed to repeal the entire law, though it's unlikely the Democratic-controlled Senate would let that happen, and this decision will most likely slow momentum for that move. Though the sweeping, 1,000-page plus law passed more than two years ago, much of it will not go into effect until 2014. That's when states will have to set up their own health insurance exchanges, Medicaid will be expanded by 16 million low-income people, and Americans will have to buy health insurance (for many, with a government subsidy) or pay a penalty of 1 percent of their income to the IRS. Employers who have more than 50 employees and don't offer insurance will also begin to face a penalty. Insurers will no longer be able to turn away people with preexisting conditions, or charge people higher premiums based on their gender or health. Only about 6 percent of the population will actually be required to buy health insurance or face a tax under the mandate, since most people already have coverage or will get it through Medicare, according to the Urban Institute. Many of the more popular provisions of the law have already gone into effect, including a regulation saying insurers have to let children stay on their parents' plans until they are 26 years old, which 2.5 million Americans have already taken advantage of. Insurers can also no longer turn away children with preexisting conditions, and sick uninsured people can buy coverage in high-risk pools set up by the government. Despite this intentional front-loading of consumer friendly, popular provisions of the law, the American public is pretty evenly split on the law's benefit. Slightly more people wanted the Supreme Court to strike down the law than uphold it in a recent poll.
^ This shows that the Supreme Court isn't unbiased as they are supposed to be. It's pretty sad that they decided to keep the provision that forces Americans to buy health insurance or pay a fine (or tax or whatever you want to call it.) If people could afford health insurance then they would already have it. This is the one aspect of Obamacare that I absolutely hate. If Obama wants all Americans to have health insurance than he should do what most Western country governments do and pay for it - rather than forcing us to. I wonder what people without health insurance in 2014 and with no "real" job (like a family caregiver - which can be a difficult job where you don't get a paycheck) will do. The new law does nothing to help them although since they don't get an income I guess that also means they won't be taxed/fined 1% by the IRS. This doesn't fix health care in the US at all. It merely forces millions of people onto an already strained and decaying system. Usually the rats flee a sinking ship, but Obama is forcing the "rats" onto the sinking ship. Health care should be fixed from the ground-up and then once that's done they can worry about everyone having access to it. ^