Because of my business interests in the medical/legal community and through our work with government agencies, I was very interested to read as much material as I could about the recent Supreme Court Health Care Ruling.
[NOTE: This is not presented as a political statement but rather to provide factual information on the ruling.]
Lastly, I wanted to know more about Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr., because his defining and delicate role in upholding the health care law will truly and always be associated with his tenure.
You might already know the basics - the court ruled 5 to 4 with Chief Justice Roberts siding with the majority that the mandate is unconstitutional under the commerce clause, but it can stay as part of Congress's power under a taxing clause. The court is allowing the government to tax people for not having health insurance. Why such a landmark ruling with wide-ranging implications? What does it mean to Americans?
"Assessing the constitutionality of a law passed by Congress is the gravest and most delicate duty that this court is called on to perform." - Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr.
Even Chief Justice Roberts doesn't find the tax argument particularly plausible. But he quoted Justice Holmes to explain why it was good enough to uphold the law. "As between two possible interpretations of a statue, by one of which it would be unconstitutional and by the other valid," Justice Holmes wrote, "our plain duty is to adopt that which will save the act."
This ruling affects the 2010 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. This is what this act was trying to accomplish:
- Increase the number of Americans covered by health care
- Decrease the overall cost of health care
- Require most Americans to maintain "minimal essential" health coverage
- Many will receive this coverage through their employers or government programs
- The tax for not having health care is 2.5% of household income, but no less than $695.
- Expands the scope of the Medicaid program
- Increased the number of individuals each State must cover
- Increases Federal Funding to cover states costs in expanding this coverage
The supreme court had a difficult decision to make; there is lots of great information here regarding this historic ruling that will have varying effects on Americans for years to come. I encourage you to read Chief Justice Roberts opinion at www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/11pdf/11-393c3a2.pdf. It will take some time as the document is 139 pages!
Below I list several factual and thought provoking articles that you might also consider reading.
Happy reading; I'd be very interested to hear your opinion of the pros and cons.
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