Today, in a split decision, the United States Supreme Court found the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act’s ‚??individual mandate‚?Ě — a requirement that all Americans purchase health care insurance — constitutional as a tax, not as part of the Commerce Clause.
Obamacare, the centerpiece of Barack Obama‚??s first term, a law the president called the “most important piece of social legislation since the Social Security Act passed in the 1930s and the most important reform of our health care system since Medicare passed in the 1960s,” will now move forward with one of its most vital components in place.
The administration had argued that the mandate was constitutional under the Commerce Clause and the Necessary and Proper Clause. It also claimed that the mandate was Congress’ tax power. The argument convinced the Court‚??s majority.
The ruling appears to be a victory for Democrats, who argued that the constitutionality of forcing Americans to purchase a product in the market was never in real question. The ruling codifies an unprecedented expansion of state power in the United States.
Now, the fight moves back to the political realm. Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney has promised to offer states Obamacare waivers if he is elected and the House GOP has investigated ways to hold back funding. Despite the contention of Democrats, the law did not gain popularity with time and has remained consistently unpopular with the American people. A new AP-GfK poll finds that only around 1/3 of American support the law — with only 21 percent of independents approving.