‘Obamacare’ Upheld: Chief Justice Roberts Sides with Sotomayor, Breyer, Kagen and Bader Ginsburg
Jaw-dropping news came yesterday when Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts, along with justices Stephen Breyer, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Elena Kagan and Sonia Sotomayor, formed a 5-4 majority upholding the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act, commonly known as ‘Obamacare.’
Beginning in 2014, almost everyone must either be insured or pay a fine under the act, reports NPR . Employers may also be fined if they fail to offer coverage for their employees.
“Now, if you’re one of the 30 million Americans who don’t yet have health insurance, starting in 2014 this law will offer you an array of quality, affordable, private health insurance plans to choose from,” President Obama said in a statement from the White House.
The law should be fully in place by 2016. Projections are that nearly 4 million individuals will be paying the Internal Revenue Service penalty for being uninsured, which would amount to the Congressional Budget Office’s estimate of $695 per uninsured adult (or 2.5 percent of family income). The penalty could add up to $12,500 per year, stated NPR.
Questions have risen on how Chief Justice Roberts reached his conclusion that said penalty is actually a tax, according to a beliefnet blog. It seems, however, an important factor which helped in his decision to uphold the individual mandate and ObamaCare as constitutional.
When the law was before Congress, Obama and Democrats avoided calling its penalty for going uninsured a “tax,” according to NPR. Nevertheless, the Obama Administration told the High Court that the law was constitutional as a federal tax.
The justices rejected two other administration arguments for the law, but did accept the tax line of reasoning.