Health Care Reform is (almost 100%) Constitutional; What Next? Kimberly I. McCarthy, Esq.


On June 28, in a 5-4 decision, the Supreme Court decided the first consolidated cases on Health Care Reform. Those cases challenged the constitutionality of two provisions of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act ("PPACA"): namely, the individual mandate and the elimination of all Medicaid funding to states that failed/refused to join the new Medicaid expansion program.

With regard to the individual mandate, many experts believed that it would be held unconstitutional as beyond the scope of the Commerce Clause. The Court held that Congress did not have the Constitutional power under the Commerce Clause to force individuals to purchase health insurance. The Court ruled that “[p]eople, for reasons of their own, often fail to do things that would be good for them or for society”, but that does not “authorize[] Congress to use its commerce power to compel citizens to act as the Government would have them act.”

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