Supreme Court Upholds Affordable Care Act


[author: Susan J. Freed]


As previously reported the United States Supreme Court upheld the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act  ("ACA") by a 5-4 vote with Justice Roberts joining Justices Ginsburg, Breyer, Sotomayor and Kagan in upholding the individual mandate. The majority upheld the individual mandate on the basis of the federal government's ability to tax its citizens. According to the majority, the shared responsibility payment required of individuals who do not have health insurance is constitutional as a tax as it is not so high that there is no real choice but to purchase insurance, the payment is not limited to willful violations, and the payment is collected solely by the IRS through normal means of taxation. 


The Court also addressed the constitutionality of the ACA's Medicaid expansion provisions which expanded Medicaid coverage to additional populations. With respect to these provisions, the majority found that States cannot be threatened with a loss of their existing Medicaid funds if they decline to comply with the expansion. Although this portion of the ACA is unconstitutional, the majority found the constitutional violation to be fully remedied by precluding HHS from withdrawing existing Medicaid funds for a State's failure to comply with the requirements set forth in the expansion provisions. According to the decision, no other provisions of the ACA are affected.


In summary, the ACA is preserved in its entirety with the limited exception that HHS cannot withhold existing Medicaid funds to States who fail to comply with the ACA's Medicaid expansion provisions. A copy of the Supreme Court's opinion can be accessed at

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

© Davis Brown Law Firm | Attorney Advertising

Written by:


Davis Brown Law Firm on:

Popular Topics
Reporters on Deadline

"My best business intelligence, in one easy email…"

Your first step to building a free, personalized, morning email brief covering pertinent authors and topics on JD Supra:

Sign up to create your digest using LinkedIn*

*By using the service, you signify your acceptance of JD Supra's Privacy Policy.

Already signed up? Log in here

*With LinkedIn, you don't need to create a separate login to manage your free JD Supra account, and we can make suggestions based on your needs and interests. We will not post anything on LinkedIn in your name. Or, sign up using your email address.