Supreme Court Finds Individual Mandate In Health Care Act Constitutional

Supreme Court Finds Individual Mandate In Health Care Act Constitutional

WASHINGTON, D.C. - In a sweeping opinion covering four issues addressed over three days of oral argument, the U.S. Supreme Court today found that the Anti-Injunction Act (AIA) does not bar challenges to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), 111 P.L. 148, that the individual mandate contained in the act is constitutional and that the federal government can expand Medicaid but cannot withhold existing funding from the states for noncompliance with the expansion (Department of Health and Human Services, et al. v. State of Florida, et al., No. 11-398, U.S. Sup.; National Federation of Independent Business v. Kathleen Sebelius, et al. No. 11-393; State of Florida, et al. v. Department of Health and Human Services, et al., No. 11-400, U.S. Sup.).  

In a 5-4 opinion, Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. and Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen G. Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan found the individual mandate to be constitutional.  Justices Antonin Scalia, Anthony M. Kennedy, Clarence Thomas and Samuel A. Alito Jr. found the individual mandate to be unconstitutional and nonseverable from the act.   The challenges to the PPACA stem from State of Florida, et al. v. Department of Health and Human Services,  in which the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Florida held that the individual mandate contained in the PPACA is an unconstitutional regulation of commerce and that because the PPACA contains no severance clause, the entire law must fail.  A split 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel affirmed that the individual mandate is unconstitutional but reversed the holding that the provision is not severable from the rest of the act.  The 11th Circuit also affirmed that the act's expansion of Medicaid is constitutional. 

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