As reported by Health Industry Washington Watch, today the Supreme Court ruled that the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) individual health insurance mandate does not violate the Constitution because it may be viewed as a permissible tax on individuals who do not obtain health insurance. The only provision of the law that the Court invalidated is a Medicaid provision that threatened states with the loss of existing Medicaid funding if they decline to comply with the ACA’s Medicaid coverage extension. By preserving the vast majority of the landmark health reform law, the Court avoided the policy chaos that would have resulted from striking down the ACA in its entirety. There is now legal certainty for state and federal governments, health care providers, manufacturers, and individuals. The focus in Washington will return to continuing implementation of the law. While the legal battle is over, however, the political fight will remain, and will likely reverberate through the coming Presidential and Congressional election campaigns.
Reed Smith has been closely covering ACA developments. For more information on today’s ruling, see "Supreme Court Upholds ACA Insurance Mandate, Limits Withholding of Medicaid Funds to States" on the Health Industry Washington Watch blog.