Supreme Court Upholds Obama Health Care Act

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Two policemen guard outside the US Supreme Court on the third day of oral arguements over the constitutionality of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act on March 28, 2012 in Washington, DC. (Getty)

Today the Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of various parts of "Obamacare" -- most notably the individual mandate. Live coverage and analysis from:

Plus, your calls and more.


    Avik Roy, Michael Sparer and Todd Zwillich

    Comments [148]


    Do you (or anyone else) have a source for this assertion?

    "Medical bills are already the primary cause of bankruptcy, (not just number one but a majority, approx 62%)."

    Jun. 30 2012 06:47 PM

    Yesterday, in my comment at 10:42AM, I was guessing that Roberts' vote was more a favor for the big for-profit health insurance corporations, but I also wrote:

    "...I wonder what the fine print will show Roberts is saying and perhaps laying the groundwork for: Ways to limit the power of the Federal government to create universal health care...?
    ~~~Jun. 28 2012 10:42 AM"

    After reading and hearing more about the decision, I'm now certain Roberts joined the 4 justices in favor of the Obamacare legislation due to first and foremost his desire to take on Congress's constitutional right to use the Commerce Clause as defined during the New Deal years. That is his first and foremost objective: Undermine the New Deal, wherever and however possible.

    His second objective was, yes, to grant some big corporations a boon, as he views government as a means to assist the profit making ability of entities (aka corporate persons) and the wealthy.

    Third, he wanted to make crystal clear that the mandate was a tax and that aids the Republicans in going after Obama and Democrats this election cycle. This may aid him in getting more justices who think as he does, and then the dismantling of all the great social safety net legislation can begin in earnest. An offshoot of calling the mandate a tax in tandem with his wording about the Commerce Clause is to move any social legislation into the tax increase arena, where the Republicans know how to fight it and have done so successfully. The R's will paint all the enabling legislation for Obamacare as new taxes going forward, even more than they've done already. This will assist them in killing or disabling the actual implementation They've done this with the SEC, the new Dodd-Frank regulations of banks, etc. Not all that new.

    Roberts is not a centrist hero; he is a rightwing tactician and leader in changing how our constitution can be read and used in the future. He also plays a long, long game, putting in wording and laying groundwork for decision to overturn much of what has been done in the last three quarters of the 20th Century.

    Sarcastically, I see him as wanting to take us back to somewhere between pre-Magna Carta and the Gilded Age.

    Not so sarcastically, he absolutely wants none or as little as possible of that real Progressive legislation of the early 20th C. to remain and he wants to drive a wooden stake through the heart of the New Deal and following New Deal inspired legislation.

    Time will tell -- and Roberts has lots of time left on the court.

    Jun. 29 2012 12:36 PM

    Mandating health insurance for all doesn't shift the cost from the govt to the private health system, it justs turns the IRS into their collection agency.

    If taxpayers don't have the choice to refuse your product, then it's not the free market so what excuse is there for your profits?

    "The problem with our health system is that the most resources are spent on the sickest patients of whom pay the least in the healthcare system because of their illnesses."

    If you believe the problem is that the sickest people need the most care and don't pay for it all themselves, I don't see why you'd support any sort of insurance system, it seems an argument for everyone paying out of their own pocket, in which case at least patients wouldn't be wasting their money on insurance company profits.

    Jun. 29 2012 10:36 AM
    RBC from NYC

    @Matt from Cali:

    I'm in the health insurance business. The problem with our health system is that the majority of resources are spent on the sickest patients, of whom pay the least in the healthcare system because of their illnesses. That is the main problem that needs to be solved. This law, albeit flawed, helps alleviate that issue by mandating health insurance for those that aren't covered. By mandating health insurance for all, the cost of care for the uninsured now shifts in part from government to the private health system. That's a HUGE long term cost savings for taxpayers.

    Jun. 28 2012 02:21 PM
    Matt from California

    Until we fix 1)the problem of the first dollar, and 2)highly imperfect market information, none of this is going to matter.

    Jun. 28 2012 01:52 PM
    gebgeb from east coast

    Almost ALL taxes are mandates. If you don't support a war or go to war, you still have to pay for war. Or if you never drive, you still have to pay for bridges. Or use food stamps. And so on.

    We live in a pluralistic society where most benefits are indirect. The mandate issue is a red herring. Now we can focus on the hidden mandates- like employer deductions for health care- which distort the system away from fair, universal and transparent.

    Jun. 28 2012 12:34 PM
    fuva from harlemworld

    Good idea for Obama to use his comments today to not only comment on the decision, but to clarify the effects of the law. Coupla things, though: He should have more directly addressed the "imposing on freedom" so-called argument. And he should have given Hillary dap* for having the foresight and/or courage to advocate for her mandate during the 2008 primaries.
    (*dap= recognition)

    Jun. 28 2012 12:24 PM

    the people who make seatbelts make money

    Jun. 28 2012 12:22 PM

    What what?

    Did Obama just say Romney is basically full of shat? He's striking down his lies!

    Jun. 28 2012 12:18 PM
    Elliott from Kips Bay, Manhattan

    I just listened to Mitt Romney's statement and I don't understand half of it as usual.

    I still don't understand why Romney won't defend his own healthcare law in Massachusetts? In fact, why doesn't Romney run on anything from his record as governor of Massachusetts? This puzzles me to no end. Isn't "Obamacare" just like "Romneycare"?

    Jun. 28 2012 12:07 PM


    Don't forget they get a pretty sweet tax deduction as well. And the fact that it's not included in employee income means middle class employees with company provided insurance are getting a pretty sweet hidden tax deduction, (one of the Simpson-Bowles covered items).

    Jun. 28 2012 12:06 PM
    Larry from Brooklyn

    I am sick of the rhetoric from the right (e.g. the speech just given by Romney). How can they say that choice is being taken away from Americans? I know NO ONE who has choice in insurance. Most of us have to take what our employers give us or NOTHING (so I suppose that is a choice of sorts). I suppose the rich have choices in policies.

    Furthermore, insurance companies are (and will remain) "between us and our doctors" so there is no government moving into a relationship between us. The dems have to get on this- they have to not allow the republicans to spin this in this outrageously inaccurate way. The democrats always seem to let this go on, to be ununified, to be victims of republican lock-step spin. They will lose if they don't take control of the debate.

    Jun. 28 2012 12:04 PM

    Can Romney please explain how 20 million people are going to lose the coverage they want because of this bill???

    Jun. 28 2012 12:03 PM

    Romney will repeal Obamacare because he claims it cuts Medicare?

    Will he also publicly withdraw his support from the Paul Ryan plan because it cuts Medicare?

    Jun. 28 2012 12:01 PM

    @Carol Morisco:

    Employers don't have to pay for health insurance. But they offer it because (1)its an addition to the employees compensation package (2)better health care packages attract the best employees to their firms (3)it helps keep employees healthy and maintain productivity

    Jun. 28 2012 11:59 AM
    rose from long island

    I just heard Romney's comment. I hope someone fact checks his comments; it seems there were a lot of errors. Romney: what a waste of talent.

    Jun. 28 2012 11:58 AM

    Buckling your seat belt doesn't cost you any money, and no one makes a profit from it.

    Jun. 28 2012 11:57 AM
    A dude

    Romney is such a robot. Everything he's saying sounds like rhetoric and lies. Right now he's rambling through talking points, vague nonsense.

    What a despicable creature.

    Jun. 28 2012 11:57 AM

    Wait, I thought Repubs love cuts! Especially on entitlements!
    Pure scare tactics on Romney's part. Scare tactics, and hypocrisy. Shameful!

    Jun. 28 2012 11:57 AM
    Sheldon from Brooklyn

    Again LadyJay - those are not private products...

    Jun. 28 2012 11:53 AM
    Maria from Long Island

    What if U.S. health care was made not-for-profit as in other countries?

    Jun. 28 2012 11:52 AM
    Karen from NYC

    "The switch in time that saved nine" -- and 300 million other Americans as well.

    Jun. 28 2012 11:50 AM

    Hey Brian,

    Government does indeed penalize you if you don't do something.

    If you don't file your taxes by April 15, you pay a penalty.

    If you don't buckle your seatbelt, you pay a penalty.

    Jun. 28 2012 11:48 AM
    Paul from New York

    You, and every other media personality, keep calling this a "victory" for Obama. I wouldn't be so sure about that. Remember what happened in the election following the passage of this law?

    Jun. 28 2012 11:47 AM
    fuva from harlemworld

    Justice Roberts is playingt chess here. Nevertheless, Republican governors are now on the spot: They can now refuse to particpate in Obamacare, correct? Will they?

    Jun. 28 2012 11:43 AM
    Sheldon from Brooklyn

    VLB - Your points are well taken: That's why we could have done the same as we already do with other "social contracts" Police, Fire, Defense etc. by having a public health option...

    Jun. 28 2012 11:41 AM
    Randi from Brooklyn

    To all those that are distinguishing this law and Social Security because Social Security is (obviously) not run by corporations, unlike health care which will mandate everyone to be covered via private insurance:

    We are already paying private insurance companies to cover citizens: Its called Medicaid and Medicare. These two programs are administered by private insurance companies all over the country.

    Jun. 28 2012 11:41 AM

    @David from Fredericksburg

    I agree: the government should do more to control educational costs. How's about the government pays for your medical education if you commit 10 years or something to working for a single payer public option?

    I agree this wasn't a great bill in the end, it should've had a public option but instead it turned out to be a handout for insurance companies. But continuing to do nothing and maintaining a system that is great for insurance co and pharmaceutical co profits and mediocre for patients and doctors isn't a plan either.

    The only serious plan to come out of the right is: obstruct and repeal.

    Jun. 28 2012 11:41 AM
    Randi from Brooklyn

    @D From Brooklyn:

    It won't make the poor poorer as most of those people are on Medicaid and more low income people will be on Medicaid as its expanded because of this law. The problem is actually going to be middle income people who don't have any insurance.

    You can see how this has played out in Massachusetts. Middle income people who are not insured are paying the penalty, but they'd rather pay the penalty than pay insurance they can't afford since the penalty is much cheaper.

    Jun. 28 2012 11:36 AM
    Sheldon from Brooklyn

    Mark - social security is NOT a private product. Thank you

    Jun. 28 2012 11:36 AM

    Social Security dollars don't include a corporate tithe.

    Jun. 28 2012 11:36 AM
    David from Fredericksburg, VA

    @ Mark from Dobbs Ferry

    Social Security taxes don't get paid to a private (& for profit) company.

    Jun. 28 2012 11:36 AM
    VLB from manhattan

    What about the social contract we have as a society? It doesn't seem to come up in this argument but I think it is important. We all bear the burden when someone decides to not have health insurance and goes to the emergency room for their care. We all pay taxes to have a certain quality of life that is what makes (or did) the US great. the government funds public education, security, roads, libraries, arts, etc. We could end up like Pakistan where the rich pay for these things just for themselves and everyone is left out in the cold without any services.

    Jun. 28 2012 11:36 AM
    Don J Brancaccio from NYC

    I disagree with the idea that we are being taxed into submission by the ACA. I see it as a tax credit for people who buy health insurance. If you choose not to buy insurance then you are not entiltled to the tax credit and your taxes are higher than someone who does buy insurance. How is this different than a tax credit for installing solar panels? Am I being compelled to install solar panels because I don't qualify for the tax credit? Am I less "free"? I don't think so.

    Jun. 28 2012 11:35 AM
    Ben Rosenthal from Brooklyn

    Regarding the tax issue, makes more sense if you look at it in reverse:

    EVERYONE is taxed. If you buy insurance, you get an exemption.

    Question is, where do the tax dollars go? directly to health care, or mixed in with all the other taxes the fed collects?

    Jun. 28 2012 11:34 AM

    This decision is the culmination of a huge charade: the Republicans are really delighted by this policy passing - they effectively designed it, so why shouldn't they? Everything else, all of the opposition and abuse, has been just bluster for the base. Progressives are the only ones who should be infuriated by this law; it forces people to buy insurance from companies that have consistently be shown to break the law and bilk government of millions of Medicare and Medicaid dollars. The word corruption is now synonymous with business in this country today and we have truly returned to the nineteenth century. Still, given the lack of interest in the environment and science, we'll be lucky if we make it to mid-century anyway.

    To be shocked by Roberts' decision is ridiculous. If this law was knocked down, SCOTUS would have been under intense scrutiny and the major target of Progressives, and just like campaign financing, no one wants a spotlight analysing the real power brokers in this "democracy' - unelected rich white guys.

    And now everyone's talking about taxes and "freedom" - what a farce. But fair dues - the Republicans deserve a round of applause for this manipulation. Well played.

    Jun. 28 2012 11:34 AM


    Absolutely. This is at least a two-fer. The court approves of the Federal govt forcing an individual to pay a corporate tax, but can't tell the states what to do with Federal taxes.

    Jun. 28 2012 11:33 AM
    carol morisco

    Are we not already mandated to have car insurance. How about school taxes to offer free education to all of our children.

    I'm not sure - do employers have to "pay" for health insurance or just offer it.

    Jun. 28 2012 11:33 AM
    Anna from New York, NY

    Examples of taxes for not doing something? Plenty of examples: pretty much any deduction or tax credit you don't qualify for. Don't have a mortgage? Don't have student loans? You pay more in taxes at the end of the year because you didn't choose to enter into those commercial transactions.

    Jun. 28 2012 11:32 AM
    Mark from Dobbs Ferry

    For all the whining about how wrong it is to mandate the purchase of insurance, we are all also required to pay into Social Security, a pretty-well established practice. How is that different?

    Jun. 28 2012 11:32 AM
    Sheldon from Brooklyn

    Well said caller. The feds can now "tax" you for NOT buying a private product...

    Jun. 28 2012 11:30 AM
    D from Bklyn

    Maybe I'm not understanding this completely but wont this make the poor poorer? No health insurance PLUS paying a tax PLUS potentially paying out-out-of-pocket EQUALS less money.

    Jun. 28 2012 11:26 AM
    Paul from New York

    Anyone else read the part of the opinion where Roberts limited the commerce clause? It appears he swooped under the noses of most and severely limited the power of the federal government to regulate commerce without calling it a tax. This means, it would be much much harder, or near impossible, to pass a bill like Obamacare or even a future reform for universal healthcare.

    Jun. 28 2012 11:24 AM
    A dude with a job

    McConnell said republicans will replace the law with something better, something that truly addresses...blah, blah, blah.

    When will the republicans get around to telling us exactly what those plans are?

    Here's the thing about President Obama...he moved the ball forward. This law probably isn't perfect, but he ACTUALLY GOT SOMETHING DONE.

    All the republicans have to hang their hat on is to say this is a tax. It seems to me the truth is far more complex and, as usual, republicans resort to rhetoric rather than real information. I'm sure they expected the law to fall and then they would have strutted like roosters.

    Jun. 28 2012 11:23 AM
    David from Fredericksburg, VA

    @ meatwnyc

    And what are the educational costs for Canadian & European doctors?

    What about liability costs?

    The US is a completely different environment. I'm not saying we don't have a problem with out of control costs - I'm just saying this won't fix it.

    Jun. 28 2012 11:23 AM

    I'm not surprised it was Roberts. He's the Number One corporatist on the court.

    Insurance companies ADORE the mandate, which is now set in stone and all the alleged consumer benefits can be whittled away at year after year.

    Jun. 28 2012 11:22 AM
    jeff yalan from Brooklyn

    I have mixed feelings about this decision. I am a vociferous advocate of single payer health care, but my misgiving on this law is the following:
    Can the government compel us to purchase services from a PRIVATE company as opposed to a national governmental program? And what guarantees do we have that these private/public? company policies will not be able to price-gouge all of us with impunity now that we are mandated to them?

    Jun. 28 2012 11:20 AM
    Lea from Brooklyn

    What will happen to the privately-funded programs that help out the uninsured, like discounts at Planned Parenthood or some pharmacies?

    Jun. 28 2012 11:17 AM

    @Kathy from Clifton NJ - You make a good question. However, you can go to the Hospital and get treated, but you will not get the treatment you would get if you had health insurance. Expecting that this law makes health insurance affordable for middle class people, I would expect that these people will opt for good health care against the long lines of mediocre healthcare.

    Jun. 28 2012 11:17 AM
    David from Fredericksburg, VA

    @ jawbone

    Do you have ANY idea how many dirtbags are driving new cars, drinking Starbucks lattes & wearing designer clothes/sunglasses/purses and whine they can't afford insurance?!

    I have to purchase my own health insurance & I think it's BS that deadbeats can get uninsured health care and then skip out on the bill.

    Of course, the truly destitute shouldn't be penalized, but there is a LARGE portion of the uninsured are just deadbeats.

    Jun. 28 2012 11:16 AM
    Nicola from Riverdale, NY

    It is obvious now that President Obama is one of the greatest presidents in U.S. History. Today's decision is as important as Plessy v. Ferguson, Brown v. Board of Ed. and Bush v. Gore. We are on the other side of a crossroads economically, politcally and socially that began with the Lehman brothers collapse in 2008.

    The GOP internal memo said "Do not spike the ball" At this point the GOP is eating the ball!

    Jun. 28 2012 11:16 AM
    Sheldon from Brooklyn

    Well said Estelle. Obamacare = Timid, neo liberalism at its worst.

    We should have had single-payer....

    Jun. 28 2012 11:15 AM

    "The hospital loses MILLIONS each year with Medicare (Which causes private insurance to be more expensive - the hospital has to make up the medicare, medicaid and self-pay (read no-pay) patient losses with the rest of the patients."

    Then best to make up the losses without the additional burden of the parasitical insurance company middle-men.

    Jun. 28 2012 11:15 AM
    dr dave from Sad Ville

    Health insurance is the opposite of health care. This is a HUGE windfall for the for profit insurance lobby (who write the actual bill). They are awfully quiet these days. Billions in profits for them... and every dollar is out of the pocket of a working desperate American with no "public option" as an alternative.

    This is health care blackmail or extortion on a national level. National not for profit health care would have solved ALL of these problems without the mess and without another 700 billion dollar corporate give away.

    ALl you media news people are so very disappointing. For example, does the phrase "rising health care costs" INCLUDE corporate profits, Billions in advertising costs, outrageous salaries and profit dividends?

    Can private "insurance" corporations change ANY of the rules to their liking over the years? Like what they will or won't cover? What the will or won't pay out? ANd thousands of other rules they make up in their favor at will? Yes they can.

    "Health Insurance" does not insure anyone's health. It is a FINANCIAL instrument that protects your assets! Not your health.

    There are 1000's of economic / moral problems with the social disaster / abomination you call "health insurance" or "coverage" .

    This is another GIANT corporate give away. America needs NOT FOR PROFIT Health Care for ALL! Like every other country in the world . So called Health insurance is a GIANT scam / ripoff and has NO reason to even exist in this century. I pray one day NO American will have "insurance" and ALL Americans will have fair and equitable health care.

    What happened to the public option?

    Jun. 28 2012 11:13 AM

    Medical bills are already the primary cause of bankruptcy, (not just number one but a majority, approx 62%).

    Jun. 28 2012 11:11 AM
    Karen from NYC

    Surprised, thrilled, and think that Kagan, Breyer and Ginsberg won over Roberts. Kennedy was already a lost cause. Ginsberg and Breyer both commented during oral argument on the broad powers of the feds under the tax clause, and Roberts agreed. They must have seen an opening and pursued that opening.

    Jun. 28 2012 11:11 AM
    RBC from NYc

    "Thus, 3 &1/2 years later, we have had the poorest recovery in modern history and are still stuck with 1.9% GDP growth and 8.2% unemployment (15% underemployment)." - Martin Chuzzlewit

    Wrong. The Great Depression started in 1930 and the unemployment rate was 8%. In 1940 the unemployment rate was 15%. The unemployment rate in that decade averaged 18.5% The lowest unemployment rates recorded during that decade was 15% - in 1931, 1937 and 1940. It took a war for the Depression to end. I think we're doing much better.

    Jun. 28 2012 11:10 AM

    @David from Fredericksburg

    And yet all my Canadian and European friends and colleagues love their health care systems, regardless of what the Fox rhetoric tries to suggest.

    Jun. 28 2012 11:07 AM

    Re: the 20% cap on profit and administrative costs -- This is where lobbyists will earn their money for the Big For-Profit Health Insurance Companies, by influencing the regulators to write regulations which benefit the bottom line of the insurers.

    And, given the level of regulatory capture in this country, the insurers should come out of this in great shape. They'll be in clover, for a few years at least. Until their greed leads to more and more people above the Medicaid level to have to make do with junk insurance so bad using it for anything serious will put them into bankruptcy. Or worse, if medical bills can't be discharged in bankruptcy.

    (Nice touch, that, David from Fredericksburg, VA @ 10:42:
    Better start up Soylent Green for us to be able to make a donation to society when we commit suicide due to overwhelming medical bills. Debtors' prisons are so passe and don't result in any profit except for the owners of the prisons.)

    Jun. 28 2012 11:07 AM
    David from Fredericksburg, VA

    @ meatwnyc

    Re: public option - see my response to Estelle - medicare for all.

    Jun. 28 2012 11:02 AM

    Awesome-21stc enlightened european style democracy is a coming to the USA!Step aside you right wing- if you're rich you must be good, pull yourself up by your own bootstraps brainwashed by hyper capitlism and puritanism.You're on the wrong side of history.

    Jun. 28 2012 11:01 AM

    Now we just need a public option!!! (A revenue neutral one, paid fully by premiums - but it will be not-for-profit).

    Jun. 28 2012 11:00 AM
    Burtnor from Manhattan

    Interesting that Linda Greenhouse at NYT so often gets it right -- she is by far the most astute SCOTUS observer and analyst. See her NYT column of 6/27/12, titled "D-Day," with the insight that Roberts seems to have more respect for legislative action than expected -- so not surprising to her that Roberts voted with the liberals.

    Jun. 28 2012 10:59 AM
    David from Fredericksburg, VA

    @ Estelle

    If we went to a Medicare for all system - good luck getting a timely appointment. There's already a shortage of primary care providers, all Medicare would lead to a general shortage.

    I work for an Orthopedic practice - we don't take medicare, it just doesn't cover the cost of care (forget about any pay for the Dr.)

    The hospital here loses MILLIONS each year with medicare. (Which causes private insurance to be more expensive - the hospital has to make up the medicare, medicaid & self-pay(read no-pay) patient losses with the rest of the patients)

    Jun. 28 2012 10:58 AM

    "All they can't do is penalize states which refuse to participate in Medicaid expansion."

    This is the VERY REASON some very disappointed and skeptical liberals were persuaded to support this bill!

    Jun. 28 2012 10:58 AM
    Kathy from Clifton NJ

    Question: If you elect not to buy health ins and and are taxed, and pay tax do you get free med care? Or are you punished by not getting health care. It seems anyone can walk into a hospital if they are sick & be treated. I realize this is not the best, but it seems confusing.

    Jun. 28 2012 10:57 AM


    The health mandate also says insurance companies have to spend 80% of the insurance fees on health care, and only 20% on profits and administration. It's already been reported that significant rebates are coming as a result of this. In that sense one could say Obama cut taxes for the middle class. Also right now a lot of uninsured people get treatment in Emergency Rooms, which inflates the cost for everyone else and is already a form of hidden taxes.

    But the tax thing is all how you look at it anyway. One can argue that when Bush passed two large UNFUNDED tax cuts, therefore funding them with deficits, he passed a tax increase on future generations.

    Jun. 28 2012 10:54 AM
    Rachel from Harlem

    I think it's important to consider how the promise of employment has changed for this generation of young workers when discussing how young adults will choose to engage with the individual mandate. As more and more of my 20-something contemporaries experience untraditional employment trajectories, self-employment, frequent transitions between employers or industries, for example, the ability to untangle healthcare from employment, I believe will be very apprealing an attractive to young adults, and not something they will seek to side-step.

    Jun. 28 2012 10:52 AM
    Robert from NYC

    And think of it, you're employing lots of government, yes government, employees--hundreds? thousand?--instead of a handful of billionaires. Just stop and think folks.

    Jun. 28 2012 10:51 AM
    joe from nearby

    Here's the 600 pound gorilla that was in the room before 10 a.m. today-- we were all paying for the uninsured one way or another anyway.
    Might as well manage it better.

    Jun. 28 2012 10:50 AM
    bernie from bklyn

    another sad day in a long string of sad days recently....this country is really turning into a place that's so far away from what it should and can be. this law is a ridiculous, shallow, meaningless gift to insurance companies under the guise of increasing the social good. this is bad for our society and great for big business.
    why are liberals so easily tricked and persuaded by anything obama does?
    single payer is the ONLY way. it has to be all or nothing regarding this issue.

    Jun. 28 2012 10:49 AM

    I have mixed feelings. In the back of my mind I hoped it would be struck down so that we would be forced to create a Medicare-for-all system. However, I also realized this might have been unlikely in my lifetime. So, I suppose I am relieved.

    Jun. 28 2012 10:49 AM
    Jodel from Union Square

    When do the extreme conservatives start burning effigies of Justice Roberts?

    Jun. 28 2012 10:49 AM
    Robert from NYC

    And that's the point. These people who are against paying a somewhat small increase in taxes for a general Medicare like comprehensive for all coverage, they'd rather pay huge amounts of money to health insurance companies CEOs and their co-upper management team and keep them multi-millionaires and billionaires. Don't people think!! Think of it $700 annual tax (maybe less) for total comprehensive health care or$5000 and more likely $10,000 pre annum to a limited coverage by a health insurer who pays the greater part of the money to their upper management "team". Not a hard choice.

    Jun. 28 2012 10:49 AM
    Sara from NYC

    Since undocumented immigrants are barred from federally funded Medicaid, and are barred from participating even with their own funds in the ACA private healthcare exchanges, does the individual mandate apply to them? What will their options for affordable care be?

    Jun. 28 2012 10:48 AM
    melanie from branford, ct

    DId you see that the incorrect statement re being allowed not to pay the tax arouse from a SCOTUS Blog.
    Tom's comment - Tom: Apologies - you can't refuse to pay the tax; typo. The only effect of not complying with the mandate is that you pay the tax.

    Jun. 28 2012 10:47 AM

    The insurance company kick-back has been preserved, and the Medicaid enforcement has been weakened.

    What a pathetic state liberalism has fallen into that this jerry-rigged corporatist bail-out is considered a victory.

    Jun. 28 2012 10:47 AM
    Francisco from LA

    Great news!!!! We have to start somewhere.

    Jun. 28 2012 10:47 AM
    jgarbuz from Queens

    I knew a guy on welfare in Israel who accidentally or chose not pay the minimal Sick Fund payment for a while, and when he ended up in a hospital, and didn't have the $1000 dollars they demanded he pay, he ended up in jail. There is still debtor's prison in Israel for people who won't pay their debts or child support payments. He actually phoned me in the US and begged me to send him the money to bail him out, and I've see that money again.

    In this new scheme, if you don't pay, you'll have to pay a bigger fine eventually, but we don't have debtor's prison. But we do have credit scores than can cripple your ability to buy anything without cash.

    Jun. 28 2012 10:46 AM

    Why go to Twitter?

    Jun. 28 2012 10:46 AM

    Will the income-based subsidy appear as a discount on a family's monthly premium? Or is it a yearly tax rebate that a family has to wait until tax time to actually get?

    Jun. 28 2012 10:45 AM

    Smokey from LES:

    I think they're still getting their money's worth...the insurance companies are gaining 18 million plus customers.

    Jun. 28 2012 10:44 AM
    David from Fredericksburg, VA

    I still think a better approach is to make medical charges non-dischargeable in bankruptcy, if the patient doesn't have insurance.

    Jun. 28 2012 10:42 AM

    Roberts, possibly, was swayed more by his support of corporations: The mandate was long term tactic by the big for-profit health insurance companies to allow them to continue in business making big profits. Without the mandate more and more people would be opting out. More and more people were uninsured and pressure was increasing for universal health care.

    The big insurers had begun to price themselves out of the market of many Americans, and this was before 2008's Big Sh$t Piles meltdown broke the underlying support for the middle class in this nation. Now, even more people will find decent health insurance dificult to afford, but they will have to buy something, probably junk insurance.

    However, I wonder what the fine print will show Roberts is saying and perhaps laying the groundwork for: Ways to limit the power of the Federal government to create universal health care...?


    Jun. 28 2012 10:42 AM
    clark from nj

    I'm shocked that this court upheld the law.
    BUT I'm sooo pleased.
    I love broccoli ;>

    Jun. 28 2012 10:41 AM
    Robert from NYC

    BTW, Paul Krugman agrees with me that's this is a depression NOT a recession. It's not (so far-my word) as large as the Great Depression but he believes it is a depression and I called that long before he admitted it. There are other economists who agree with him.

    Jun. 28 2012 10:40 AM

    Obama said he would not raise taxes on the Middle Class... SCOTUS says its a tax.

    Jun. 28 2012 10:40 AM
    Edward from NJ

    The federal government uses the tax code to penalize behavior all the time. We just tend to think of it as rewarding the opposite behavior. Don't have kids? Tax penalty! Don't have a mortgage? Tax penalty!

    Jun. 28 2012 10:40 AM

    and my point is the court just said the feds can't do that

    Jun. 28 2012 10:39 AM
    jgarbuz from Queens

    To hjs

    I don't personally remember, because I was living in Israel during most of the 1980s. But the Federal gov't has the right to reduce or take away any funds it gives to the states. Who gives the money makes the law, most of the time. Money RULES :) Wish I had some.

    Jun. 28 2012 10:38 AM

    Martin: looks like the President knows his Constitution after all! So what does this mean? Perhaps that the Republicans in Congress spent the last 2 years fighting health legislation when they should've instead been focusing their attention on the economic crisis and initiating steps for recovery.

    Although I also have to agree with you that there was too long in the beginning spent on getting this passed. It should've just been passed in it's original form with a public option and without all the handouts for insurance companies that were stuck in by the GOP and the health care lobby. (Of course, that was dragged out by the Right as well, I think Obama was expecting to pass it quick and move on).

    Jun. 28 2012 10:38 AM
    David from UWS

    scotusblog issued a correction about refusing the mandate and paying a tax

    from scotusblog

    Apologies - you can't refuse to pay the tax; typo. The only effect of not complying with the mandate is that you pay the tax.

    Jun. 28 2012 10:38 AM

    Get ready - our premiums are all going to go up.

    Jun. 28 2012 10:38 AM
    Scott from Lower Manhattan

    Regarding this quote from SCOTUSblog "The court reinforces that individuals can simply refuse to pay the tax and not comply with the mandate."

    There was a subsequent post: "Apologies - you can't refuse to pay the tax; typo. The only effect of not complying with the mandate is that you pay the tax."

    Jun. 28 2012 10:37 AM

    Martin Chuzzlewit

    Jun. 28 2012 10:37 AM
    Ken Rosenberg

    SCOTUSblog corrects itself later on, calling it a typo -- you can't just refuse to pay the tax.

    Jun. 28 2012 10:37 AM
    Nick from UWS

    Thank you for beautifully broadcasting this huge moment in our history Brian.

    Jun. 28 2012 10:37 AM

    Yes, hjs, the inability to penalize states by withholding funds contradicts Supreme Court precedent. They found it okay for Reagan to withhold highway funds to states that didn't raise the drinking age to 21. And states have plenary power over regulation of alcohol, so this is an extreme diversion from precedent.

    Jun. 28 2012 10:36 AM

    This this SCOTUS blog clarification answers question Brian just asked:

    Apologies - you can't refuse to pay the tax; typo. The only effect of not complying with the mandate is that you pay the tax."

    Jun. 28 2012 10:36 AM
    Robert from NYC

    CNN ALWAYS screws up or doe so very often. It's a gimmick with them to capture an audience. And why Brian always cozies up to CNN is beyond my comprehension. YOU"RE WNYC stay independent, people pay you out of their own pockets to do that and you snuggle up to CNN. If you want to go to CNN permanently (as you have previously participated on CNN as we all know) then go there permanently. Don't do CNN's corporate dirty work for them while your "supporters" are paying for independent reporting out of their own pockets in this depression, these hard times.

    Jun. 28 2012 10:36 AM

    Brian -- if you scroll down they corrected that. It was a typo. Eveyone must pay the mandate as a tax,

    Jun. 28 2012 10:36 AM
    Peter from Brooklyn

    Re: not paying the tax. Keep reading the SCOTUS blog, that is a mistake.

    Jun. 28 2012 10:36 AM

    didn't that thing about choosing not to pay the tax get corrected as a typo on scotusblog?

    Jun. 28 2012 10:35 AM
    Edward from NJ

    Since it's a tax, the Republican's can now accuse Obama of raising taxes. ;-)

    Jun. 28 2012 10:35 AM
    Martin Chuzzlewit from Manhattan

    Oh, now we have both an expensive new bill that we can't afford AND a lousy economy that won't generate the revenues to support it.

    This won't turn out well.

    Jun. 28 2012 10:35 AM

    Didn’t the federal government (Reagan?) penalize the states that refused to raise the drinking age by threatening to take away highway funds?

    jgarbuz you'll see. dinosaurs should retire

    Jun. 28 2012 10:33 AM
    joe from nearby

    There was a conservative judge who upheld the law on appeal, remember?

    Seems like the SCOTUS gave him a lot of respect.

    Jun. 28 2012 10:33 AM
    Paul from New York

    Question for the experts - If the mandate is a tax, then how can the Supreme Court rule on it? I was under the impression that a tax cannot be disputed until it is applied. Is this ruling possibly setting up another court ruling after 2015?

    Jun. 28 2012 10:33 AM
    jgarbuz from Queens

    To john from Office

    No, health care for the poor, like public education for the poor, is mandated charity. The rich, educated, and healthy are mandated to pay for the poor. The only question is, how much?

    Jun. 28 2012 10:33 AM

    I'll take a raincheck on the invitation to react - one would want to read the decision first.

    Jun. 28 2012 10:32 AM
    Smokey from LES

    Will Republicans now impeach Roberts? They didn't get their money's worth out of him!

    Jun. 28 2012 10:31 AM
    DeeM from Brooklyn

    Ruling on it as a tax is totally appropriate. It assuages concerns on the commerce clause and I think the Supreme Court did a good job keeping things sane.

    Jun. 28 2012 10:30 AM
    Peter from Washington Heights

    Brian: While listening to your live announcement of the SCOTUS ruling on ACA, I was looking at CNN's Web site and they led with the banner headline "SUPREME COURT STRIKES DOWN INDIVIDUAL MANDATE". Needless to say I was confused. They kept up that erroneous headline for a few minutes.

    It's like "DEWEY DEFEATS TRUMAN" all over again!

    Jun. 28 2012 10:30 AM

    Perhaps now, the Obama administration and Dems will speak out more specifically as to what is actually in the law and how it will affect everyone. One can only hope.

    Jun. 28 2012 10:30 AM
    jgarbuz from Queens

    to hsj11211

    No, WE CAN'T :)

    Jun. 28 2012 10:28 AM
    john from office

    Four more years!!!! Embrace OBAMACARE because health care is a right.

    Jun. 28 2012 10:28 AM

    Martin Chuzzlewit from Manhattan

    where are u now? what do u think about the court?

    Jun. 28 2012 10:28 AM
    David from UWS

    This still could energize the liberal base even though obamacare won, because the whole process here has woken up many people into seeing how fragile things are in the country and on the supreme court - had it been a slam dunk, people would go back to sleep and take things for granted, but they might care more about things now.

    Jun. 28 2012 10:26 AM

    This reported Tom just said that this has "solved one" of the biggest problems in our country, which I don't think is entirely true. I think this is just a step in the right direction. The Republicans will fight against it while it is implemented and in the long run some things may change, for better, but to solve the issue of health care, there much much more to do.

    Jun. 28 2012 10:25 AM

    turn off the lights, the show is closing.

    Jun. 28 2012 10:24 AM

    @Stephen from prospect heights - I don't know, but I think they tend to do this a little too much. Its been looking a bit too outsourced for me in the past years, so I have stopped watching it almost 100% for its inaccuracy and some epic fails sometimes

    Jun. 28 2012 10:23 AM

    So the broccoli argument was a red herring. And all the pre-decision punditry was mostly hot air. Who could have predicted that Roberts would be the swing vote. But I agree he saved the reputation of the Supreme Court.

    Jun. 28 2012 10:22 AM

    it's over...

    Jun. 28 2012 10:20 AM
    Sheldon from Brooklyn

    Yeah CNN said the mandate was struck down but Fox of all people, are saying it was upheld....and we all know that they are "fair and balanced"

    Jun. 28 2012 10:20 AM
    John A

    Feel the "hope" flowing back into my body after months of dread.
    Seems as important to me as that scene in the apocalyptic science fiction film: Dual headlines "Earth saved" "Earth doomed", with everyone waiting for the answer.
    Will Download this segment as a memento.

    Jun. 28 2012 10:18 AM
    alistair from inwood

    cnn had a headline that the mandate was struck down! guess they didn't bother to read the opinion!

    Jun. 28 2012 10:18 AM
    Nick from UWS

    Brian, please confirm, as CNN is reporting that the mandate was struck down!

    Jun. 28 2012 10:17 AM
    Stephen from prospect heights

    Why is CNN reporting that Mandate is struck down and deemed unconstitutional?

    Jun. 28 2012 10:17 AM
    THe Truth from Becky

    Good news!! Re-elect President Obama!!

    Jun. 28 2012 10:16 AM

    @Martin Chuzzlewit from Manhattan - I think it is pretty unbelievable that people like you forget who got in this mess. Non of our Presidents have been the best, but at least in Clinton's time we had a surplus, and all of the sudden people forget about the "patriotism" that took us into war and the greed that has taken us to debt, but it is somehow Obama's fault. Haha! I cannot wait to see what people write about in History books about this. People are okay getting free stuff, but oh no!! pay for my health care... no can you "make me" take care of no

    Jun. 28 2012 10:16 AM
    BK from Hoboken

    Where is the conservative outcry about an activist supreme court?!?!

    Jun. 28 2012 10:16 AM
    Nick from UWS

    This is a historic moment, absolutely.

    Jun. 28 2012 10:15 AM

    To Martin:

    Actually, it proves that unlike his critics the President is capable of multi-tasking. The President came in with the economy and country driving full speed over a cliff and managed to veer us off that course.

    Also, this recovery shouldn't be compared to small recessions but to the Depression instead. On that comparison I think this recovery is doing great. But let's go with your comparison anyway, cause you need a fact check. Private employment numbers are actually recovering better right now than the last two recessions during the Bush terms. The employment problem this time is being created by massive layoffs in the public sector.

    Jun. 28 2012 10:14 AM
    Nick from UWS

    On hindsight this seems somewhat predictable as Obama has been strangely calm during the past few weeks during this ruling process. No hysterical campaigning in support of the mandate.

    Jun. 28 2012 10:14 AM
    MSNY from NYC

    CNN is reporting that the mandate was struck down.

    Jun. 28 2012 10:14 AM
    Roddy from Long Island

    CNN iPad app just reported that mandate was struck down...??

    Jun. 28 2012 10:13 AM
    Catherine from Brooklyn

    Upheld? Just outstanding!
    What is good for our seniors is good for all.
    Small business thrives. Families will.
    And fair commerce in our markets will endure.
    The right and extraordinary decision indeed!
    Thank you Brian for your delivery of this very good news!

    Jun. 28 2012 10:13 AM


    Jun. 28 2012 10:13 AM
    Sheldon from Brooklyn

    If Obamacare is struck down, I will shed no tears. This well meaning, ostensibly liberal bill is really a Republican one in disguise.

    It's every republican's wet dream for Govt to mandate Americans to buy a product from a politically connected private corporation - ask Rick Perry.

    Republicans and "conservatives" hate this bill because they hate Obama. Thank God

    Jun. 28 2012 10:12 AM
    amalgam from NYC by day, NJ by night

    @ Joe - Another naile in the coffin of what? Broccoli is good for you.

    Jun. 28 2012 10:11 AM

    Martin Chuzzlewit from Manhattan
    yes WE CAN!

    Jun. 28 2012 10:11 AM

    yay!!! Harvard student Barack Obama knows his stuff.

    Jun. 28 2012 10:10 AM
    Nick from UWS

    Unfriggin' believable.

    Jun. 28 2012 10:10 AM
    jgarbuz from Queens

    In my personal life, I have experienced three health care systems: (1) The mostly capitalist system that existed in the US in the 1950s, before Medicare and Medicaid, when we had the same doctor for nearly 30 years, who used to make house calls, but there were charity hospitals for the indigent; (2)The semi-socialist system in Israel, where you were forced to buy into the "Sick Fund" every month, but had plenty of local clinics, and didn't have to go broke to get decent health care by surly, underpaid doctors, but God-forbid if you had a serious heart condition, you'd would had to wait on line, unless you had "protekzia," i.e., some "political" connection with somebody who could push you ahead of the queue; and (3) The present mixed US system we have in the US today.

    My personal preference would be a mostly capitalist health care system, where the doctors are in control of their own destiny and yours. But I doubt that pragmatically we can go back to that.

    Jun. 28 2012 10:09 AM

    If it isn't shot down (or major portions of it) it's another nail in the coffin. I am going to buy some broccoli.

    Jun. 28 2012 10:01 AM
    jgarbuz from Queens

    To Martin,

    So, Romney is going to be better?:)

    Jun. 28 2012 09:58 AM
    Martin Chuzzlewit from Manhattan

    What can we conclude if this is struck down?

    This President spent his first 2 years pushing a hastily assembled, poorly crafted mess of a health care bill with unconstitutional components......instead of immediately addressing the economic crisis (which he called the "worst since the Great Depression") and initiating steps for recovery.
    Thus, 3 &1/2 years later, we have had the poorest recovery in modern history and are still stuck with 1.9% GDP growth and 8.2% unemployment (15% underemployment).

    Hey, I know....... let's re-elect this person!!!
    Well, gee, it must make sense to some of you out there….you’re actually supporting that idea, LOL.

    Jun. 28 2012 09:21 AM
    carolita from NYC

    I don't think there will be any surprises. I'm betting they slap Obama down with glee, out of revenge for Obama having implied that they'd never cut down a president, earlier this year. This is their chance of "proving" how "non-partisan" they are, after making themselves look like Republican lackeys for going with Citizens United and upholding so many parts of it this week.

    If they uphold it, it will change my perceptions of human nature. But if they don't, I'm for starting a car insurance rebellion.

    Jun. 28 2012 09:04 AM

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