Supreme Court: Obamacare Stands in Health Care Ruling, Costs to Rise for Seniors?

The Supreme Court ruled today that the individual health care mandate is constitutional as a provision of Obamacare, the president’s Affordable Care Act. Under the ruling, all individuals will be required to have some form of health care coverage, or could face a tax, adding to the mounting costs faced by older Americans and those approaching retirement.

Reports are calling the decision a “victory” for the president, even though the individual mandate is not expected to be enforced in the way it was initially intended.

“The Affordable Care Act’s requirement that certain individuals pay a financial penalty for not obtaining health insurance may reasonably be characterized as a tax. Because the Constitution permits such a tax, it is not our role to forbid it, or to pass upon its wisdom or fairness,” Chief Justice John Roberts wrote in the ruling.

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Implications could weigh for seniors, who are most often covered under Medicare. However, as a provision of the law, insurers must cover those with pre-existing conditions.

Details of the ruling were still unclear upon the decision Thursday morning, but the ruling will have implications for the span of Medicare and Medicaid as well as the providers who are reimbursed by those programs.

A recent report by the National Review includes an analysis of how Obamacare raises health care costs for seniors. In contrast, a CNN editorial argues that seniors need the health care law.

View the ruling.

Written by Elizabeth Ecker

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  • The surprising part of this decision was the position of the Chief Justice. In the 1950s many conservatives suffered a huge disappointment as Chief Justice Earl Warren, the former conservative Republican Governor of California, began handing down the decisions of his court. Many older and astute conservative students of the Court are beginning to compare the Roberts and Warren Courts. The differences between these giants of jurisprudence will be tested and torn apart in every possible way.

    If the Obama Administration is smart (and it is), expect a push for more controversial legislation since it now sees an unexpected “friend” in the Chief Justice. Is it now less likely that the Supreme Court will find either the Dodd-Frank Act or the CFPB unconstitutional? It seems so.

    Those who espouse limited government and less intrusion from its tax collection agency have suffered a huge setback. When it really mattered, President Johnson found a friend in the Warren Court and it now seems President Obama may have found the same in the Roberts Court.

    For now Chief Justice Roberts does not seem to foster an activist court atmosphere as did Chief Justice Warren.

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