July 1st, 2012
On June 28, 2012 millions of Americans waited for the Supreme Court to announce the decision over constitutionality of the mandate in ACA, the Affordable care Act. Closely watching were people both in favor and against the mandate. The question raised was whether government had the power under the Commerce Clause to force people to buy a product or suffer a penalty. President Obama, members of Congress and presidential candidate Romney prepared speeches for either Supreme Court decision. A 5 to 4 vote from the Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act, ACA.
The result was very unexpected because Justice Roberts cast the deciding vote favoring constitutionality. In fact, Roberts and the President had well-known differences in the past. Commentators were quick to speculate the motives behind Roberts’ vote. Justice Roberts’ opinion was that government couldn’t force a person to buy a product using the Commerce Clause under the Constitution. However, the government could raise taxes. The penalty for not buying insurance has been redefined as a tax.
Justice Roberts is very clever. He has increased overall public trust in the Supreme Court while limiting congressional power under the Commerce Clause The choice will now move to the voter. Governor Romney has promised a strong effort to repeal ACA. This will be an uphill battle unless Republicans keep the House and regain the Senate. It will require winning an additional 13 Republican seats in the Senate for repeal to be possible.
The recent decision of the Supreme Court will have great influence over the 2012 election. The voters will decide whether to keep ACA or have it repealed. The impact will be felt in the congressional races as well as the presidential race. The decision of the Supreme Court has returned Healthcare to front of the 2012 election.