Stuart Gerson, a Member of the Firm in the Litigation and Health Care and Life Sciences practices at Epstein Becker Green, authored an article titled “The Supreme Court Has Decided, but Can America Afford the Affordable Care Act?”
Following is an excerpt:
By now, every American who pays any attention to the news is aware that on the last day of its now concluded term, the U.S. Supreme Court, with its June 28 decision in National Federation of Independent Business v. Sebelius, U.S., No. 11-393, 6/28/12, has upheld essentially all of the Obama Administration’s Affordable Care Act (ACA), and did so through an unusual series of opinions, with Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. acting essentially as a majority of one. The two controlling holdings are neither unprecedented nor difficult to understand. How these holdings came to control, however, while sensible, was largely unpredicted and leaves interesting ramifications both for the Supreme Court and for the state of health care in the United States.
By a 5-4 majority, led by the chief justice (with Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor, and Elena Kagan concurring separately), the court upheld the most controversial and essential provision of the Affordable Care Act—the ”individual mandate”—not under the Commerce Clause, as its proponents primarily urged, but under the tax power—not as a requirement to buy health insurance, but as a tax if they don’t.