By a 5 to 4 vote, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld President Obama’s controversial healthcare law that will require citizens to purchase health insurance or be penalized if they choose to forgo insurance.
In the majority opinion, Chief Justice John Roberts said it is “reasonable to construe what Congress has done as increasing taxes on those who have a certain amount of income, but choose to go without health insurance. Such legislation is within Congress's power to tax."
“Under the mandate, if an individual does not maintain health insurance, the only consequence is that he must make an additional payment to the IRS when he pays his taxes. … That, according to the [Federal] Government, means the mandate can be regarded as establishing a condition — not owning health insurance — that triggers a tax — the required payment to the IRS. Under that theory, the mandate is not a legal command to buy insurance. Rather, it makes going without insurance just another thing the Government taxes, like buying gasoline or earning income,” Roberts wrote.
In addition to Roberts, the justices who voted in favor of Obamacare include Stephen Breyer, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan. Justices Samuel Alito, Antonin Scalia, Anthony Kennedy and Clarence Thomas dissented.
The law will be go into full effect in 2014.
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