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What you should know about the ruling upholding the Affordable Care Act

Published: Thu, June 28, 2012 @ 11:06 a.m.

WASHINGTON (AP) — Here's a look at the ruling upholding the Affordable Care Act:


The Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of President Barack Obama's health care law, including the most disputed part: the mandate that virtually all Americans have health insurance or pay a fine. The mandate was upheld under the federal government's power to levy taxes.

The ruling put some limits on the law's plan to expand the Medicaid insurance program for the poor, a joint effort of the federal government and states. It says the U.S. government cannot threaten to withhold a state's entire Medicaid allotment if it doesn't participate in the expansion.

Chief Justice John Roberts sided with the court's four liberal justices - Stephen Breyer, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Elena Kagan and Sonia Sotomayor - to form the 5-4 majority.


The decision affects nearly every American and marks a major milepost in a century of efforts to make health care available to all. The law is President Barack Obama's signature legislative achievement and perhaps the most polarizing issue of his re-election campaign. His Republican rival Mitt Romney and GOP lawmakers have promised to repeal Obamacare.


The 2010 health care law will continue phasing in as planned. It's expected to bring coverage to about 30 million uninsured people, so that more than 9 in 10 eligible Americans will be covered.

Some parts are already in effect: Young adults can stay on their parents' insurance up to age 26. Insurers can't deny coverage to children with health problems. Limits on how much policies will pay out to each person over a lifetime are eliminated. Hundreds of older people already are saving money through improved Medicare prescription benefits. And co-payments for preventive care for all ages have been eliminated.


Starting in 2014, almost everyone will be required to be insured or pay a fine. There are subsidies to help people who can't afford coverage. Most employers will face fines if they don't offer coverage for their workers. Newly created insurance markets will make it easier for individuals and small businesses to buy affordable coverage. And Medicaid will be expanded to cover more low-income people.

Insurers will be prohibited from denying coverage to people with medical problems or charging those people more. They won't be able to charge women more, either. During the transition to 2014, a special program for people with pre-existing health problems helps these people get coverage.

An assortment of tax increases, health industry fees and Medicare cuts will help pay for the changes.


Not necessarily. Although the court found it constitutional, the health care law still could be changed by Congress. Romney and Republican congressional candidates are campaigning on promises to repeal it if elected in November.

Some parts of the law are popular, but others - especially the mandate that virtually everyone have insurance coverage - are not.

Also, an estimated 26 million people will remain without health coverage once the law is fully implemented, including illegal immigrants, people who don't sign up and elect to face the fine instead, and those who can't afford it even with the subsidies.


16675409(37 comments)posted 3 years, 10 months ago

This plan is all about taxation. Taxing the rich? YEP! If you have a tax refund coming you will be considered rich. Since you didn't buy insurance you will be able to anty up $1,500. each year for not having any. Your tax refund will be shorted this amount. After you pay the government has your money and you still have no health insurance.

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2walter_sobchak(2587 comments)posted 3 years, 10 months ago

The Solicitor General had argued that the law was constitutional under the Commerce Clause. The SC rejected that premise but found that it does fall under the Congress' power to tax us. CJ Roberts found that the penalty amounts to a tax. Now, Barack Hussein Obama consistently argued that this plan was not a tax. My question is, in what other circumstance does the federal govt tax us for NOT doing something. We have to pay income tax. We have to pay FICA tax for Social Security but we don't have to accept the benefit. We have to pay Medicare taxes but we don't have to accept Medicare coverage. Under Obamacare, a person can merely pay the penalty and not carry insurance. Then, if they fall ill and need coverage, they can then opt to start paying for coverage as denial of coverage is prohibited and they can't be forced to pay more. Then, when they are finally mended, they can once again opt out.
This is a temporary win for Barry. Since over 60% of Americans wanted the mandate done away with, the only solution is to change those making the laws.

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3Freeatlast(1991 comments)posted 3 years, 10 months ago

This is good
Bush's judge said it is the law of the land

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4DwightK(1520 comments)posted 3 years, 10 months ago

This is a good law. It's all about personal responsibility. People will have to make arrangements to pay for their care (like grown ups should do). I'm tired of paying for people who go to the emergency room for every little thing and have no way to pay. That goes for the people who call an ambulance unneccessarily also because they need a ride or think that arriving in one gets them into the ER faster.

If you can't afford coverage, the law provides for low cost options.

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5LtMacGowan(704 comments)posted 3 years, 10 months ago

im so happy i could cry. WTG President Obama!

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6peacelover(834 comments)posted 3 years, 10 months ago

I agree DwightK and LtMacGowan. Just think of all the time and money wasted by the GOP trying to put down this accomplishment that benefits the American people. Way to go GOP.

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7DwightK(1520 comments)posted 3 years, 10 months ago

I'm not sure how anyone could think this is socialism. The law enforces personal responsibility and to be compliant you have to do business with an insurance company or be very wealthy. That's capitalism.

If it was single payer, that would be socialism.

I think a lot of people get their 'isms' mixed up.

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8walter_sobchak(2587 comments)posted 3 years, 10 months ago

SInce the SC has ruled that the penalty clause in Obamacare is actually an imposed tax, this turns the Constitution over. The Framers gave the power to tax to Congress and specifically mandated that all tax bills MUST originate in the House as that body is the most accountable to the People. Since the imposition of taxes has never been popular in the States (remember the Stamp ACt?) these representatives are never more than two years away from their next election and the possible rebuke of the People. Every one of the lower court rulings flatly rejected the consideration of this penalty as a tax but CJ Roberts has now found otherwise. Apparently, if the Executive branch cannot put forth a successful argument in their petition, the Judicial branch can find their own argument. This is akin to making law by judicial fiat by those government representatives that are the farthest removed from their accountability by the people!

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9redeye1(5513 comments)posted 3 years, 10 months ago

Look out middle-class , you are about to see the highest tax hike ever in the history of this country. If you think that the rich will pay for you have been drinking to much of the D party kool-aid. As one business owner said on TV he will just have to pass the costs on to the consumers, so then we will be paying prices for things . Thanks BO for nothing!!!! I can't wait until he allows the illegals to join this fine piece of $hi% program We will paying their share too. .

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10redeye1(5513 comments)posted 3 years, 10 months ago

DwightK What makes you think that the people on Welfare will be responsible? After all they are the ones who rush to the ER's with every little thing because they don't want to pay a co-pay at the DRS. That might take away booze or drug money from them..

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11rightofronnie(11 comments)posted 3 years, 10 months ago

This is a complete and total disaster for the American people. For those of you that think this is a fantastic win, you are wrong. What you are about to see is increased lines at the doctor's office, pharmacy and emergency room. What would have been a condition that was considered "treatable" in order for you to live, will now be considered "too expensive" and you will be left to die. All of you who support this bill are looking at it only from the standpoint that everyone will have healthcare...not that everyone's healthcare will be greatly diminished. Sure, it is great to have healthcare, but when your healthcare is more limited by your plan than if you just walked into an ER without it...what is the point? For someone who is uninsured now, you can go to an ER with chest pains and get treated. For someone on the government version, you can go to the hospital, but then a bureaucrat will decide whether your life is important enough to be saved. Wake up liberal-socialists of Mahoning County!!!!! This is a BAD DEAL!!!!!!!!!

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12DwightK(1520 comments)posted 3 years, 10 months ago

Redeye, people on welfare collect Earned Income Tax Credit. If they don't comply they'll pay a penalty that will be deducted from their EITC.

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13IslandMike(764 comments)posted 3 years, 10 months ago

Bin Laden is DEAD
The Iraq War is OVER
ObamaCare is UPHELD.

None of the aforementioned would be true had McCain or Mitt been in office. RomneyCare was the MODEL for ObamaCare and now the FLIP-FLOPPER is spreading FEAR to the masses about it. 17 MILLION people have worse health care than convicted chilld molester Jerry Sandusky. Jerry has a prison hospital and medical professionals at his disposal, while 17 MILLION people are unisured.

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14busyman(239 comments)posted 3 years, 10 months ago

This is good news. I have worked contract for a lot of places were the young workers to not take or want to pay $125.000 a month for health care offered by the employers. They need that money for the cell phones, internest, cable tv with all the devo, tvo and yo yo to play their games. These young workers go out and have babies or get in accidents and cost the tax payers billions of dollars a year. Where are these conservatives coming from. Everytime a baby from a single mother is born or a young person gets in an accident on the their own time we, all of we, pay the bills. This will share the health care responsiblity between all. Why do medicare individuals have money taken from their social security checks and we let all the bottom suckers get it for free. Wake up! It is not socialized medicine. It is share the burden health care.

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15redvert(2226 comments)posted 3 years, 10 months ago

DwightK wrote "people on welfare collect Earned Income Tax Credit" Now tell me, what income is that tax credit earned on. Are you telling me that the people on the dole are going to be penalized? You do understand that they vote democrat.

Some of you people are really naive making all these assumptions of what is gonna happen. The working people will be taxed to cover the ones that spend their lives on the dole. The same ones that go to the emergency room for every little sniffle. But a lot of them can afford their beer and cigarettes can't they?

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16BrothaLove(81 comments)posted 3 years, 10 months ago


Your reasoning is flawed... as usual. People on welfare ALSO get a medical card that handles all of their medical needs WITHOUT a copay at all. Should the Affordable Care Act been stricken down, there would be no accountability for those people, just as it has always been, and there would be no accountability for those who do not want health coverage, but run to the ER for everything and no means of payment.

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17BrothaLove(81 comments)posted 3 years, 10 months ago

People the Supreme Court made a decision based on an interpretation of the Constitution, not based on how they felt when they woke up this morning. They are in place to clarify and interpret law. They made a decision based on law and we all need to come together as a country and make it work.

President Obama and the justices do not want to ruin America. Please stop listening to Rush. If anyone wants to ruin America, it's him.

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18gordy850(22 comments)posted 3 years, 10 months ago

What's next? Jack boots and arm bands? America is truly on the off ramp with the Democratic leadership.
I can't wait to hear what Barrack promised Putin he would be able to do once he was re-elected.

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19Freeatlast(1991 comments)posted 3 years, 10 months ago

This is a GOP court
John Roberts is a Bush/GOP/TEA guy
THIS IS Robertscare now
Never thought I would say this but THANK YOU TEA
You got it done

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20ytownredux(117 comments)posted 3 years, 10 months ago

Let's look at this Toycannon, if we look at unemployment like Romney caused for more than half the businesses he worked on for Bain Capital, and had him 47th of 50 states in job creation while he was a governor of Mass, the economy that was tanked by our previous administration and has admittedly not grown as quick as our President said it would, the massive debt like Romney built up in Massachussets, and now this, the very health care plan that Romney created in Mass and most of his advisors helped to create this national plan.

Hmmmmmm....guess the choice is clear, I am sticking by our President

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21rocky14(816 comments)posted 3 years, 10 months ago

Justice Roberts is a Socialist????
Oh My!

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226675409(37 comments)posted 3 years, 10 months ago

It's not rocket science. If you can't afford exorbitant fees for health insurance then $1,500. paid to the government for not having coverage will deny you money for doctor visits and medication. The working poor are taking a direct hit from Obama.

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23redeye1(5513 comments)posted 3 years, 10 months ago

Dwight What income? Wefare is tax free, I have friends who pay nothing and then get a tax return. How is that? This is a tax on the middle class and nothing else. Read the bill! i did and believe me its confusing as hell , but that is what BO wanted. The people don't understand it and it will be easier for hiim to B.S. the population. They should have called it "The freeloaders bill" because that is who its for.

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24Aware(254 comments)posted 3 years, 10 months ago

Actually, as a small business owner who has full medical and dental in place for our employees, I will be unaffected. But it looks rather tempting to go with the Obamacare as it's proposed now. (Remember, folks..this is an outline right now..stop surmising until you have specifics. This reminds me of the death panel horse****). People are just parroting rush and beck). Now..back to what I was saying..we'd be better off taking the 'penalty' at $2k per year - our premiums are far greater than that now! I heard all sorts of weirdness 4 years ago and it's all BS. REAL BS is an inept president waiting for pee to dry after 9-11 and then promising to 'get' the perpetrator. Only to run after someone is a dirthole. Then he jumps on a battleship and claims victory. Along comes a President who can speak in full sentences and IN FACT gets Bin Laden. And never one donned a bomber jacket to fly onto a ship. Please. It was in fact a Republican-appointed SC Justice who swayed the vote. And did his job. And now that is a problem. Actually..guess what? I'm happy with the Hope and Change. Romney is no friend of small business and I'd never vote for him. O course he (Mitt) sat through an interview and stated 'it's my turn (to be President)'. Oh really? Works for me - not.

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25IslandMike(764 comments)posted 3 years, 10 months ago

The NON PARTISAN Congressional Budget Office crunched the numbers and said that ObamaCare would reduce the Federal Deficit by 930 Billion Dollars in its first ten years. The neo-cons were crying about the deficit and now that RomneyCare, oops, I mean ObamaCare has passed it's going to have a positive effect on the US economy as a whole. Heck, Health Care is the economy.

RomneyCare was a "great piece of legislation" in Massachusetts, but now Mitt-Flopper is saying it's bad for the country. Mitt's a JOKE.

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26redeye1(5513 comments)posted 3 years, 10 months ago

islandmike and arod I don't know where you get that this good for the economy. There will be lay-offs in the health field real soon. This bill will put many people on welfare because companies will drop their insurance plans and lay off alot a people too, so there goes . for the so-middle class. Just wait and see.

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27IslandMike(764 comments)posted 3 years, 10 months ago

RomneyCare is going to create 4 MILLION jobs!! The more people who are covered by Health Care, the more people the HC field will employ. A healthier work force means a more productive work force. The wealthiest country in the world FINALLY has taken care of their own people. HC should be a RIGHT not a STATUS symbol. This bill will SAVE LIVES!! Thank You Governor Romney!! We couldn't have done it without you.

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28Aware(254 comments)posted 3 years, 10 months ago

This discussion is becoming amazingly muddled. Red, please justify the statement about companies dropping plans and laying off people who will then be on welfare. Can you be specific b/c I am missing the logic. IF a company is offering a job and a package, what is unchanged? TY. Now, young: what are you talking about? One point I'm following is that 20 years ago things were OK in the medical and insurance areas...alright. This 'thought' has been in the works for many years. Our medical in this country needs an overhaul. Sure as hell bush never did it. Hillary Clinton - many years ago - tried - and it was laughed at b/c she was a woman. As Boehner broadcasted almost 4 years ago...'the Republican party will spend the next 4 years making sure this President will NOT be re-elected'. And so here we have it. Anyone can see that this is a serious threat to the right. Romney was the last person these guys wanted to run if this happened - how in heck can a justification against this plan now be made? Mittens is licking his paws trying to come up with a scenario of merit. Young: Educate your own self: Preventative care is a cornerstone of this plan. Where on earth do you get your information? Let me guess.... And do you now get your nat-path and nut-sups? They're pretty available - like koolaid. Look guys, if you do not like our Prez, plain out don't vote for him. But he sure as heck is getting MY vote! He is one of the best Prezes in MY lifetime! I'm very pleased with him. I am disgusted with the Congress. Reminds me of the 94 Newt antics. BTW, how is Mr. G? He sure got whoooped!!!!! lol

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29IslandMike(764 comments)posted 3 years, 10 months ago

ROMNEYCARE made HC more affordable in Massachusetts, lowered the states deficit and created jobs. That's his platform. Now you people are telling me that OBAMACARE, the same exact piece of legislation but with a different name is a job killer that's going to drive up the price of care and add to the deficit? Sounds like The Party of No is trying to spread FEAR to the masses. How many people are employed on those Death Panels in Massachusetts?

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30praxis95(51 comments)posted 3 years, 10 months ago

To get to the merits of the case the SC fond the mandate was not a tax. Then to save the mandate the SC found the mandate was a tax. For the first time in our history the federal government can force a person to engage in commerce or pay a tax for not engaging in commerce. If this stands our Republic is lost.

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31cambridge(3921 comments)posted 3 years, 10 months ago

I was forced to pay for the invasion of Iraq which is a trillion and counting.

I'm forced to send federal taxes to DC who the sends it to inbreds in Mississippi, Alabama and the like.

That's how it works. We pay federal taxes that pay for government programs. Everyone will never agree on which programs should be supported. That's how it has always worked.

What I don't like about the bill is that it isn't single payer not for profit. Billions for health insurance companies that do nothing when it comes to anyones health care but get paid anyway.

As far as the mandate, people should pay for their own health insurance. If they don't have coverage the rest of us pay for their treatment. Those that are crying about it are just looking for a free ride.

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32IslandMike(764 comments)posted 3 years, 10 months ago

If the Affordable Care Act were soooo bad for the economic future of the US, then Wall Street not only would have gone down the day after the Supreme Courts ruling, it would have CRASHED. That wasn't the case, the Dow finished up +277 points. Don't give me any EXCUSES about the stabilization of the Euro. The street would have CRASHED had this been as "bad" as FIXED NOISE NETWORK makes it out to be.

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33whitesabbath(738 comments)posted 3 years, 10 months ago

Get ready for retna scans, and micro-chips installed on your body for GPS, the nature of the beast, another way to get more Names, Faces, Numbers into the Data Bank.

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34southsidedave(5183 comments)posted 3 years, 10 months ago

This sounds as though our country is moving toward a Totalitarian Government

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35freedomofchoice(8 comments)posted 3 years, 10 months ago

"Also, an estimated 26 million people will remain without health coverage once the law is fully implemented, including illegal immigrants, people who don't sign up and elect to face the fine instead, and those who can't afford it even with the subsidies."
Quote from "what you should know" story

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36IslandMike(764 comments)posted 3 years, 10 months ago

They said Bush lied about weapons of mass destruction and used it as an excuse to kill thousands of our troops.

They're saying that Obama lied about passing ObamaCare (or RomneyCare) as a tax. So he lied to save lives.

Seems funny to me that more people in this country are angry about ObamaCare, but no one complained about the killing of thousands of our troops in Iraq.

I'm not big on the bible, I rarely go to church, but it seems to me that the one commandment that says, "Thou shall not kill," should start to carry a little more weight. We're killing our own troops for no reason and we're killing our own citizens because we're trying to treat health care like a status symbol. PATHETIC!

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37freedomofchoice(8 comments)posted 3 years, 10 months ago

I worked in the ER and noone was ever turned away due to lack of insurance. I for one DONOT want a panel of "Obamabots" making decisions that should be made by me, my family and my doctor. Obama has to go!!! I hate to see what he will
mandate next! Maybe a TAX on the amount of air we breathe????

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