|Healthcare reform supporter at a Los Angeles demonstration in 2009|
I did not see this coming.*
SCOTUS rules 5-4 that "Obamacare" is constitutional, with Justice Roberts - not Kennedy as conventional wisdom held - the deciding vote.
For those of you out there who worked your tails off - phone banking attending healthcare reform town halls and making sure your reps got to know you on a first-name basis - to make the Affordable Healthcare Act a reality, this one is for you. Your work was not in vain.
From the SCOTUS blog, the decision in plain English:
The Affordable Care Act, including its individual mandate that virtually all Americans buy health insurance, is constitutional. There were not five votes to uphold it on the ground that Congress could use its power to regulate commerce between the states to require everyone to buy health insurance. However, five Justices agreed that the penalty that someone must pay if he refuses to buy insurance is a kind of tax that Congress can impose using its taxing power. That is all that matters. Because the mandate survives, the Court did not need to decide what other parts of the statute were constitutional, except for a provision that required states to comply with new eligibility requirements for Medicaid or risk losing their funding. On that question, the Court held that the provision is constitutional as long as states would only lose new funds if they didn't comply with the new requirements, rather than all of their funding.
*Evidently, CNN didn't see this coming either. Check out these screenshots!
Here's a link to read the SCOTUS opinion in it's entirety. Supreme Court ACA Ruling