ObamaCare mandate upheld as constitutional
Chief Justice Roberts delivered a shocker joining the liberal wing of the Court in finding the mandate is a tax, and therefore permissible. The entire ACA act has been upheld, except for some limitations on the federal power to affect state Medicaid programs. The decision has not yet been posted to the internet, but reporters at the Court are reading sections of the long decision.
Our precedent demonstrates that Congress had the power to impose the exaction in Section 5000A under the taxing power, and that Section 5000A need not be read to do more than impose a tax. This is sufficient to sustain it
From Ann Howe at SCOTUS blog:
On the Medicaid issue, a majority of the Court holds that the Medicaid expansion is constitutional but that it w/b unconstitutional for the federal government to withhold Medicaid funds for non-compliance with the expansion provisions.
"Nothing in our opinion precludes Congress from offering funds under the ACA to expand the availability of health care, and requiring that states accepting such funds comply with the conditions on their use. What Congress is not free to do is to penalize States that choose not to participate in that new program by taking away their existing Medicaid funding." (p. 55)
Ann Howe lays out the good news about the Commerce Clause. This should reassure conservatives worried about abuse of the Clause:
The Court holds that the Anti-Injunction Act doesn't apply because the label "tax" is not controlling.