I have to say, I’m really surprised by this. I expected 5-4 the other direction, and weeks or months worth of hate heaped upon John Roberts, Clarence Thomas, and Antonin Scalia.
As it turned out, John Roberts did write the majority opinion, but sided with the court’s liberals to form the majority. Justice Anthony Kennedy sided with the conservatives on the minority. Who can predict these things?
High points – the mandate is a tax, and falls under the taxing power of Congress. And the Federal government cannot withhold Federal Medicaid funding for states that choose not to comply with Federal health care mandates.
So the mandate is a tax. That means the IRS will now play a major role in determining our health insurance coverage and, by extension, the medical treatments we receive.
And, like Federal income tax, compliance is not voluntary; you can’t simply refuse to go along. Every American must be accounted for on a tax return, every year. Every American must provide proof of insurance coverage on their tax returns or pay a penalty, just like we pay a penalty if we are delinquent in filing our tax returns or we underpay our taxes. Nobody escapes this.
Exit question: I know a lot of people in all ethnic groups across a wide spectrum of income levels and lifestyles. The number of people I personally know who haven’t filed tax returns in a timely manner, or who owe unpaid taxes, is concentrated much more heavily among minorities and people at lower income levels. If it is a crime and an infringement of civil rights to show a valid photo ID at the voting booth, is it also be a crime and an infringement of civil rights to mandate that poor/minority citizens must now go to the expense and trouble of getting their taxes in order, and file an accurate tax return each successive year?