This morning, the Supreme Court issued its highly anticipated decision on the constitutionality of portions of the Affordable Care Act (Nat. Fed’n Indep. Business v. Sebelius, Florida v. Dept. of HHS; and Dept. of HHS v. Florida). The majority of the Court concluded the following on the key questions in the case –
1. The individual mandate is constitutional as an exercise of Congress’ power under the Taxing Clause (although it could not be upheld based on the Commerce Clause and the Necessary and Proper Clause).
2. The expansion of Medicaid to additional populations is constitutional, but the federal government cannot withhold existing (non-expansion) Medicaid funds for non-compliance with the expansion requirements.
The majority opinion was authored by Justice Roberts. Justice Ginsburg authored a concurring opinion on behalf of herself, Justice Sotomayor and (in part) Justices Breyer and Kagan; the concurring Justices would have also upheld the individual mandate as an exercise of Congress’ power under the Commerce Clause. A dissenting opinion was issued by Justices Scalia, Kennedy, Thomas, and Alito. Justice Thomas authored a separate dissent.
A copy of the opinions are attached, and additional analysis will be forthcoming as we review the opinions in the case. Also, please join us for an opportunity for more detailed discussion on the implications of the decision at our roundtable event on July 11, 2012. Details on the event and RSVP information can be found at http://www.dlapiper.com/health-care-at-the-crossroads-roundtable-discussion-07-11-2012/.