Supreme Court upholds individual mandate - KiiiTV.com South Texas, Corpus Christi, Coastal Bend

Supreme Court upholds individual mandate

Posted: Updated:

(ABC News)In a landmark ruling with wide-ranging implications, the Supreme Court today upheld the so-called individual mandate requiring Americans to buy health insurance or pay a penalty, the key part of President Obama's signature health care law.

The court ruled that the mandate is unconstitutional under the Constitution's commerce clause, but it can stay as part of Congress's power under a taxing clause. The court said that the government will be allowed to tax people for not having health insurance.

"The Affordable Care Act's requirement that certain individuals pay a financial penalty for not obtaining health insurance may reasonably be characterized as a tax," Chief Justice John Roberts wrote in the ruling. "Because the Constitution permits such a tax, it is not our role to forbid it, or to pass upon its wisdom or fairness."

The ruling is a victory for the Obama administration and a defeat for Republicans, who had anticipated that at least some of the law would be struck down. But it also means the debate will continue.

"It actually settles nothing. By shifting the debate to the tax arena, and with a four-justice dissent, the decision guarantees only that the broader fight over a suitable national health policy will continue," said Richard Saltman, a professor at the Rollins School of Public Health, Emory University. "In effect, the court decided this was too hot to handle. The focus will (has already) shift back to the political arena, where a deeply divided electorate will have to decide which policy path they want the country to pursue."

The court's ruling upholding the main part of Obama's law means that people must buy health insurance or pay a tax up to several thousand dollars a year. It also means that other popular provisions of the law will stay, including:

-- If you are under 26, you can get health insurance from the plan your parents use. -- If you're on Medicare, you can get free mammograms. -- If you have what's called a pre-existing condition, you can get health insurance. -- Insurance companies can't deny you coverage even if you get sick or make a mistake on your health insurance application.

The vote from the high court was five to four. Roberts, who was appointed by George W. Bush, joined the more liberal four justices in upholding the mandate. Justice Anthony Kennedy was thought to be the swing vote, but he sided with the conservative bloc.

"Our precedent demonstrates that Congress had the power to impose the exaction in section 5000 A under the taxing power and that section 5000 a need not be read to do more than impose a tax," Roberts wrote. 

  • Massive House Fire Caught on Video

    Massive House Fire Caught on Video

    An elderly woman manages to escape with her life following a massive house fire. It happened late Saturday night around 9 O'clock at a home on Island Drive in Lake City near Mathis. The woman has nothing left, but is safe thanks to a few alert neighbors. It was all caught on video. The fire lit the night sky near Lake Corpus Christi as it burned a two story home. Ray Krebs lives across the street and saw the flames and ran over to help a woman who was renting a back house on the property.Kre...More >>
    An elderly woman manages to escape with her life following a massive house fire. It happened late Saturday night around 9 O'clock at a home on Island Drive in Lake City near Mathis. The woman has nothing left, but is safe thanks to a few alert neighbors. It was all caught on video. The fire lit the night sky near Lake Corpus Christi as it burned a two story home. Ray Krebs lives across the street and saw the flames and ran over to help a woman who was renting a back house on the property.Kre...More >>
  • Barber Battle

    Barber Battle

    It's being called one of the biggest events of its kind. The 2nd annual Texas Barber Battle and Expo was held Sunday, bringing in people from all over the country to Corpus Christi...The event brought in people from just about everywhere. One person was even a guest barber from Alaska! The event, is said to have brought in over 1000 people! The barbers battled in 4 different styles, fastest fade, traditional, freestyle, and duplicate. Duplicate means they were given a sketch and had to remak...More >>
    It's being called one of the biggest events of its kind. The 2nd annual Texas Barber Battle and Expo was held Sunday, bringing in people from all over the country to Corpus Christi...The event brought in people from just about everywhere. One person was even a guest barber from Alaska! The event, is said to have brought in over 1000 people! The barbers battled in 4 different styles, fastest fade, traditional, freestyle, and duplicate. Duplicate means they were given a sketch and had to remak...More >>
  • 51 Year Old Man is Dead, 2 Others Rescued After a Boat Sinks in Copano Bay

    51 Year Old Man is Dead, 2 Others Rescued After a Boat Sinks in Copano Bay

    According to the US Coast Guard, a 51-year-old man is dead and two others are safe, a 14-year-old girl and 52-year-old man, after their boat sank Sunday morning in Copano Bay, just north of Rockport, Texas. The Coast Guard Sector Corpus Christi Command Center received a distress call from a 24-foot center console boat taking on water at approximately 9:30 a.m. The three people donned life jackets and abandoned the boat, which sank shortly after the distress call was made. A Station Port Aran...More >>
    According to the US Coast Guard, a 51-year-old man is dead and two others are safe, a 14-year-old girl and 52-year-old man, after their boat sank Sunday morning in Copano Bay, just north of Rockport, Texas. The Coast Guard Sector Corpus Christi Command Center received a distress call from a 24-foot center console boat taking on water at approximately 9:30 a.m. The three people donned life jackets and abandoned the boat, which sank shortly after the distress call was made. A Station Port Aran...More >>