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The Supreme Court has upheld President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul plan—the Affordable Care Act. In a 5-to-4 decision Thursday, the Court determined that although Congress didn’t have the power of commerce to force Americans to buy health insurance, Congress does have the power to implement a tax. And in this case, the Court finds the penalty for not buying health insurance by 2014 to be a valid tax.
Missouri's Lieutenant Governor, Peter Kinder, filed a lawsuit over a year ago against the federal government, challenging the constitutionality of the individual mandate for all Americans to buy health insurance. KSMU’s Jennifer Davidson has his reaction to the high court’s ruling.
21 states joined Kinder in the lawsuit. The Lieutenant Governor told reporters in a conference call that while he finds the decision, quote “lamentable,” he’s at least glad his case can move forward now.
“We believe that it heightens the importance of Kinder v. Geithner, Holder, Sebelius, et. al., which is lodged, now, in the US Court of appeals for the 8th Circuit—where the judges clearly there were waiting for this opinion,” Kinder said.
Kinder says his whole argument to begin with was that Congress could not enact such a mandate under the Commerce Clause, and that his position was vindicated. However, the mandate still stands because the penalty, or “tax” for not paying it, is deemed to be legal.
“At no point in that 14 month debate did the proponents of the law, from the President, to Secretery Sebelius, to Claire McCaskill, to Nancy Pelosi, to Harry Reid, to anyone else who voted for this law, say they were exercising the taxation power. They, in fact, emphatically denied repeatedly that they were exercising the taxing power,” Kinder said.
Kinder mentioned multiple times that the ramifications to this decision will show up in November’s election, and that he believes Missourians will oust those politicians who supported the Affordable Care Act.
For KSMU News, I'm Jennifer Davidson.