Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr., who wrote the controlling opinion, attempted a delicate balancing act: He said the Commerce and Necessary and Proper clauses of the Constitution cannot be bent to compel Americans to buy insurance, but said it is allowed under Congress’s tax and spending powers, which are broader, but are subject to the checks of the political system.
“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. Because the Constitution permits such a tax, it is not our role to forbid it, or to pass upon its wisdom or fairness,” he wrote.
We heard from the National Center for Policy Analysis’s, President John C. Goodman, on the Supreme Court’s ruling today on the Affordable Care Act;
“Congress can repeal the ACA and replace it with universal health care coverage without any mandates”. Dr. Goodman noted that, as a candidate, Barack Obama opposed the individual mandate but supported universal coverage. “Unfortunately, he abandoned both ideas,” said Goodman.
How can we do this? Basically by following the McCain/Coburn/Ryan approach. Offer every American a refundable tax credit that is the same amount regardless of where the insurance is purchased: in the workplace, in a health exchange or in the marketplace. “For instance, we can afford to offer a $2,500 per adult tax credit or an $8,000 credit per family,” said Goodman. The unclaimed tax credits go to fund the so-called ‘safety net’ programs so that there is an adequate amount of money for everybody.”
“Many are concerned that if there is no mandate, people will wait until they get sick to buy insurance,” added Goodman. “The more important question is: Did we ever need the mandate at all? The answer is ‘no,’ not if we do it the right way.”