Supreme Court Upholds Health Care Law

June 28, 2012

In the aftermath of the Supreme Court’s decision to uphold the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), the National Small Business Association (NSBA) is urging lawmakers to commit to working toward serious health care cost containment. Addressing the myriad problems with the U.S. health care system continues to be a top priority of the small-business community, and no issue is of bigger concern than cost.

Justices Ginsburg, Breyer, Sotomayor, And Kagan supported the individual mandate as a valid exercise of federal power under the Commerce clause. Justices Scalia, Kennedy, Thomas, and Alito dissented, arguing that the individual mandate exceeded the power granted to the federal government under the Commerce clause. In their view, the federal government is empowered to regulate commerce but not to mandate that a person engage in commerce.

Chief Justice Roberts, the critical swing vote in this decision, stated that the mandate was not a valid exercise of federal power under the Commerce clause but was a valid exercise of power under the taxing authority of Congress. The penalty for not buying insurance is deemed a tax and the tax is constitutionally valid in Roberts view.

The Court did place some limits on what the feds can require of the states in Medicaid.

NSBA, while opting not to participate in the Supreme Court proceedings, ultimately opposed PPACA due to its failure truly address health care costs and insurance premium prices. Health care costs are among the largest facing small businesses, and absent reforms to PPACA, will continue to grow at an unsustainable pace.

Congress and the administration now must turn their attention to making significant changes to the existing law and taking administrative steps to address our enormous health cost pressures:

  • Reduce Costs and Improve Quality: implement broad, uniform use of health IT; reimburse providers based on quality and outcomes; develop evidence-based protocols for providers; significantly increased market-based consumer behavior; and reform medical malpractice laws.
  • Reshape the Third-Party Payment System: develop a basic benefit package as a floor for all individuals; redirect tax incentives to match both the purchaser—individual or employer—and the cost of the basic benefit package; and end unlimited subsidies of third-party payments to inject the system with consumerism and competition based on quality and price.

Please click here for more on NSBA’s health care policy.

Please click here to read the full decision from the Supreme Court