Dahlia Lithwick on the Supreme Court’s Health Care Ruling

Slate's online video magazine.
June 28 2012 2:12 PM

Obamacare Survives

Dahlia Lithwick’s reaction to the historic Supreme Court ruling.

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Angela Botticella of Know Your Care celebrates with a supporter outside the U.S. Supreme Court after the court upheld the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act on Thursday.

Photo by Saul Loeb/AFP/GettyImages

Read the rest of Slate’s coverage on the Supreme Court upholding the Affordable Care Act.

In a 5-4 ruling, the Supreme Court has upheld President Obama’s health care reform, including the individual mandate. Chief Justice John Roberts joined the four reliably liberal-leaning justices to affirm that Congress can require people to purchase health insurance without violating the Constitution. The only wrinkle was the justification. The majority opinion held that the individual mandate is justified not under the Commerce Clause but as a kind of tax that Congress can levy. 

The court did throw a bit of water on another key provision of the health care law: the proposed expansion of Medicaid. Roberts’ opinion held that the federal government cannot compel states to expand Medicaid by threatening to cut off existing funds. So states will have to decide if they want to opt in.

Slate’s Dahlia Lithwick was at the Supreme Court for the ruling and offers her instant reaction and analysis in the video below.

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