Reporting by Kyle Emshwiller and Jessica Webb-Ayer
The wait is over: The U.S. Supreme Court has decided that the massive healthcare reform law (also known as the Affordable Care Act, or ACA) enacted in March 2010 is constitutional. So what happened, and what does this mean for employers?
You can read the Supreme Court’s decision on Health Care Reform here:
The most publicized challenge to the ACA concerned the individual mandate, which starting in 2014 will require most individuals to obtain health insurance or pay a fine. The Court upheld this provision, asserting that the mandate is constitutional as a tax.
The Court also looked at three other ACA-related issues:
Anti-Injunction Act—The Anti-Injunction Act prohibits taxpayers from filing a lawsuit to challenge a tax until the tax goes into effect and they are required to pay it. The Court concluded that the law did not bar the lawsuit from proceeding.
Severability—Since the Court upheld the individual mandate provision, the question of severability—whether or not the ACA could stand without the individual mandate—was not applicable.
Medicaid. Finally, the Court determined that the ACA's expansion of Medicaid is lawful as long as the government doesn't penalize states that decide not to participate in the new program by taking away their existing Medicaid funding.
The Court’s ruling in this case means employers need to continue their implementation of various ACA requirements. They also need to start preparing for 2014, when many of the employer-related provisions become effective (e.g., the employer “pay or play” provision). We will provide more in-depth analysis on the Court’s decision soon.
Chief Justice Roberts wrote the opinion.
Stay tuned. BLR's legal editors are reviewing the Supreme Court’s opinion. Stay tuned for in-depth news and analysis on the ruling.
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