A Guide to the Supreme Court’s Affordable Care Act Decision
On the last day of the 2011-2012 Term, the United States Supreme Court issued its long-anticipated
opinion about the Affordable Care Act (ACA). In a case known as
National Federation of Independent
Business v. Sebelius,
the Court agreed to consider the constitutionality of two major provisions of the ACA: the individual mandate and the Medicaid expansion. A majority of the Court upheld the individual mandate. And, while the Court found the Medicaid expansion unconstitutionally coercive of states, because states did not have adequate notice to voluntarily consent and the Secretary could potentially withhold all of a state’s existing federal Medicaid funds for non-compliance, a majority of the Court found that this issue was appropriately remedied by circumscribing the Se cretary’s enforcement authority, thus leaving the Medicaid expansion intact in the ACA. This policy brief describes the Court’s decision and looks ahead to the implementation of health reform now that the constitutionality of the ACA has been resolved.