Focus turns to completing 2012 and 2013 compliance tasks following the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision.
Today, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that virtually the entire Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 (ACA) is constitutional (with the exception of a Medicaid issue that is not directly relevant to employers), validating the full range of past, present, and future ACA requirements. Employers now must continue to press ahead with 2012 and 2013 ACA compliance requirements, particularly if these tasks were placed on a back burner awaiting the decision.
Writing for a 5-4 majority in National Federation of Independent Business et al. v. Sebelius, Chief Justice John G. Roberts, Jr., found that the individual mandate in the ACA is a permissible exercise of Congress’s taxing authority, stating that “[t]he Affordable Care Act’s requirement that certain individuals pay a financial penalty for not obtaining health insurance may reasonably be characterized as a tax.” Chief Justice Roberts also wrote that “because the Constitution permits such a tax, it is not our role to forbid it, or to pass upon its wisdom or fairness.” Chief Justice Roberts was joined by Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Sonia Sotomayor, Stephen G. Breyer, and Elena Kagan. Justices Antonin Scalia, Anthony M. Kennedy, Clarence Thomas, and Samuel Anthony Alito, Jr., dissented.