The Supreme Court has ruled in a 5-4 decision to uphold the Affordable Care Act, declaring its individual mandate to be constitutional.
The argument against the constitutionality of the individual mandate had been that it violated states' rights, but proponents cited the Constitution's commerce clause as justification. However, the court seems to have found a way around the argument, ruling that the mandate was constitutional anyway under Congress's ability to tax.
In other words, the government can't force you to buy insurance, but Congress can tax you if you don't.
Considered to be the defining domestic policy acheivement for President Barack Obama, the Affordable Care Act -- often referred to as "Obamacare" -- has been a political lightning rod since it was passed in March 2010 by Democrats along party lines with virtually no Republican support.
Supporters of the law have insisted that it would provide coverage to millions of Americans who could not find or afford coverage before, lower health care costs in the long run and prohibit insurance companies from refusing to cover sick people.
Opponents have insisted that the law is a massive government overreach that will further balloon the nation's deficit without bringing health care costs down and will cost the nation millions of jobs as the new regulations strangle businesses.
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