The Supreme Court has upheld President Obama’s health care overhaul.
The court Thursday ruled as constitutional the so-called individual mandate requiring most Americans to obtain health insurance starting in 2014.
The ruling is a victory for the president, ensuring for now that his signature domestic policy achievement remains intact.
The Supreme Court is moments away from delivering an opinion that will determine whether “health care reform” is in need of more reform.
Sometime after 10 a.m. ET, the landmark ruling will be released to the public. The opinion is a secret even to President Obama, who will find out about the ruling just like everybody else.
“We all will await the decision and learn of it at the same time that you do,” White House Press Secretary Jay Carney told reporters on Wednesday.
With the opinion poised to have just as much of an impact on Obama’s legacy as it does on the American health care system and economy, staffers in Washington have been preparing behind the scenes for the roughly five scenarios that could play out by late morning Thursday.
- The Supreme Court could uphold the entire law.
- The court could strike down the entire law.
- The court could strike down just the individual mandate — the requirement that most Americans buy health insurance.
- The court could strike down the mandate, and two provisions tied to it — a provision that prohibits insurers from refusing coverage based on pre-existing conditions, and one that prohibits insurers from charging extra based on medical history.
- The Supreme Court could punt, and not make any decision at all — citing a law that bars court challenges over taxes that haven’t yet been paid.
On a related track, the court also will be ruling on a challenge over the expansion of Medicaid to the states.
For now, the decision remains anyone’s guess, but it is sure to have sweeping consequences.
During an election year and a period of shaky economic recovery, what the high court decrees will ripple through the political world and, more importantly, the sector that counts for one-sixth of the American economy.