Cheating Death Through Taxes: Chief Justice Roberts and the ACA
First few Article Sentences
On June 26, Chief Justice Roberts once again demonstrated the wisdom of the nation’s founders, joining with separate groups of four Justices to fulfill Benjamin Franklin’s oft-quoted aphorism: “[N]othing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.” The Court majorities ruled that although sitting at home doing nothing may be bad for your health, it’s not commerce and Congress can’t regulate your inactivity. Congress can tax it, however; so the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 (the “ACA”) is constitutional. Much has been written and said about the survival of the individual mandate, but too little attention has been devoted to the other significant part of the decision—striking the ACA’s mandatory expansion of Medicaid—and how the Court’ s analysis of Congress’s powers to tax, spend and to regulate commerce will affect Congress’s options in further reform efforts.
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