WASHINGTON (June 28, 2012)— The Tire Industry Association said it was disappointed in the U.S. Supreme Court's vote to uphold the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act, but said it will continue to act responsibly on behalf of its members to provide affordable health care.
The U.S. Supreme Court voted 5-4 today to keep the law championed by President Obama and passed by Congress two years ago. Chief Justice John Roberts sided with the high court's liberal wing in affirming the “individual mandate” that all Americans must buy health insurance or pay a penalty for not doing so.
Roberts disagreed, however, with Justices Sonia Sotomayor, Stephen Breyer, Elena Kagan and Ruth Bader Ginsburg that the Commerce Clause of the Constitution allows for the individual mandate.
“Congress already possesses expansive power to regulate what people do,” he wrote in the majority opinion. “Upholding the Affordable Care Act under the Commerce Clause would give Congress the same license to regulate what people do not do.”
However, Chief Justice Roberts said, the individual mandate is constitutional when construed as a congressional imposition of a tax on those who do not buy health insurance.
TIA said it already took action this week related to the health care law. At its board of directors meeting in Key Largo, Fla., June 25-27, the board voted to roll out a health insurance program “that will keep its members ahead of the curve,” the association said. Further details about the health insurance program will be released shortly, it said.
The high court did strike down the Medicaid expansion in the health care law. Roberts, Kagan and Breyer concurred the expansion violated the Constitution because it threatens states with loss of their existing Medicaid funding if they refuse to comply with the expansion. Justices Ginsburg and Sotomayor dissented on this point.
In a sharply worded dissent, Justice Anthony Kennedy—joined by Justices Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito—said he would have voided the health care law in its entirety.
Reaction to the Supreme Court decision was wildly mixed. The National Federation of Independent Business, the main plaintiff in the case seeking judicial repeal of the health care law, said it would continue to fight for its legislative repeal.
On the other side, the human rights organization Amnesty International, said the court decision was a step in the right direction in acknowledging a universal human right.