The Affordable Care Act Case Analysis

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The Affordable Care Act decision could have been an expansion of the powers of the federal government under the Commerce Clause. Instead, Roberts sought to redefine the penalty as a tax, so to avoid defining it as a power under Congress power to regulate interstate commerce. Although I agree with Roberts reasoning so as not to uphold the law under the commerce clause, I also find the redefining of the individual mandate as a problematic precedent. However, I believe the greatest issues with the decision are actually the issue of Severability and the way in which the Medicare expansion was struck down. The implementation of the Affordable Care Act over the last few years have shown by making the Medicare expansion essentially optional it has …show more content…
Rather it makes going without insurance just another thing the government taxes, like buying gasoline or earning income” (National Federation, Roberts 32). This as Roberts argues, is akin to most taxes we pay and although it is an attempt to encourage a particular activity, this does not affect Congress’ enumerated power to lay and collect taxes. Scalia in his dissent argues that making this penalty into a tax is in fact a departure from past precedent, “we have never held --- never---- that a penalty imposed for violation of the law was so trivial as to be in effect a tax. We have never held that any action imposed for the violation of the law is an exercise of Congress’ taxing power ---- even when the statute calls it a tax, much less when the statute repeatedly calls it a penalty” (National Federation, Scalia 18). Scalia then goes on to gather evidence that the insurance was a requirement by law, not a Roberts’s interpretation, places it as a tax for those without insurance. Throughout the text of the Affordable Care Act, the penalty was clearly a punishment, for violating the mandate. In fact, the act refers to, what Roberts comes to find to be a tax as a penalty 18 times (National Federation, Scalia 21). Roberts acknowledges this, but points out that, “it is well …show more content…
It was believed that through the expansion and the individual mandate that healthcare costs would be able to be reduced for both patients and healthcare providers. This is why the government cuts the payments to hospitals under both Medicare and Medicaid. Scalia warned that by striking down part of the ACA and leaving the rest intact that, it risked consequences, which Congress never intended to be a part of the Affordable Care Act. This has come to fruition as nineteen states as of September 2016, have yet to accept the expansion(Norris). Within these states it has created a coverage gap, where people do not qualify for Medicare nor can they pay for insurance on their own, nor are they eligible for subsidies. This has resulted in 3.1 million people falling into this category, which reduces the reform’s ability to avoid cost shifting (Norris). This was certainly not the intention the Affordable Care Act and this gap, is also coupled with a reduce payments to hospitals, which were expected to balance out as cost shifting was

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