The mandate is constitutional: In Plain English

Published: Thursday, June 28 2012 12:00 a.m. MDT

Our take: The Court's ruling on the Affordable Care Act (ACA) may lead to Congress regulating more than just health care.

Defending the constitutionality of the mandate, the government's primary argument was that Congress can require everyone to buy health insurance using its power under the Commerce Clause of the Constitution, because the failure to buy insurance shifts the costs of health care for the uninsured to health care providers, insurance companies, and everyone who does have health insurance.

The most important part of the Courtís opinion on the mandate came from the Chief Justice, John Roberts. He acknowledged that Congress has a broad power under the Commerce Clause, but he emphasized that Congressís power to regulate commerce assumes that there is commercial activity to regulate. In his view, the mandate creates activity, rather than regulating it.

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