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Obamacare individual mandate passes legal muster with Supreme Court

The long-awaited decision on the Affordable Care Act, more commonly known as Obamacare, has been upheld in its entirety by the U.S. Supreme Court.

The individual mandate, which was at the heart of the case was found to be unconstitutional under the commerce clause, but fully legal under the tax penalty portion of the bill.

In remarks by legal experts in the last days leading up to today’s decision, there was indication that the Supreme Court would likely leave Obamacare intact.

Many believe this was the smart move by the Supreme Court for a number of reasons. For one, the Affordable Care Act was passed by the House and Senate and signed by the president.

If the high court took down Obamacare, it would mean that the power of the legislative and Executive branch no longer has real power to govern.

Striking down parts of Obamacare would then put the Supreme Court in the position of making the law unbalanced and ineffective.

There was also a potentially partisan political element to the Affordable Care Act decision. If the justices had decided to strike down the entire law, it would have been viewed by Democrats as bias from the five conservative Justices.

While Obamacare was upheld, parts of the law that included incentive for states to go along with various provisions were weakened.

The mandatory Medicaid expansion provision was one of the keys to making health care accessible to low income people. The Supreme Court did not uphold that portion of the law. Therefore, states can still opt-out of offering Medicaid as a health insurance choice.

Recent polls indicated that as a whole, the Affordable Care Act was not popular. But when asked about individual parts of the bill, like guaranteed insurability for those with pre-existing conditions had majority support.

Democratic pundits say the Obama Administration never fully explained to the public the advantages of the Affordable Care Act.

Since the law has been upheld, millions of Americans can now expect a rebate check from insurance companies. That’s because the Affordable Care Act requires insurance companies that did not spend 80 percent of premiums collected on healthcare services to refund the difference to policyholders.

"Millions of consumers and businesses will receive $1.1 billion in rebates this summer from health insurance plans,” according to the Washington Post.

There are other popular parts of Obamacare that consumers liked. Children under the age of 26, still living at home, can now continue to be covered under their parent’s health insurance policies.

Additional parts of Obamacare will kick-in in 2013, and 2014, many of which will make health insurance more affordable for those who are currently uninsured.

Related:

Obamacare policy holders get rebate checks if law is not overturned by Supreme Court

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