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In her opinion of the Supreme Court’s decision to uphold the Affordable Care Act on Thursday, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg made note of Mitt Romney’s Massachusetts health care law as a reason why the individual mandate was constitutional. While Ginsburg was a part of the majority opinion, she had differing reasons as to why the mandate was constitutional. The rest of the justices found that under the Commerce Clause, the mandate requiring all U.S. citizens to buy health insurance was not valid. They upheld it as a tax.
Ginsburg, however, said it should have been upheld under the Commerce Clause, and explained how Congress followed Massachusetts’ lead in preventing only sick people from signing up for health insurance:
“Massachusetts, Congress was told, solved the adverse selection problem. By requiring most residents to obtain insurance … the Commonwealth ensured that insurers would not be left with only the sick as customers. As a result, federal lawmakers observed, Massachusetts succeeded where other States had failed.”
Ginsburg continued, citing briefs “noting the Commonwealth’s reforms” and “noting the success of Massachusetts’ reforms.” She noted that the reforms reduced the number of uninsured to less than 2 per cent, the lowest rate in the nation.
“In coupling the minimum coverage provision with guaranteed issue and community-rating prescriptions, Congress followed Massachusetts’ lead,” Ginsburg wrote.
Romney has been knocked before — especially during the Republican primary season — for enacting similar health-care reforms as the governor of Massachusetts to the one President Barack Obama signed into law in 2010. Romney has argued that the law works at the state level, but should not be applied nationally. He said Thursday that he would “repeal Obamacare” if elected president.
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