"Construing the Commerce Clause to permit Congress to regulate individuals precisely because they are doing nothing would open a new and potentially vast domain to congressional authority. Congress already possesses expansive power to regulate what people do. Upholding the Affordable Care Act under the Commerce Clause would give Congress the same license to regulate what people do not do."
Roberts went on to write that: "The Affordable Care Act's requirement that certain individuals pay a financial penalty for not obtaining health insurance may reasonably be characterized as a tax. Because the Constitution permits such a tax, it is not our role to forbid it, or to pass upon its wisdom or fairness."
The release of the ruling at 10 a.m. this morning was met with shouts and cheers and screams on the sun-bleached steps of the Supreme Court, reported HealthLeaders Media editor Joe Cantlupe.
Michael Newman, MD, a Washington, D.C.-based internist who practices a few blocks from the Supreme Court, was one of hundreds of bystanders outside the court. Wearing his white physician's coat, he praised the ruling.
"This will be a foundation for the future as we go forward to improve healthcare," Newman told HealthLeaders Media. "We recognize that healthcare is evolving and there are things that have to be improved, but there is no turning back now from what the Supreme Court has done."