The Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) individual mandate is perhaps the most controversial piece of the health reform legislation. The law requires nearly all Americans maintain “minimal essential” health insurance coverage beginning January 1, 2014.
Several states filed suit against the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services claiming the mandate is unconstitutional. The states were unsuccessful in their suit, and the Supreme Court’s June 2012 decision upheld the law that required those who fail to comply make a “shared responsibility payment.” This penalty will be collected by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) in the same manner as other tax penalties.
Attorney Neal Graham with the firm Harris Shelton Hanover Walsh in Memphis explains how the Supreme Court rationalized the constitutionality of the mandate:
“Historically, a ‘tax’ is a payment made by an individual as a result of the receipt of a privilege or benefit from the government.” While uninsured individuals…
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