Posted: Jun 28, 2012 8:56 AM by CBS News
Updated: Jun 29, 2012 9:15 AM
In a historic decision, the Supreme Court on Thursday upheld the critical piece of President Obama's Affordable Care Act, the individual mandate.
By upholding the individual mandate -- the requirement for all Americans to acquire health insurance -- the court kept what many described as the "heart" of the law. The decision creates some certainty surrounding federal health care policy, allowing federal and state rulemakers to, for now, implement the law.
The court did strike down one major provision of the law, which would have expanded Medicaid coverage. Currently, Medicaid is a joint federal-state program that provides health care to certain poor Americans, such as children and the elderly. In 2014, the Affordable Care Act would have opened up Medicaid to anyone with an income under 138 percent of the federal poverty line.
Several states argued the expansion of the program would have placed an undue burden on the states. If a state had chosen not to expand the program as the law required, it would have had to opt out of Medicaid completely -- something no state could afford to do. The court agreed that the federal government's ability to revoke a state's Medicaid funding is limited.
The high court's move hardly ends the political controversy surrounding the law; if anything, the decision to uphold most of the law is sure to renew calls for lawmakers to repeal the Affordable Care Act legislatively