In a narrow vote, the U.S. Supreme Court is upholding the 2010 healthcare reform law. Chief Justice John Roberts joined the four liberals on the court in ruling that the individual mandate provision of the law can stand as a tax. The mandate requires most Americans to purchase health insurance coverage or face monetary penalties. The individual mandate is the heart of the Affordable Care Act, President Obama's signature legislative achievement. The ruling is a huge victory for Obama and congressional Democrats.
Healthcare reform is the Supreme Court's most high-profile case in years. During three days of oral arguments in March, justices asked tough questions about the individual mandate. Justices also pondered whether the entire law could stand if the individual mandate were struck down. The sweeping law spans nearly three-thousand pages.
After passage by a Democratic-controlled Congress, President Obama signed the landmark healthcare reform bill into law in 2010. It instantly became Obama's signature legislative accomplishment. Critics dubbed it "Obamacare" and initiated legal challenges across the U.S. Federal appeals court rulings split on the constitutionality of the individual mandate. Some Republican-led states also challenged an expansion of Medicaid in the healthcare law.