The U.S. Supreme Court upheld President Obama's landmark healthcare law, the Affordable Care Act, this morning in a 5-4 ruling.
To the surprise of, well, everyone, Chief Justice John Roberts joined with the court's liberals to support the individual mandate -- the requirement that most Americans buy health insurance or pay a fine -- which will remain constitutional as a tax.
"The bottom line," according to SCOTUSBlog, is that "the entire ACA is upheld, with the exception that the federal government's power to terminate states' Medicaid funds is narrowly read. [...] Chief Justice Roberts' vote saved the ACA."
Justice Anthony Kennedy, usually the court's swing vote, dissented, reading from the bench that he and three conservative justices believe "the entire Act before us is invalid in its entirety."
Mitt Romney was quick to criticize the decision:
The court, he said, may have ruled the law constitutional, but "what they did not do is say that Obamacare was a good law. ObamaCare was a bad law yesterday, it is a bad law today... If we want to replace Obamacare, we have to replace Obama.
Obama championed the ruling as "victory for people all over this country":
They've reaffirmed a fundamental principle: That here in America, in the wealthiest nation on Earth, no illness or accident should lead to any family's financial ruin... It should be pretty clear by now that I didn't do this because it was good politics," he said. "I did it because I believed it was good for the country.
Under the ACA, Americans will be be required to buy health insurance or pay a penalty of 1 percent of their income to the IRS. Only about 6 percent of the population will actually be required to buy health insurance or face a tax under the mandate, since most people already have coverage or will get it through Medicare, according to the Urban Institute.
The House will vote on a full repeal the week of July 9, according to House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va.
In related news, CNN and Fox News jumped the gun this morning and reported the law had been struck down; similarly, a handful of Republican lawmakers celebrated prematurely via Twitter.