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Supreme Court Ruling in Plain English

The Supreme Court has ruled that the Affordable Care Act, including its individual health insurance mandate, is constitutional. The Court did not uphold the individual mandate on the grounds that Congress can use its power to regulate commerce between the states to require everyone to buy health insurance. Rather, the Court agreed that the penalty that someone must pay if he or she refuses to buy insurance is a kind of tax that Congress can impose using its taxing power.

Because the mandate survives, the Court did not need to decide what other parts of the statute were constitutional, except for a provision that requires states to comply with new eligibility requirements for Medicaid or risk losing their funding. On that question, the Court held that the provision is constitutional as long as states would only lose new funds if they didn’t comply with the new requirements, rather than all of their funding.

The Court’s ruling does not end the debate over health care reform, which will figure dominantly in the November elections.

The Court’s landmark decision means that more Americans will continue to have access to colorectal cancer screening, and that cancer patients will not need to fear losing their insurance or being denied coverage.

Fight Colorectal Cancer will continue to work with Congress and the Administration on implementation of the law, including revising a section of the law that currently holds individuals liable for cost sharing when a colorectal cancer screening also involves the removal of polyps.

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