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National Federation of Independent Business v. Sebelius: The Constitutionality of Health Care Reform and the Spending Clause

The United States Supreme Court recently upheld the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, also known as “Obamacare,” as a valid exercise of congressional authority.  The decision, which was one of the most anxiously anticipated in years, caught many people by surprise when Chief Justice Roberts sided with the liberal wing of the Court and upheld the individual mandate as a valid exercise of congressional authority to tax.  This Essay examines the decision in a political and legal context and provides commentary on the case.  It also suggests that the Court’s holding on the unconstitutionality of the expanded Medicaid provision may provide precedent for other challenges to congressional action in areas affecting the states.

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