In a major victory for the Obama administration, the US Supreme Court on Thursday ruled that the entirety of President Barack Obama's health care law is constitutional.
In a 5-4 vote, the justices ruled the 2010 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act's individual mandate, which requires citizens to buy health insurance by 2014 or else pay a penalty, was constitutional under the taxing power of the government.
Chief Justice John Roberts sided with the four more liberal members of the court while Justices Scalia, Thomas, Alito and Kennedy dissented.
Roberts, writing for the majority, noted that while the individual mandate fell afoul of the Constitution's Commerce clause, it should be upheld under the government's power to tax its people.
"Our precedent demonstrates that Congress had the power to impose the exaction in Section 5000A under the taxing power, and that Section 5000A need not be read to do more than impose a tax," Roberts wrote. "This is sufficient to sustain it."
Kennedy, writing for the minority, said, "In our view, the entire Act before us is invalid in its entirety."
The White House announced that Obama would address the ruling within "the next couple of hours."
The high court also upheld the remaining sections of the 2,700 page law, and further held that the health care law's requirement that states increase Medicaid eligibility or else lose all federal Medicaid funding is not unconstitutionally coercive.
The suit to block the law was brought by 26 states and the National Federation of Independent Business.
The law was vigorously opposed by each of the major Republican presidential candidates during the 2012 primary season, including presumptive nominee Mitt Romney.