June 28, 2012 | last updated June 28, 2012 11:13 am

What did the Supreme Court decide on health care?

In its 5-4 decision to uphold the U.S. health care law, the Supreme Court answered several key questions:

-Question: Can the court decide the constitutionality of health care now, or does it have to wait a few years?

To answer, the court had to decide whether a penalty the law imposes on people who do not have health insurance amounts to a tax.

A previously obscure law mandated that the legality of a tax cannot be challenged until it is imposed, and the health care law doesn't call for penalties until 2014.

-The court's answer: The court upheld the entire law.

-Question: Is the requirement that people have health insurance -- the so-called individual mandate -- constitutional?

-The court's answer: Chief Justice John Roberts wrote that the commerce clause did not apply, but the mandate stands under the taxing clause.

-Question: If the individual mandate is unconstitutional, can the rest of the law stand, or is the whole thing unconstitutional?

-The court's answer: The mandate is constitutional, rendering moot further questions on the rest of the law.

-Question: Can the federal government force states to expand their share of Medicaid costs and administration?

-The court's answer: Yes, but the justices ruled that the federal government cannot remove existing Medicaid funding if the states choose not to participate in the new program.

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