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.