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Obamacare ruling won’t affect Romneycare

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Charles Dharapak AP Reader Robert Howard asks, “If ACA’s individual mandate is repealed, could Romneycare be challenged/repealed as well?”

The short answer is: No, it couldn’t. The question in front of the Supreme Court is whether the federal government can require most citizens to carry health insurance. Even if the justices decide the federal government cannot do that, Massachusetts will still have a law on its books requiring all Bay State residents to buy coverage. That law will not be touched by a Supreme Court decision.

“There are no legal issues before the Court in which a decision would either trump the Massachusetts law or compel a review of that law,” Harvard Law School’s Lawrence Tribe told Boston’s NPR affiliate, WBUR .

The Massachusetts mandate did face one challenge after it was passed, from a man named George Fountas, who declined to purchase health insurance despite the state’s mandate. Fountas argued that, among other things, the fine amounted to “cruel and unusual punishment” for not carrying coverage. A Massachusetts court dismissed that case, writing that “it cannot be said that the forfeiture of only a few hundred dollars is a penalty so disproportionate to the gravity of failing to comply with a legitimate governmental regulatory scheme as to exceed the limits of civilized standards.”

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