The ACA ruling is good for America because it actually limits the powers of the federal government moving forward. Roberts, in his opinion, set forth a foundation that will be expanded upon in future court rulings. Years from now, the key phrase from this ruling will be this:
“The Commerce Clause is not a general license to regulate an individual from cradle to grave, simply because he will predictably engage in particular transactions. Any police power to regulate individuals as such, as opposed to their activities, remains vested in the States.”
This relatively benign-sounding, two-sentence statement sets the stage for a significant wall that will prevent Congress and the president from passing legislation that impacts the everyday life of Americans. A future court ruling, be it on environmental regulations or education, will reference those two sentences in striking down the government’s action.
This ruling also protects the role of private health insurance in America. As Justice Roberts wrote: “[t]he Federal Government does not have the power to order people to buy health insurance.” That one statement can be read as meaning that a single-payer, government-run health insurance program for all would be unconstitutional.
This statement also means that there are limits to federal regulation in regards to what health insurance to cover. This will surely come up in the Catholic bishops lawsuit involving federally required coverage for contraception and abortion.
So the ACA ruling is good, but for reasons that are not really being discussed currently.