In its ruling, the court found that the heart of the law -- the "individual mandate" - requiring all Americans to purchase health insurance by 2014 or pay a penalty could be held as constitutional under the power to create and collect taxes granted to Congress by Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution.
"It is reasonable to construe what Congress has done as increasing taxes on those who have a certain amount of income, but choose to go without insurance," wrote Chief Justice John Roberts in the court's majority opinion. "Such legislation is within Congress' power to tax."
"If an individual does not maintain health insurance, the only consequence is that he must make an additional payment to the IRS when he pays his taxes," wrote Roberts, adding "the mandate is not a legal command to buy insurance. Rather, it makes going without insurance just another thing the Government taxes, like buying gasoline or earning an income."
Roberts also wrote that the court's ruling "does not express any opinion on the wisdom of the Affordable Healthcare Act."
Since many other provisions of health care reform depend on cost savings and revenue generated by the individual mandate for long-term funding, the court's ruling removed much of the doubt regarding the future of the Affordable Care Act.
Publicly popular aspects of the law already in effect and now presumed safe include provisions prohibiting insurance companies from denying coverage due to pre-existing conditions and allowing parents to include their adult children under their insurance coverage up to age 26.
How They Voted: Voting for the majority decision were Chief Justice Roberts, along with Justices Sonia Sotomayor, Stephen Breyer, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Elena Kagan. Dissenting were Justices Anthony Kennedy, Samuel Alito, Clarence Thomas and Antonin Scalia.