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SAM Magazine—Washington, D.C., June 29, 2012—The U.S. Supreme Court voted 5 to 4 to uphold the health care reforms passed in 2010, commonly known as Obamacare, saying the law was justified under the taxing power of the Federal government. The ruling leaves the law almost entirely intact, and means that companies will have to continue preparing for implementation.

Chief Justice Roberts joined Justices Breyer, Ginzberg, Sotomayor, and Kagan in upholding the law. Justice Kennedy, often the court’s swing vote, sided with the minority, who believed “the entire Act before us is invalid in its entirety.”

The debate over health care is certain to continue, as Republicans have vowed to continue efforts to overturn or repeal it. Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney has said he will repeal it if elected.

Passed in 2010, the health care law aims to expand health care coverage to nearly all Americans. It provides subsidies to poorer and middle-class households as well as to some businesses for insuring their workers. However, the Supreme Court ruling appears to limit the Federal government’s ability to require states to expand Medicaid coverage for poor and nearly poor households or pay a penalty, as the law had called for.

While some of the more popular elements of the law are already in effect, the individual mandate for buying insurance and many other key elements don’t go into effect until 2014. At that time, states are required to have established “health insurance exchanges,” and individuals will have to buy insurance—for many, with the government subsizing a portion of the cost—or pay a penalty of one percent of their income.

More to the point for winter resorts, employers who have more than 50 employees must continue preparations for the law "Prepare, prepare, prepare, this is coming," said NSAA government affairs director Geraldine Link. NSAA has prepared materials about the law in the member services area of its website,, and encourages resorts to use them.