In 2010, Congress enacted the Patient Protection and Affordable Care
Act in order to increase the number of Americans covered by health
insurance and decrease the cost of health care. One key provision is
the individual mandate, which requires most Americans to maintain
“minimum essential” health insurance coverage. 26 U. S. C. §5000A.
For individuals who are not exempt, and who do not receive health
insurance through an employer or government program, the means of
satisfying the requirement is to purchase insurance from a private
company. Beginning in 2014, those who do not comply with the
mandate must make a “[s]hared responsibility payment” to the Fed-
eral Government. §5000A(b)(1). The Act provides that this “penalty”
will be paid to the Internal Revenue Service with an individual’s tax-
es, and “shall be assessed and collected in the same manner” as tax
penalties. §§5000A(c), (g)(1).
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"The very purpose of a Bill of Rights was to withdraw certain subjects from the vicissitudes of political controversy, to place them beyond the reach of majorities and officials and to establish them as legal principles to be applied by the courts. One's right to life, liberty, and property, to free speech, a free press, freedom of worship and assembly, and other fundamental rights may not be submitted to vote; they depend on the outcome of no elections.
If there is any fixed star in our constitutional constellation, it is that no official, high or petty, can prescribe what shall be orthodox in politics, nationalism, religion, or other matters of opinion or force citizens to confess by word or act their faith therein.