By the CNN Wire Staff
(CNN) — In its 5-4 decision to uphold the U.S. health care law, the Supreme Court answered several key questions:
-Question: Can the court decide the constitutionality of health care now, or does it have to wait a few years?
To answer, the court had to decide whether a penalty the law imposes on people who do not have health insurance amounts to a tax.
A previously obscure law mandated that the legality of a tax cannot be challenged until it is imposed, and the health care law doesn’t call for penalties until 2014.
-The court’s answer: The court upheld the entire law.
-Question: Is the requirement that people have health insurance — the so-called individual mandate — constitutional?
-The court’s answer: Chief Justice John Roberts wrote that the commerce clause did not apply, but the mandate stands under the taxing clause.
-Question: If the individual mandate is unconstitutional, can the rest of the law stand, or is the whole thing unconstitutional?
-The court’s answer: The mandate is constitutional, rendering moot further questions on the rest of the law.
-Question: Can the federal government force states to expand their share of Medicaid costs and administration?
-The court’s answer: Yes, but the justices ruled that the federal government cannot remove existing Medicaid funding if the states choose not to participate in the new program.
CNN’s Bill Mears contributed to this report.