The U.S. Supreme Court decided Thursday to uphold most of President Barack Obama’s health care reform law, which extends health care insurance to 30 million Americans.
The court’s landmark ruling was the right decision for the American people.
The High Court upheld the most controversial and key core provision of the law — the individual mandate requiring all Americans pay for health insurance or pay penalty.
Most Republicans, including Republican challenger Mitt Romney, contended the law unconstitutionally extends the power of the federal government by requiring that all Americans buy insurance or face a penalty. Twenty-six states and several small business groups challenged the law.
But the Supreme Court ruled 5-4 that the Affordable Care Act centerpiece requirement that most people have health insurance or pay a penalty is constitutional. The insurance requirement does not go into effect until 2014 and people who pay the penalty won’t do so until they file their 2014 income tax forms by April 15, 2015.
The surprise was that Chief Justice John Roberts voted along with the more moderate to liberal leaning justices to uphold the individual mandate.
Apart from the individual mandate, the court also upheld other popular elements of the law such as preventive car and coverage for young adults on parents’ plans.
The court upheld the provisions in the laws that would prevent health care companies from denying coverage to new customers with medical conditions. It also requires health care companies to cover young adults on their parents’ plans through age 26.
Unfortunately the court ruled against the significant expansion of Medicaid, the joint federal-state health care program for the poor.
Overall the president’s signature achievement of health care reform remains the law of the land and more people will have access to health care. This was more than a political win for the president, it was a resounding victory for the American people.