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Supreme Court Upholds Health Care Law

The Supreme Court announced Thursday morning that the Affordable Care Act mandating every American to purchase health insurance is constitutional.

The Supreme Court announced Thursday morning that the Affordable Care Act, colloquially known as "Obamacare," mandating every American to purchase health insurance is constitutional and should stand.

The court decided that the government is permitted to penalize individuals who refuse to purchase health insurance, according to NBC News. The Supreme Court ruled that the federal government can levy a "tax" on individuals who do not buy into the system, according to NBC News.

The individual health care mandate is the key provision in Obamacare, and some legal experts thought that it could be ruled unconstitutional by the Supreme Court. Had it been stripped from the law, many other provisions–such as covering people with pre-existing conditions and not capping insurance coverage–most likely would have been removed, as well.

The decision is a major victory for the Obama administration, which touted the law passed in March 2010 as its signature legislative achievement. However, there are other Americans who decried the law because of concerns about the federal government's role in regulating the health care industry.

The Supreme Court justices listened to oral arguments on the case in late March before issuing their decision at 10 a.m. Thursday. The court voted 5-4 to uphold the law with Chief Justice John Roberts casting the deciding vote and writing the majority opinion.

Washington State Attorney General Rob McKenna recently defended Washington state's participation in the suit challenging the constitutionality of the mandated purchase of health insurance in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, according to the Issaquah Press.

Health care experts interviewed by the Christian Science Monitor believe that the law can survive even if the mandate is declared unconstitutional.

Even without the mandate, the law’s expansion of Medicaid eligibility would cover some 16 million people, about half the total number of people who would gain insurance if the whole law is upheld, according to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO).

In addition, federal subsidies and tax credits for low- and middle-income people to buy insurance in the new marketplaces, or “exchanges” – think Travelocity for health care – will make coverage more affordable.

The Associated Press plans to host a chat on its Google+ page at 1 p.m. PDT to discuss the impact on Americans and the 2012 presidential election.

How do you feel about the Supreme Court’s decision to uphold Obamacare? Tell us in the comments section below.

Paul Thorpe June 29, 2012 at 05:00 AM
There is no good alternative to the Affordable Care Act - unless socialized medicine appeals to you. Without one or the other, including the tax on healthy people who refuse to participate until they become sick, health care costs would leavae us all unable to afford care.
Harborite June 29, 2012 at 02:51 PM
People don’t seem to realize that Roberts’ decision has essentially, in an election year, handed this issue back to the voters, where it belongs, while also giving the legislature some room to maneuver. Obamacare was rammed through against the wishes of the majority. Now, the majority can unram it or solidify it, as it chooses, but at least what happens now will happen with the consent of the governed. Bottom line: System worked, Roberts worked it.

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