The U.S. Supreme Court upheld the Affordable Healthcare Act by a 5-4 vote in chambers on Thursday afternoon.
The decision means the huge overhaul, still only partly in effect, will proceed and pick up momentum over the next several years, affecting the way that countless Americans receive and pay for their personal medical care. The ruling also hands Obama a campaign-season victory in rejecting arguments that Congress went too far in requiring most Americans to have health insurance or pay a penalty.
Breaking with the court’s other conservative justices, Chief Justice John Roberts announced the judgment that allows the law to go forward with its aim of covering more than 30 million uninsured Americans.
The justices rejected two of the administration’s three arguments in support of the insurance requirement. But the court said the mandate can be construed as a tax. “Because the Constitution permits such a tax, it is not our role to forbid it, or to pass upon its wisdom or fairness,” Roberts said.
The court found problems with the law’s expansion of Medicaid, but even there said the expansion could proceed as long as the federal government does not threaten to withhold states’ entire Medicaid allotment if they don’t take part in the law’s extension.
The court’s four liberal justices, Stephen Breyer, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Elena Kagan and Sonia Sotomayor, joined Roberts in the outcome.
Justices Samuel Alito, Anthony Kennedy, Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas dissented.
President Obama received the word along with millions of Americans on the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling on the Affordable Healthcare Act. The nation’s highest court voted in favor of the constitutionality of healthcare reform. In a statement from the White House, President Obama called it a victory for people all over the nation, whos elives are more secure “because of the this law.” Obama added that it is now time to set the politics aside and “move forward.” Republicans will continue their efforts to repeal “Obamacare.”
Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell says the Supreme Court’s ruling on the Affordable Healthcare Act is “extremely disappointing for Virginia and for America.” He says the state will take the steps it needs to in order to comply with the “flawed law.” Governor McDonnell said expansion of the Medicaid program would cost Virginia over two-billion dollars over a ten year period.
Congressman Robert C. “Bobby” Scott (D-VA-03), a dedicated advocate of universal health care released this statement on the passing of the Affordable Healthcare Act in the U.S. Supreme Court:
“I am pleased that the U.S. Supreme Court decision leaves intact nearly all of the provisions of the Affordable Care Act, most importantly the “individual mandate.” This law is a milestone towards expanding affordable health coverage to all Americans, regardless of age, income, or preexisting condition.”
Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli is calling the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision on the healthcare reform law “a dark day for the American people.” Cuccinelli, who challenged the constitutionality of healthcare reform, emphasized the court’s decision “goes against the very principle that America has a federal government of limited powers, a principle the Founding Fathers clearly wrote into the Constitution.”
Senator A. Donald McEachin (D-9, Henrico) said “the Supreme Court upheld the Affordable Healthcare Act, thereby ensuring Americans’ deserved access to quality healthcare. This law means that Americans cannot be turned away when they are sick or injured because of income or a prior existing condition. Now, I can only hope that the Attorney General and Governor McDonnell and their republican colleagues in the General Assembly will stop dragging their feet, and get to work helping Virginians by creating the health exchange to assist uninsured Virginians in receiving access to quality, affordable healthcare. That’s what the law requires and they need to stop their partisan diatribes, follow the law and serve the Commonwealth.”