Today is an historic day for the American people and the Obama Administration.
President Obama’s famed Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010, also known in conservative circles as “Obamacare,” has been upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court. The president and his supporters fought off a challenge that the law’s “individual mandate” didn’t fall under the Commerce Clause of the Constitution. They also got support on their expansion of Medicare for the poor.
Let me explain a few things quickly, so you don’t get lost in the hoopla and jargon:
- The Commerce Clause of the Constitution, in summary, says that the federal government has the right to regulate interstate commerce. In this case, since Americans can now buy insurance in an open marketplace across state lines … that fits the definition of “interstate commerce.”
- The individual mandate was an original key part of the 2010 healthcare law. It says that all Americans must have some form of health insurance by 2014 or face a tax penalty. The idea is that if you drive more people to the healthcare marketplace, then it will drive down prices.
In short, the Supreme Court has opened the doors for many people to move toward Obama’s health care system of more inclusion. The individual mandate, combined with several other features of the plan, will become more of the status quo in health care services.
The Affordable Care Act is expected to insure up to 30 million of the 50 million uninsured Americans.
Wanna guess who is NOT happy with this ruling? Republicans and health insurance companies. The GOP was banking on the fact that in an election year they could strike down the president’s most well-known piece of legislation. Health insurers are upset that they cannot rake in tens of billions of dollars in profit annually. That has probably been reduced to, say, only a few billion per year. *side-eye*
As far as the members of the court, the decision was almost down to party affiliation. Conservative justices Scalia, Kennedy, Thomas, and Alito ruled against the law. Liberal justices Ginsburg, Breyer, Sotomayor, and Kagan voted for it. The surprise, to me, was conservative Chief Justice John Roberts sided with liberals and voted in favor of keeping the law.
I cannot wait to see some of the political cartoons about this piece of news!
Legal nerds: The full SCOTUS healthcare decision (National Federation of Independent Business vs. Sebelius) can be found here.
ANSWER IN THE COMMENTS SECTION BELOW:
What do you think about the Supreme Court’s major ruling on Thursday about President Obama’s healthcare law?