In a move that surprised conservatives and progressives alike, Chief Justice Roberts sided with the liberal wing of the court to uphold Obamacare, one of the president’s premier achievements. Republican Attorneys General from 26 states challenged the law.
President Obama said the Supreme Court “reaffirmed a fundamental principle: that here in America, the wealthiest nation on Earth, no illness or accident should lead to any family’s financial ruin. The Supreme Court decision was a victory for people all over this country.”
Conservative reactions varied, from calling (C.J.) Roberts a “traitor” to blaming retiring Senator Olympia Snowe for casting the 60th vote (allowing the bill to go to the president’s desk) and calling the law a tax that would harm the economy, ignoring the high costs the uninsured impose on everyone else. (C.J.) Roberts reasoned that the Commerce Clause, which regulates interstate commerce, did not apply to the Affordable Care Act, but Congress does have the constitutional authority to tax.
Most conservative Republican legislators vowed to repeal the law, including House Speaker Boehner.
“I am pleased by the Supreme Court’s decision to uphold the Affordable Care Act which provides coverage to millions of uninsured Americans who have been denied access to medical treatment because of preexisting medical conditions,” Congresswoman Clarke said. “I firmly believe that healthcare is a fundamental human right and not a privilege.”
“The Supreme Court has spoken and President Obama’s historic health care reform is now law of the land,” said Hakeem Jeffries, Democratic candidate for the 8th Congressional District. “As I said during my campaign, I plan to go to Washington to work with the president, and one of my priorities is making sure that this new law is implemented fairly and effectively.” Jeffries added, “I am also hopeful that Congressional Republicans will end their single-minded attempts to overturn or weaken this landmark law. With so many other challenges facing us, Congress needs to start its work on issues that will move our great nation forward.”
Effective now, young adults can stay on their parent’s coverage; guaranteed coverage for children with preexisting conditions; insurance companies cannot cancel coverage; ban on lifetime coverage limits; pre-existing condition insurance plan; medical loss ratio limiting insurer overhead spending in effect now, first rebate checks due in August; coverage of preventive services; contraceptive coverage requirement (religious exemption currently in dispute); and closing of Medicare prescription drug “donut hole” (underway now, gap fully closed in 2020).
By 2014, there will be guaranteed coverage for adults with preexisting conditions; no charging higher premiums because of health status or gender; health insurance exchanges; and premium tax credits to help people buy coverage.