While President Barack Obama is calling today’s U.S. Supreme Court ruling to uphold the Affordable Healthcare Act a victory for the people, opponents of the law say it’s now up to the American people to stop it.
In a landmark decision, Justice John Roberts, who was appointed by President George W. Bush, became the deciding vote in upholding most of the controversial healthcare reform bill passed by Congress in 2010.
In writing about the key part of the legislation, which would require citizens to pay for health insurance by 2014, Roberts said the court’s responsibility was not to consider whether the act “embodies sound policies,” noting that’s up to the Nation’s elected leaders.
“We ask only whether Congress had the power under the Constitution to enact the challenged provisions,” he said.
According to the approved legislation, if by 2014 an American citizen does not carry health insurance, they can be penalized a fee, which would be paid to the Internal Revenue Service.
Because the penalty is considered a tax, the Supreme Court ruled the law is valid.
The court also ruled that Medicaid expansion is a valid exercise of Congress’ power.
Read the decision at http://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/11pdf/11-393c3a2.pdf
Shortly after the ruling, Ariz. Gov. Jan Brewer said she is disappointed.
“Today’s decision by the U.S. Supreme Court flies in the face of what most Americans know to be true: Obamacare is an overreaching and unaffordable assault on states’ rights and individual liberty. For defenders of freedom and the free market, the decision to uphold Obamacare is nothing short of disheartening. The ramifications are sure to be vast, including a new tax on middle class Americans and the erosion of individual liberty as Americans begin to see their health insurance choices dictated by an overbearing federal government.”
Brewer said today’s decision sets the stakes for the November election where Obama is seeking a second four-year term against Republican Mitt Romney.
“Come November, we must elect a President who understands the economy, represents free enterprise and respects the Constitution and individual liberty,” Brewer said.
In a statement, Obama said, “I know there will be a lot of discussion today about the politics of all this, about who won and who lost. That’s how these things tend to be viewed here in Washington. But that discussion completely misses the point. Whatever the politics, today’s decision was a victory for people all over this country whose lives will be more secure because of this law and the Supreme Court’s decision to uphold it.”
Ariz. Sen. John McCain disagrees with Obama, and the bill.
“Today’s decision by the Supreme Court is disappointing,” he said. “Obamacare is unpopular with the American people because it puts Washington in control of our health care choices and does nothing to address the real problems in our system – most importantly, the rapidly rising and unsustainable costs. In fact, Obamacare does the opposite, driving up the cost of health care and, as a result, impedes the economic recovery this county so badly needs.”
In light of today’s decision, McCain said Congress should immediately begin the process to repeal Obamacare and replace it with common sense reforms that ensure all Americans can get the care they need at a price they can afford.
While Republicans are disappointed in the ruling, in yet another divisive issue, Democrats have applauded the high courts decision.
Arizona House Democrats were quick to respond to the ruling.
“The Supreme Court’s decision to uphold the Affordable Care Act underscores how important health care reform is for Arizonans,” the statement said. “It is too expensive and the insurance is a historic decision. There is no question that the current health care system is broken. It is too expensive and the insurance companies are calling the shots. We need reform, and we need it now.”
Gov. Romney said the ruling wasn’t the clear victory Democrats are claiming.
“Let’s make clear that we understand what the court did and did not do,” he said. “What the court did today was say that Obamacare does not violate the Constitution. What they did not do was say that Obamacare is good law or that it’s good policy.”
If elected in November, Romney has made a campaign promise that he would repeal Obamacare.