The most controversial clause of the Affordable Care Act has been upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court, the court announced Thursday.
The group of bills aimed at overhauling the American health care system, dubbed by opponents as "Obamacare," was signed into law by President Barack Obama in March 2010. Since then, 26 states filed suit against the act, stating that provisions in it required most uninsured Americans to purchase health insurance were unconstitutional.
According to the Washington Post, the Supreme Court agreed that the mandate itself is unconstitutional, but that it is within the rights of Congress to tax individuals for not having health care. Chief Justice John Roberts wrote the majority opinion.
The ruling also upheld a portion of the bill that asks states to expand their Medicaid coverage, but said that the federal government cannot without Medicaid funding for states that choose not to comply.
U.S. Rep. John Dingell, D-Dearborn, who helped draft the Medicare and Medicaid legislation during more than five decades in Congress, applauded the ruling.
“We have a long-term effective solution to the health care crisis in this country," Dingell said in a statement. "And, now, I am proud to say that with the agreement of the Supreme Court, we can continue on with the business of making sure Americans have access to the best medicines, hospitals and medical professionals in the world.
CEO Nancy Schlichting also praised the ruling ruling as “a win-win” for patients and the country’s health care system.
“This ruling allows health systems like ours to continue making positive reforms to the country’s health care system that was on an unsustainable track prior to the passage of the Act,” Schlichting said. “We’re thrilled for the nearly 500,000 uninsured people in Michigan who will now have access to affordable health care, many for the first time, which in turn will bring much needed economic relief to Henry Ford and other health care providers that have been coping for years with the growing cost of uncompensated care.”
Opponents were understandably less enthusiastic and said that despite the court's ruling, the matter will still be a critical issue in the presidential campaign.
"We are disappointed with the Court’s decision. However, it is clear that ObamaCare harms middle class families, job creators and individual liberty, and defeating ObamaCare begins on Nov. 6 when we elect Mitt Romney president," said Michigan Republican Party Chairman Bobby Schostak, of Bloomfield Hills.
"Americans deserve better, and real reform begins when we repeal all of ObamaCare," he said in a prepared statement. "Republicans are fired-up and ready to work hard to defeat President Obama and repeal this law in order to create real healthcare reform that put's middle class families and job creators first."
In a poll , 50 percent of Bloomfield- Bloomfield Hills Patch readers indicated that part of the legislation would be found unconstitutional and 25 percent predicted it would be upheld entirely.
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