U.S. Supreme Court Rules on Affordable Care ActJune 28th, 2012
Following months of speculation, the U.S. Supreme Court handed down its much-anticipated decision on the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act, President Obama’s signature legislative achievement. In a 5 to 4 vote, with Chief Justice John Roberts as the tie-breaker, it ruled in favor of the individual mandate. It is a significant win for President Obama, who sometimes to the dismay of his own party, spent a good deal of political capital on pushing the legislation through.
The central issue the nine justices had to consider was the constitutionality of the law’s mandate requiring all individuals to have health insurance. Scheduled to go into effect in 2014, it not only ensured that tens of millions of uninsured Americans would receive coverage, but according to the Obama administration it also made doing so more affordable by spreading the risk for insurance companies. Eliminating the individual mandate, the administration has argued, would put key parts of the legislation at peril, including popular provisions such as free preventive care services, allowing adult children to remain on their parents’ insurance plans until age 26 and a prohibition against denying an individual coverage because of a pre-existing condition.
In the weeks leading up to the decision, some Republican congressional lawmakers appeared to recognize that the GOP would have to come up with a health care proposal that that would keep intact certain measures if the high court struck down the law. Still, the party is divided, with some saying that government should play no role in this area.
Additionally, three major insurers, UnitedHealthcare, Aetna and Humana decided that they would voluntarily continue with some of the provisions regardless of the how the Supreme Court ruled.
BET Politics – Your source for the latest news, photos and videos illuminating key issues and personalities in African-American political life, plus commentary from some of our liveliest voices. Click here to subscribe to our newsletter.