Supreme Court stands behind Obamacare - Health News - Health & Families - The Independent

Supreme Court stands behind Obamacare

Ruling is a huge win for President, ensuring healthcare provision for all Americans

Washington

After months of fevered anticipation, the US Supreme Court upheld yesterday the core of the ambitious healthcare overhaul driven through Congress by President Barack Obama in 2010, thus ensuring that provisions to extend health insurance to nearly every American can be implemented as planned.

The 5-to-4 ruling is momentous vindication for President Obama who, against the counsel even of some Democrats, dedicated most of his energies in the first months of his term to win the reforms.

To a significant degree his main policy legacy to date was saved from oblivion yesterday. At the same time, it is sure to galvanise conservative opponents of Mr Obama and hand a key issue to Mitt Romney, the Republican challenger, in November.

No ruling has been more anticipated since the 2000 decision that handed the presidency to George W Bush. But the final fate of the sweeping reforms known popularly as Obamacare, which were designed to put America on a path at last to align itself with other industrialised nations that guarantee health protection for their citizens, now moves out of the Court and into the ballot boxes this November.

The Court found that the so-called individual mandate at the heart of the reform law, which will require nearly every American to buy health insurance, does not violate the US constitution and therefore can stand. Controversially, however, it said that penalties that would be levied on those who do not comply must be considered as a tax – a ruling that could be electorally toxic for Mr Obama in November's presidential race.

"It is reasonable to construe what Congress has done as increasing taxes on those who have a certain amount of income, but choose to go without health insurance," the key passage in the ruling, arguably the most important in a generation, said. "Such legislation is within Congress's power to tax." To the dismay of conservatives, Chief Justice John Roberts, appointed to the court by Mr Bush, sided with the majority in upholding the reforms.

"Today's decision was a victory for people all over this country" Mr Obama said last night, offering a shopping list of new benefits he said the law, formally called the Affordable Care Act, will offer. The headline changes include expanding the existing Medicare programme to help cover the more than 30 million people who do not have insurance today, preventing insurance companies from turning away people with pre-existing conditions and allowing young Americans to remain on their parents' policies until they are 26 years old.

The battle over healthcare law, which largely takes effect in 2014, has been a lead weight in Mr Obama's shoes from the start, something he freely conceded yesterday. "It should be pretty clear by now that I didn't do this because it was good politics," he said. "I did it because it was good for the country."

The anger of conservatives erupted within moments of the ruling coming out as hundreds of opponents – and supporters – of the Act gathered in a noisy crush on the steps of the Supreme Court. Each side competed for the attention with bells, drums, whistles, kazoos, funny costumes and placards under a blazing morning sun.

"We want freedom. The government and the Democrats are the slavers, the Democrats have always been the slaver party," blurted Susan Clarke, a Tea Party advocate who had come here from Venice, California.

But others basked in the ruling. "I am overjoyed," Barry Karas, a Washington DC resident, declared. "I was really fearful about what might happen here, but this is incredible. It's a big victory for the Obama administration and for the United States".

Within the hour, the leadership of the Republican-controlled House of Representatives vowed to hold a vote on 11 July to repeal the Act. But any repeal bill is certain to be defeated by the Democrat majority in the Senate.

Mr Romney instantly appropriated the issue casting himself as the last hope for conservatives who want to see the reforms killed. "If we're going to get rid of Obamacare, we're going to have to replace President Obama," he said in Washington. "My mission is to make sure we do exactly that."

Life and Style
tech
News
Paper trail: the wedding photograph found in the rubble after 9/11 – it took Elizabeth Keefe 13 years to find the people in it
newsWho are the people in this photo? It took Elizabeth Stringer Keefe 13 years to find out
Arts and Entertainment
Evil eye: Douglas Adams in 'mad genius' pose
booksNew biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Arts and Entertainment
Robin Thicke's video for 'Blurred Lines' has been criticised for condoning rape
music
PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
ebooksA superb mix of recipes serving up the freshest of local produce in a delicious range of styles
Life and Style
ebooksFrom the lifespan of a slug to the distance to the Sun: answers to 500 questions from readers
Sport
FootballFull debuts don't come much more stylish than those on show here
News
i100
Life and Style
Kim Kardashian drawn backlash over her sexy swimsuit selfie, called 'disgusting' and 'nasty'
fashionCritics say magazine only pays attention to fashion trends among rich, white women
Arts and Entertainment
TVShows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Arts and Entertainment
Hit the roof: hot-tub cinema east London
architectureFrom pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
Travel
travel
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Project Officer (HMP Brixton Mentoring Project)

    £24,000 per annum pro rata (21 hours per week): Belong: Work as part of a cutt...

    Looking for work in Secondary Schools?

    £85 - £130 per day: Randstad Education Chester: Are you looking for work in Ed...

    Year 5 Teacher

    £3000 - £30000 per annum: Randstad Education Chelmsford: Would you like to wor...

    Open Day for work in Education

    £83 - £130 per day: Randstad Education Chester: Are you looking for work in Ed...

    Day In a Page

    Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

    A shot in the dark

    Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
    His life, the universe and everything

    His life, the universe and everything

    New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
    Save us from small screen superheroes

    Save us from small screen superheroes

    Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
    Reach for the skies

    Reach for the skies

    From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
    These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

    12 best hotel spas in the UK

    Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
    These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

    Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

    Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
    Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

    Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

    Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
    How to make a Lego masterpiece

    How to make a Lego masterpiece

    Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
    Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

    Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

    Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
    Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

    Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

    His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
    'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

    'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

    Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
    Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

    Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

    The Imitation Game, film review
    England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

    England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

    Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
    Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

    Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

    Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
    ‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

    ‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

    Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week