In a divided yet highly awaited decision, the United States Supreme Court ruled that the provision of the Obama administration’s health care law requiring that Americans either acquire health care insurance or be levied a tax. In addition, the justices maintained, with minor modifications, the mandate of the law widening the scope of the law with regards to Medicaid program for the indigent (Vicini, Stempel and Biskupic 1). With the 5-4 decision, the Supreme Court ruled on an issue that will have tremendous impact on millions of families in the United States.
Law in question
The Affordable Care Act (ACA) is designed to expand the coverage of health insurance by compelling individuals to acquire health insurance and insurance providers to offer insurance to all who would want to purchase. The Supreme Court shunned arguments that the mandates in the law were in violation of the Constitution, further ruling that the mandates were well within the power of the Congress to levy taxes. People who do not want to acquire health insurance are required to pay a tax (Trumbull 1).
Impacts of the decision
With the affirmation of the law, the High Court has given the “green light” for the expanded coverage of Medicaid, allowing more than 30 million previously uninsured individuals to be covered by health insurance.
The dissenters in the Court-Justices Antonin Scalia, Anthony Kennedy and Clarence Thomas-wrote a scathing chastisement of the majority, stating that Congress was displaced by the Supreme Court in being the final author of the law and as to how the terms in the law must be understood. The decision for those who opposed the law argue that with the affirmation of the law, Medicare will become extremely cost prohibitive while the quality of medical care will tailspin owing to the costs of health care in the United States (Wolf, Jackson 1).
Trumbull, Mark. “Health-care reform law: how Supreme court ruling affects families”. <http://www.csmonitor.com/USA/DC-Decoder/2012/0627/Health-care-reform-law-How-Supreme-Court-ruling-affects-families>
Vicini, James., Stempel, Jonathan., and Biskupic, Joan. “Top court upholds health care law in Obama triumph”. Reuters 2012 June 28
Wolf, Richard, Jackson, David. “Supreme Court upholds Obama health care mandate”. USA Today 2012 June 28