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BREAKING NEWS: Supreme Court stamps Affordable Health Care Act 'constitutional'

healthcarecosts101011_optBY ADELE SAMMARCO
NEWJERSEYNEWSROOM.COM

It is an historic decision that will affect millions of Americans across the nation.

The nine justices on the Supreme Court ruled Thursday that the U.S. health care reform law, known as the Affordable Health Care Act, is constitutional.

The law is aimed at providing coverage to more than 30 million uninsured Americans and has been a leading cause of Obama's presidency.

Citing objective legal analysis, Chief Justice John Roberts, a conservative appointed by President George Bush, delivered the opinion of the court on the individual mandate citing it may be upheld under the taxing clause, which is a narrow reading of the constitution. The court, which is split between five conservative and four liberal justices, decided the law now stands.

It has been dubbed by critics as ‘Obamacare’, a derogatory term used by many Republicans to repudiate the law, yet the President himself has invited supporters to take the term back for the sake of all Americans.

It has been a contentious health insurance reform debate introduced by Obama and is now a signature victory of his presidential legacy, but opponents say the provision is unconstitutional because the government is forcing people to buy a product they may not want.

Advocates argue the individual mandate is necessary because it expands the number of people in the health insurance market.

The major focus of the Supreme Court ruling is the provision mandating that all Americans obtain health insurance by 2014 or face a financial penalty.

The individual mandate requires all U.S. citizens to have health insurance either through private companies, their employers, or state-sponsored exchanges. Failure to do so could result in a fine.

Under the law, insurance companies could be banned from denying coverage to applicants with pre-existing health conditions.

Other provisions:

-Insurance companies could include preventative health care at no extra cost, or be banned from setting limits on payouts for coverage.

-Companies employing over 50 people could be required to provide those employees with health insurance.

-Children could also be permitted to stay on their parents’ insurance plans until the age of 26 and a part of the law could even expand Medicaid, the joint federal-state health care program for low-income Americans and seniors.

Earlier this week, the President defended the law and its various benefits during a campaign appearance in Miami.

"I believe it is the right thing to do...I believe heath care reform was the right thing to do. I believe it was the right to make sure that over three million young people can stay on their parent's health insurance plan," said Obama. "I believe it was right to provide more discounts for seniors on their prescription drugs. I believe it was right to make sure that everybody in this country gets decent health care and is not bankrupt when they get sick."

The president's likely Republican opponent in the November general election, Mitt Romney, has pushed a similar law during his tenure as Governor of Massachusetts.

But, Romney is firmly opposed to the new national law and has vowed to repeal it if he is elected president.

"And, this is a decision by the way about whether or not Obamacare is constitutional. Whether it passes constitutional muster. And, so we're all waiting to see how the court will decide," said Romney. "One thing we already know, however, we already know it's bad policy and it's gotta go."

 

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