By Roger Caldwell
Recently the Supreme Court made a historic decision that will fundamentally transform healthcare for years to come. The decision means that President Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act is constitutional and will be implemented as planned in the next few years. This law will make healthcare more accessible and affordable and save millions of lives.
For the last few weeks, the country has been waiting in anticipation for the decision from the Supreme Court. Twenty-six states had sued the federal government and argued that the Affordable Care Act was unconstitutional and they wanted the individual mandate repealed by the Supreme Court. This was a key provision in the law, because most Americans would be required to obtain health insurance or pay a penalty for failure to acquire insurance.
There were no leaks to the media, and everyone in the country waited on pins and needles for the Supreme Court to render their opinion. Many of the conservatives thought the Supreme Court was controlled by a conservative bloc and certain portions of the law would be considered unconstitutional by the court.
But in a 5 to 4 decision last week, Chief Justice John Roberts was joined by Justices Elena Kagan, Ruth Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer, Sonia Soto-mayor ruled in favor of Obama’s healthcare reform. This landmark decision is a victory for President Obama, and many legal experts were surprised that Chief Justice Roberts provided the swing vote in the decision. Very few expected the chief justice to align himself with the liberal bloc of the court.
Law and constitutional scholars will spend years speculating Roberts motivation in joining the liberal bloc of the court. Chief Justice Roberts was appointed by President Bush and many legal experts expected Roberts to side with the conservatives. But, Roberts sided with the liberal bloc of the court and many Republicans are extremely disappointed.
Governor Romney and other Republican leaders have decided that their goal is to repeal the entire Affordable Care Act. They believe that the bill is a misguided law with limited choices and increased health care costs for American families. The Supreme Court decision from their perspective was wrong, and they are not going to rest until the law is repealed. The conservatives and Republicans are not willing to compromise, and to them, there is nothing positive or good in the law.
On the other hand, President Obama, his administration, the Democrats, and progressives are elated with the decision. The bottom line is that the entire Affordable Care Act is upheld with the exception that the federal government’s power to terminate states Medicaid funding is not allowed. The court’s decision comes as a major defeat to those 26 states and thousands of conservatives who fought against the healthcare over-haul since President Obama signed it into law in 2010.
The court also ruled that the Commerce Clause does not give the government the authority to force Americans to purchase a product. But the majority bloc determined under the taxing power of the constitution the individual mandate was constitutional. The legal maneuvering is far from over, and the law will give 30 million un-insured Americans the opportunity to get health insurance.
There are millions of Americans who are pleased with the court’s decision to uphold the constitutionally of President Obama historic landmark legislature. Transforming a health-care system plagued with numerous systemic problems is a monumental task, but I believe Americans have the courage and tenacity to make our healthcare system the best in the world.
There will be a massive shift and major transformation in the healthcare system. The Affordable Care Act will ensure the availability to millions of Americans access to healthcare, and save millions of lives.