Supreme Court Upholds Health Care Reform Law in Big Win for Obama
Published June 28, 2012
Fox News Latino
The Supreme Court upheld President Barack Obama's Affordable Care Act, including its individual mandate requiring all Americans to buy health insurance. The 5-4 decision, with
Chief John Roberts
writing the decision for the majority, means Obama's Affordable Care Act will go into effect over the next several years.
The decision is a big win for President Barack Obama who invested much of the political capital of his first term in passage of the health care measure. This is the second major court victory by the Obama Administration. Earlier this week, the court agreed with the federal government and struck down three of four provisions of Arizona's immigration law.
On health care, possibly the most anticipated court decision since Bush vs. Gore in 2000, which decided a presidential election, the Supreme Court upheld most of the provisions of the health care measure.
The individual mandate will not be upheld under the Constitution's Commerce Clause, but will be upheld as a tax, according to the majority opinion written by Roberts.
"The Affordable Care Act is constitutional in part and unconstitutional in part The individual mandate cannot be upheld as an exercise of Congress's power under the Commerce Clause," Roberts wrote. "That Clause authorizes Congress to regulate interstate commerce, not to order individuals to engage it. In this case, however, 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. Such legislation is within Congress's power to tax."
The court found problems with the law's expansion of Medicaid, but even there said the expansion could proceed as long as the federal government does not threaten to withhold states' entire Medicaid allotment if they don't take part in the law's extension. The court's four liberal justices, Stephen Breyer, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Elena Kagan and Sonia Sotomayor, joined Roberts in the majority view.
Justices Samuel Alito, Anthony Kennedy, Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas dissented.
Opponents of the bill had strongly criticized the health care bill as an overreach by the federal government.
The dissenting justices struck a theme about legal over-reach that Republicans have often pushed against the Obama administration, accusing it of going for shortcuts around the normal channels of law to get its way.
“The Court regards its strained statutory interpretation as judicial modesty,” the dissenting opinion by the four dissenting justices said. “It is not. It amounts instead to a vast judicial overreaching. It creates a debilitated, inoperable version of health-care regulation. . .In the name of cooperative federalism, it undermines state sovereignty.”
Republicans immediately cast the Supreme Court decision as a wake-up call for Americans. In what is surely to be a campaign theme for Romney going forward, the Republican National committee chairman Reince Priebus said: "We need market-based solutions that give patients more choice, not less. The answer to rising health care costs is not, and will never be, Big Government.”
Democrats heralded the decision as a much needed extension of basic health care to millions of Americans without access to medical attention.
The matter is immensely important to Latinos, who number some 50 million in the United States and who are twice as likely as the general population to be uninsured.
Nearly a third of Latinos, or slightly more than 15 million of them, are uninsured. They are three times as likely as non-Hispanic whites to be uninsured.
That rate may be much higher given that many more Latinos are undocumented.
To fill the void for lack of healthcare, many immigrants in the Latino community often rely on a patchwork of remedies that includes getting medicine from their native countries that sometimes have been outlawed in the United States because they are considered unsafe.
Read more: http://latino.foxnews.com/latino/politics/2012/06/28/supreme-court-obama-health-care-reform-act-is-constitutional/#ixzz1z6lYW2yb