In a landmark decision settling the law of land, the Supreme Court upheld the Affordable Care Act of 2010 Thursday with rippling consequences for the lives of every American.
A major victory for President Barack Obama and Congressional Democrats, the narrow 5-4 ruling has added fuel to the fire of House and Senate Republicans’ calls to repeal Obamacare. Chief Justice of the United States John Roberts joined with the liberal wing of the court on the vote.
Oklahoma was one of 26 states to file a lawsuit against Obamacare, arguing that the individual mandate was unconstitutional. Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt said it is disturbing that the justices did not limit the federal government’s power to control the lives of Americans.
“If it walks like a tax and quacks like a tax, it’s a tax,” Roberts said. Congress has the power to tax, he added.
Republican House Speaker John Boehner quickly stated that the Supreme Court ruling “underscores the urgency of repealing this harmful law in its entirety.”
The Supreme Court decision is certain to etch the political landscape of Obama’s re-election effort against former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, the apparent Republican nominee for president. Romney has promised to repeal the federal health care law.
“Whatever the politics, today’s decision was a victory for people all over this country, whose lives will be more secure because of this law, and the Supreme Court’s decision to uphold it,” Obama said Thursday from the White House.
Obama says Affordable Care Act to improve health care
Obama outlined what the Affordable Care Act means for every American.
“First, if you are one of the more than 250 million Americans who already have health insurance — you will keep your health insurance,” Obama said. “This law will only make it more secure and more affordable.”
Young adults up to the age of 26 will have the choice of staying on their parents’ health insurance plans, according to the Affordable Care Act. Discounts to prescription drugs have already saved more than 5 million senior adults $600 each on Medicare costs, Obama explained.
Insurance companies are no longer able to limit the amount of care patients can receive in a lifetime, Obama said.
“They can no longer drop your coverage if you get sick,” Obama continued. “They can no longer jack up your premiums without reason. They are required to provide free preventive care like check-ups and mammograms.”
One of the first provisions of the Affordable Care Act of 2010 is that Secretary Kathleen Sebelius of the Department of Health and Human Services can review “unreasonable” rate increases, according to federal law.
Insurance companies will be required by August to send rebates to 13 million Americans, Obama said, because they spent too little money on health care and too much money on CEO bonuses and administrative costs.
Obamacare will allow 500,000 uninsured Oklahomans to become eligible for health insurance. Seven percent of children and 20 percent of all Oklahoma adults from 19 to 64 years of age are currently without health insurance, according to Mike Fogarty, CEO of the Oklahoma Health Care Authority.