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Supreme Court Upholds Obama Affordable Health Care Reform Law

The Supreme Court announced Thursday morning that the Affordable Care Act mandating every American to purchase health insurance is constitutional. What do you think of this decision? Tell us in the comments.

The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that the central provision of President Barack Obama's signature Affordable Care Act - the individual health insurance mandate - is constitutional, according to the Huffington Post.

The 5-4 majority opinion, written by Chief Justice John Roberts, upheld the mandate as a tax, with Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan joining in the majority. The majority did rule, however, that the mandate was not valid as an exercise of Congress' commerce clause power.

The decision looks like a political compromise among the justices, letting the mandate stand without wading into the contentious question of whether the provision is a valid exercise of Congress' power to regulate interstate commerce. The majority concluded that the mandate, which requires virtually all Americans to obtain minimum health insurance coverage or pay a penalty, falls within Congress' power under the Constitution to "lay and collect taxes," HuffPo reported.

Had the individual mandate been stripped from the law, many other provisions–such as covering people with pre-existing conditions and not capping insurance coverage–most likely would have been removed, as well.

The decision is a major victory for the Obama administration, which touted the law passed in March 2010 as its signature legislative achievement. But there are many Americans who decried the law because of concerns about the federal government's role in regulating the health care industry.

Rep. Lynn Woolsey, Marin's representative in Congress who is retiring this year, called on the U.S. Congress to seize on the ruling as a chance to expand on health care reform.

"Our struggle isn’t over," she said in a statement. "Republicans in Congress will still try to dismantle the Affordable Care Act piece by piece. They still don’t get it. They are still nostalgic for the old, broken health care system that left millions without coverage; bankrupted families and small businesses; and put the middle class at the mercy of the insurance industry."

More on this ruling throughout the day, but what do you think of the court's decision to uphold the individual mandate? How will it affect Mill Valley residents and business owners?

Summer Hemphill June 28, 2012 at 05:14 PM
Victory is sweet,vindication is even sweeter !!!
Chaler June 28, 2012 at 08:16 PM
I doubt if any of us (including the legislators who allegedly wrote and in fact voted on it) have a good understanding of what O'care means. I sure don't. There are at least two main priorities: provide coverage for the uninsured, and offer better coverage to the insured. How this all works, and how we will pay for it, is part of the mystery. Of note, Roberts voted with the left. I'd love to see more of this--more "non party-line" voting. Can you imagine Kagan and Ginzberg voting on different sides? Or Alioto and Thomas? That would say something
Rico June 29, 2012 at 12:18 AM
It sounds like a very weak mandate that millions will ignore. I read an article in the Chronicle today that said the fine would be $95 per year starting in 2014. I also read in another article that this tax would be imposed by the IRS. But that is a taxpayer continues to pay their medicare, social security and self employment income tax on time, the IRS cannot prosecute those who ignore this silly mandate. If a person has to pay a $1,000 per month tax to insurance corporations for healthcare insurance, and still has to pay for all medical care up to $6,000 per year, plus all dental healthcare out of pocket, what is the point of having insurance unless you actually need and are sick ? And keep in mind, a lot can happen between now and 2014, this deal is not a done deal. No doubt that the healthcare executives who earn $80 million+ per year are jumping up and down with joy today, but it might be too early to start the parties.
Beads of Marin June 29, 2012 at 03:49 PM
The numbers provided sure are high, but for some of us with preexisting conditions, those numbers are a drop in a bottomless bucket of medical expenses. Without the changes under the affordable health care, many of us would have maximized our benefits sooner than later and would not be eligible to receive the care we need. You might say we would qualify under other programs, but those programs look at bottom lines only and not at one's medical needs and therefore they do not approve medications and other medical services they do not see as profitable. And if you have an "orphan" disease, you would really be in a bad place. Nothing is perfect and it might take time to workout some of the kinks in the plan, but it is much better than what we had up till now, even in California.
Chaler June 29, 2012 at 08:43 PM
Can you provide names of healthcare executives who earn $80 million/yr (not as investors, but as executives)? I am unaware of any compensations schemes that are anywhere near as high, but would love to learn otherwise.

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