In a 5-4 Supreme Court vote, the health care law set forth by Obama (nicknamed "Obamacare") has been upheld.
The majority opinion, written by Chief Justice John Roberts, ruled that the individual health insurance mandate is constitutional, reports the Huffington Post. The provision is central to President Barack Obama's signature Affordable Care Act. While upholding the mandate as a tax, they also concluded that it was not valid as an exercise of Congress' commerce clause power.
What does this mean? The majority concluded that the mandate, which calls for (mostly) all Americans to obtain minimum health insurance coverage or pay a penalty, does fall within Congress' power under the Constitution to "lay and collect taxes." In other words, the Supreme Court affirmed that the requirement to have insurance is a tax, and is constitutional.
"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 in 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."
Many see this decision as a positive step not only for our country, but for Latinas as well.
“Latinas have historically faced a disproportionate number of barriers to basic health care, and we can now envision a future where those barriers begin to crumble,” said NLIRH executive director Jessica González-Rojas in a press release. “Everyone has a fundamental right to quality, affordable health care. Today’s Supreme Court decision is an important step toward making that right a reality.”
What do you think? Is this a step in the right direction? Share in the comments!