"Individual Mandate" Upheld
In a victory for Obama, on June 28th 2012 the Supreme Court ruled that the key measure of his healthcare overhaul requiring all individuals to have health insurance is constitutional.
Chief Justice John Roberts announced the judgment. The court said the "individual mandate" can be construed as a tax. An Associated Press article quoted Roberts as saying, "Because the Constitution permits such a tax, it is not our role to forbid it, or to pass upon its wisdom or fairness." Those who joined Roberts in the outcome included the court's four liberal justices, Stephen Breyer, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Elena Kagan and Sonia Sotomayor. Justices Samuel Alito, Anthony Kennedy, Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas dissented.
The debate is not over, however, as Republicans promise to continue their battle against the law. They believe it is an infringement on the rights of individuals since it requires virtually everyone to purchase health insurance that meets minimum federal standards. Those who refuse would have to pay a fine.Romney has vowed to undo the law if elected.
The law does offer subsidies based on income and it provides subsidies to certain businesses if they insure their employees. In addition, the law requires states to expand Medicaid coverage. The goal is universal coverage, an objective that has never been realized in this country in spite of efforts starting with Franklin Delano Roosevelt and carried on by Harry S. Truman, Lyndon B. Johnson, Richard M. Nixon, and Bill Clinton.