“I applaud the Supreme Court for upholding the Affordable Care Act. American citizens finally won with this very important decision,” notes BCTGM International President Frank Hurt on the June 28 ruling.
The Supreme Court led by Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. upheld the core of President Obama’s healthcare law, ruling that the government may impose tax penalties on those who do not have health insurance by 2014. The decision came on a 5-4 vote.
The Affordable Care Act does not impose a true legal mandate on Americans, the Chief Justice said. It simply requires those who do not have health insurance by 2014 to pay a tax penalty. And that is constitutional, Roberts said. “The federal government does not have the power to order people to buy health insurance,” he wrote in the majority opinion. “The federal government does have the power to impose a tax on those without health insurance,” he added.
With this decision, more than 105 million Americans will continue to benefit from the elimination of lifetime limits and the coverage of preventive services without cost-sharing, and more than 6 million young adults will remain covered by their parents’ health care plans. Seniors will continue to save money on prescription drugs as the Part D donut hole closes over the next eight years; already over 5 million seniors have saved $3.7 billion on prescriptions in 2010 and 2011. And insurance companies will not be able to deny coverage due to pre-existing conditions, charge women more or drop coverage for those who get sick.
In a statement following the ruling, AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka said, “The Affordable Care Act is our first step in expanding health care coverage, improving care and beginning to get control of health care costs. We will need to build on the achievements of the Act, Medicare and Medicaid in order to fix our broken health care system and advance along the path to a more equitable and cost-effective system.”