Political Happenings: Supreme Court Upholds “Obamacare”
As many of you may have heard, yesterday was a monumental day in American politics. In a narrow 5-4 decision the United States Supreme Court ruled to uphold the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), popularly known as Obamacare. While much of the media focus has been on the affect the decision will have on party politics and the upcoming presidential election, what is more important, and what President Obama focused on in his response to the decision, is the affect the legislation will have on us, the American public.
In short, Obamacare will lower healthcare costs and expand coverage to millions of Americans who previously couldn’t afford it. This will be achieved through a number of policies. The most controversial of these policies, and what the High Courts originally set out to review, is the requirement for almost all Americans to purchase healthcare, if not already covered by their employers, or pay a penalty/tax. This requirement, referred to as the “individual mandate,” was deemed constitutional under congress’s power to levy taxes, a ruling that surprised many legal scholars. The Justices did however strike down the part of the act that would penalize states that decide not to participate in providing affordable healthcare options by withholding all of their Medicare funding. This was determined to overstep the federal governments power and infringe on states rights.
So, after the dust has settled and the protesters have cleared from the steps of the Supreme Court the question remains, what does it all mean? Well, for those of you who work it means that most of your employers will continue to offer you coverage or pay steep fines as the law had already put in place in 2010. For those of you who are not already covered, you will have to purchase healthcare either from a private company or state programs by 2014, or become subject to the individual mandate “tax.” For me, and the rest of you under the age of 26, it means that we may choose to remain covered under our parent’s plans and put off purchasing health care for at least a few more years. Again, the overarching affect will be that the required healthcare will be more affordable and available to a greater number of Americans.
While this legislation had supporters and opponents on both sides of the aisle I am convinced that the Supreme Court made the correct decision yesterday, both in terms of adhering to the constitution and in doing what was right for America. Yes, this ruling can be considered a win for President Obama and a boost to his campaign, and yes there are still more kinks to be worked out, but in the end what is most important is that this historic decision will immensely benefit the American people. As President Obama reiterated in his address to the nation, “I didn’t do this because I thought it was good politics. I did it because I believed it was good for this country.” Here’s hoping he’s right.
Text: Grassy Knowles