June 28th, 2012 – Today in a 5-4 decision the United States Supreme Court upheld President Obama’s healthcare law, the Affordable Care Act.
“The highest court in the land has now spoken,” Obama said. “What we won’t do, what the country can’t afford to do, is re-fight the political battles of two years ago or go back to the way things were.”
Regarding the mandate that all Americans must buy health insurance, Chief Justice Roberts wrote, “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.”
However, the victory was not complete. Chief Justice Roberts said the ACA law’s required expansion of Medicaid violates states’ rights. “The states are given no choice in this case. They must either accept a basic change in the nature of Medicaid or risk losing all Medicaid funding,” he wrote.
The result of this is that more liberal states that have embraced the healthcare law such as California, Massachusetts and Maryland will effectively offer all their residents health coverage starting in 2014. While more conservative states such as Florida and Texas, that have refused to implement the law while they challenged it in court, could reject federal aid, leaving millions of their residents without medical insurance. Colorado is embracing the Medicaid expansions.
Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper said, “The court’s decision simply keeps Colorado on the path toward reform we’ve been on since the Affordable Care Act became law. We must also remember that controlling costs across the entire health system is a critical component of expanding coverage. We remain committed to doing everything we can to improve the health and health care of all Coloradans.”