PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — President Obama applauded the U.S. Supreme Court for upholding the heart of the health care overhaul bill.
The President said the decision means that people with preexisting medical conditions will not be discriminated against and people will be able to afford quality health care.
So what does the ruling mean to you?
More than any ruling in recent memory, what the Supreme Court did today affects us all, from the board room to the homeless.
Here’s a look at the key points of the majority decision written by Chief Justice John Roberts.
Probably the most incendiary provision of the health care act was the requirement of all Americans to purchase health insurance by 2014 or face financial penalties.
Justice Roberts and the majority tiptoed a fine line on this one by saying the penalty is really a tax.
“If you don’t buy health insurance, okay, you pay a tax to the government. It’s not a criminal penalty or anything like that, it’s just a tax and under Congress’s broad taxing powers, it can do that,” said Ken Gormley, J.D., the Dean of Duquesne University Law School.
As for the provisions extending benefits to older children and the preexisting conditions rule:
“The provision that your children can stay on your health insurance until you are 26, the provision that health insurers cannot exclude someone because they have a preexisting condition remains intact,” said Gormley.
In fact, most of the bill moves forward to the relief of those in the insurance and health care world.
“The fact that it was all maintained makes it much simpler moving forward than untangling the different parts,” said Steve Shapiro, M.D., UPMC’s Chief Medical Officer.
The other major part of the act that was struck down by the court was the provision that threatened to pull all Medicaid funding from states if they don’t agree to expand their Medicaid provisions. The majority sided with the states.
“If they decide we don’t want to expand our Medicaid provisions, you cannot take away all their Medicaid funding as a punishment; you can use it as a carrot, not as a stick,” said Gormley.
So, the provisions of the Affordable Health Care Act will continue to go into effect, unless of course Congressional opponents succeed in making changes.
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