With conservative Chief Justice John G. Roberts, Jr. providing a surprise supporting
vote, the United States Supreme Court gave President Barack Obama a major victory Thursday by
upholding the constitutionality of the Affordable Health Care Act.
The vote was 5-4, with Roberts joining the court’s four liberals – Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Sonia Sotomayor, Stephen G. Breyer and Elena Kagan. Anthony M. Kennedy, usually the court’s lone swing vote, sided with fellow conservatives Antonin Scalia, Samuel Alito and Clarence Thomas. The legislation was signed into law by President Obama on March 23, 2010. Many of its provisions are being phased in over a 10-year period. Among other things, the law prohibits insurance companies from denying coverage based on a preexisting condition, allows children to remain on their parents’ insurance plan until age 26, expands access to insurance to 30 million Americans, eliminates annual and lifetime coverage caps, creates insurance exchanges at the state level for individuals and small businesses, expands eligibility for Medicaid and requires insurance companies to cover certain preventive services without co-pays or deductibles.
In a televised speech from the White House, Obama said, “The highest court in the land has now spoken. We will continue to implement this law. And we’ll work together to improve on it where we can. But what we won’t do, what the country can’t afford to do, is refight the political battles of two years ago or go back to the way things were. With today’s announcement, it’s time for us to move forward.”
Statement from NNPA
Cloves Campbell, JR.: “The U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling Thursday upholding the constitutionality of the historic Affordable Care Act is not only a victory for President Obama, but a major win for all Americans, especially African Americans and other people of color. The uninsured rate for Blacks is 28.8 percent and 30.7 percent for Latinos, compared to only 11.7 percent for Whites. Although it’s not perfect, the Affordable Care Act will reduce the racial, ethnic and economic health disparities in the U.S. and help our country shed the shame of being the only industrialized country in the world without a national health insurance program.”
Statement from CBCF
President Elsie L. Scott,
The Congressional Black Caucus Foundation applauds the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to protect the most defining law in favor of public health and preventive care services in nearly 50 years.
“Not only does the Affordable Care Act expand health care coverage for lowincome populations, it enables everyone to receive recommended preventive services at no cost and expands community-based primary and preventive care.