Supreme Court Upholds Health Care Reform Law

By: Associated Press
By: Associated Press

SUPREME COURT-HEALTH CARE
WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Supreme Court has upheld the heart of President Barack Obama's health care overhaul -- ruling in favor of the requirement that most Americans can be required to have health insurance, or else pay a penalty.

The decision means the historic overhaul will continue to take effect over the next several years, affecting the way countless Americans receive and pay for their personal medical care.

The ruling also hands President Barack Obama a campaign-season victory.

The court found problems with the law's expansion of Medicaid. But even there, it said the expansion could proceed as long as the federal government does not threaten to withhold the entire Medicaid allotment to states if they don't take part in the extension.

The court's four liberal justices, Stephen Breyer, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Elena Kagan and Sonia Sotomayor, joined Roberts in the outcome.

PRESIDENT OBAMA
WASHINGTON (AP) -- President Barack Obama says the Supreme Court's decision to uphold his health care overhaul is a "victory for people all over the country" and will make their lives more secure.

Obama says the decision upholds the fundamental principle that in America -- the wealthiest nation on earth -- no one should fall into financial ruin because of an illness.

The president says the decision means that people with pre-existing medical conditions will not be discriminated against and people will be able to afford quality health care.

The nation's highest court on Thursday upheld the individual insurance requirement at the center of the president's overhaul.

Polling has suggested that most Americans oppose the law and Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney vowed again after the ruling to seek its repeal.

MITT ROMNEY
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Republican Mitt Romney is promising that he will repeal the federal health care law the Supreme Court just upheld.

He called the decision incorrect and said Thursday that it is "bad law." He says it raises taxes and cuts Medicare.

Romney says that, if elected in November, he will work to repeal and replace the law. But he hasn't said precisely how.

As Massachusetts governor, Romney signed into law a measure that required all state residents to have health coverage. That notion was the cornerstone of the law enacted by President Barack Obama and congressional Democrats. The high court decided it was constitutional.

SUPREME COURT-HEALTH CARE-PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Today's Supreme Court decision upholding most of President Barack Obama's health care law is already helping to shape the presidential election campaign.

Mitt Romney is vowing to repeal the law on his first day in office if he wins. And the Romney campaign says it collected more than $300,000 in online donations in the hours after the ruling was announced.

Speaking in Washington, Romney said, "If we want to get rid of Obamacare, we're going to have to replace President Obama."

The president, meanwhile, is looking to downplay the political implications. He says today's ruling is about upholding the principle that no one in America should fall into financial ruin because of illness.

Obama says it's a "victory for people all over this country whose lives will be more secure."

Polls suggest that most Americans oppose the law, but that an overwhelming majority wanted Congress and the president to find a new remedy if it were to be struck down.

SUPREME COURT-HEALTH CARE: ORDINARY AMERICANS
CHICAGO (AP) -- An Illinois woman -- the mother of two disabled teens -- says the Supreme Court ruling upholding the health care law is wonderful -- because it keeps insurance companies from setting lifetime limits for medical expenses.

But another woman -- a retiree on Medicare -- calls it a "sad day." She's worried that the law's new rules, coming in 2015, will interfere with treatments doctors can provide, and she says that would be a setback for family members with a rare genetic condition that she says requires experimental therapies.

Whether or not they've been dramatically affected yet by the new health care law, Americans across the country are reacting to today's high court ruling with relief or apprehension.

A North Carolina woman who benefits from the new law's coverage for people with pre-existing conditions was worried by some initial broadcast reports that the law had been struck down. Bev Veals, whose breast cancer treatments led to bankruptcy and foreclosure for her family, says she feared she would have to "beg for help to cover medical bills." She says the court ruling "is a relief."

SMALL BUSINESS- SUPREME COURT-HEALTH CARE-WHAT'S NEXT
WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Supreme Court has settled the legal argument. Now Americans will find out if President Barack Obama's health care overhaul will work as advertised to give coverage to millions of uninsured people while keeping costs in check, too.

Republicans from presidential candidate Mitt Romney to lawmakers on Capitol Hill will keep pushing for repeal. But the focus will shift from Washington to the states.

Under the law, states play a key role in delivering new health insurance coverage to millions of lower-income and middle-class people.

But Republican-led states have resisted, and the National Association of Insurance Commissioners expects only about half the states to be ready to set up new health insurance markets, slated to open for business in 2014.


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