Victory for America’s Uninsured: Supreme Court Rules in Favor of Affordable Health Care Act

By a narrow margain of 5-to-4 vote, the Supreme Court upheld the Affordable Health  Care Act.

News agencies around the country covered the ruling.

The New York Times lead article, plus an educational break-down of the ruling.

Supreme Court documents, including opinons of the court.

CNN posts and updates.

FOX News reaction.

The Wall Street Journal tells what the ruling means for consumers.

Bloggers weighed in, too, such as the Washington Post’s WonkBlog, and Huffington Post linked to some of the funniest tweets on the subject thus far.

Justices who cast the majority votes in favor of the Act were Chief Justice John Roberts, and Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan.

Justices Samuel Alito, Anthony Kennedy, Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas dissented.

Kennedy summed up the dissension.  “In our view, the act before us is invalid in its entirety,” he said.

Click here for the law’s key features.

Readers, what are your thoughts about the ruling?

Did the Supreme Court make the correct choice?








Doni Chamberlain
Independent online journalist Doni Chamberlain founded what’s now known as in 2007 with her son, Joe Domke of the Czech Republic. Chamberlain is an award-winning newspaper opinion columnist, feature and food writer recognized by the Associated Press, the California Newspaper Publishers Association and E.W. Scripps. She lives in Redding, California.
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21 Responses

  1. Barbara Rice Barbara Rice says:

    My taxes go to support wars I do not agree with, schools I do not have children in, roads I will never drive on, enforcing policies I believe to be wrong such as DOMA and the Patriot Act, and paying the retirements of politicians I loathe such as Bush and Cheney, but that is part of the price of living in America: I don't get to choose where my taxes go. Some of it will go to things I think are wrong.

    When I travel to Europe, people there complain about their taxes too – but then cannot believe that the USA does not provide health care for citizens, which they regard as a basic human right. I would gladly pay so that people I do not know can have medical care with dignity, rather than putting a coffee can on a supermarket checkout stand with a note that says, "Little Jimmy needs a heart transplant or he will die – please put your change in this can and maybe we can help his family." That's immoral to me. We're here to take care of the least of us; unfortunately, people are not naturally altruistic and sometimes it is necessary to have these decisions made for us. It's easy to love and care for the lovable, not so much for people we deem unworthy or unlikable. But we're all in the same boat. All of us are one cancer diagnosis away from financial ruin. *steps down off soapbox*

  2. Avatar Mary D says:

    Excellent response, Barbara. Thank you for your thoughts.

  3. Avatar Michael Allison says:

    Hurray!! Maybe, beginning in 2014, I will be able to purchase some affordable health care. It is interesting that John Roberts voted with Kagan, Sotomayor, Breyer and Ginsberg on this one. I guess he didnt want the legacy of his court to be "the one that killed universal health care." Good for him. In such a partisan time, it is good to see a man that stands up for the constitution. This was a law that was passed by both houses of congress and signed by the president. The individual mandate was a Republican idea, offered by Republicans as an alternative to HilaryCare, back in the 90s. And, as we all know, it was implemented first by Republican governor of Mass, Mitt Romney. As a Democrat, I would rather have seen a public option, or single payer. But with Republicans in the Senate filibustering every attempt to solve our country's health care problems, this was the best package we could get passed. I dont understand why Republicans dont like it, since it requires everyone to take personal responsibility for their health care insurance. I see why many liberal Democrats dont like it. It keeps the private insurance companies in the driver's seat, albeit with much more regulation. But it is definitely a step in the right direction.

    • Avatar Jim Gore says:

      If I look at the Republican party as the one with most of the wealthiest among us, and the Democratic party as the one with the most of the neediest, the clear divide makes some sense. Much of the new cost, but less of the direct benefit, will fall on those with large incomes, and be especially irksome to those whose income comes from capital gains. Imagine yourself seeing your income tax go from $150,000 to $185,000 and think how easy it would be to find things wrong with this law.

      This change in taxation may help the state of California balance its budget this year, as there is a significant incentive for high income earners to take their capital gains in 2012 instead of later (one small example of unintended consequences).

  4. Avatar Steve says:

    Unlike the politicians who voted on the act, I made a genuine effort to read it and understand it. Even though I have an insurance background, the act was unreadable. It referenced so many external sources that I did not find it understandable. So had to resort to reading the opinions of experts and analysts who were making an effort to read and understand the act. I made a reasonable effort to read summaries and analysis that were made available for groups with differing agendas.

    The expert commentary that stuck with me is paraphrased similar to "The act serves as the table of contents for the book that now needs to be written." The details are still being figured out and reduced to codes. No one knew what they were voting on. We still don't know what we will actually be stuck with.

    Very few people really want to have the difficult conversation about the conflicts between: Freedom, privacy, economics, health care standards, accessibility, incentives, research, compensation, costs, etc, as they apply to health care in this country.

    It seems that most people think something similar to: They are entitled to first-rate cutting edge health care, without delays, at affordable prices, without regard to their ability to pay, regardless of the choices they have made and the consequences of those choices. They do not want to be told to lose weight, exercise, and change their diet to cure their illness. Instead, they want to continue to engage in their unhealthy habits and take a pill once a day to treat that illness. They want that pill to be cheap. In spite of the fact that they want cheap drugs, they want drug companies to continue to do hundreds of millions of dollars of research in an effort to bring new drugs to market. They want advanced imaging and tests for cheap! They want doctors to charge less. They want insurance companies to insure everyone who wants a policy for a very affordable premium, but they don't want to be required to maintain an insurance policy to spread the financial risk for the insurance company. They don't want the cost of health care and insurance to alter their standard of living such as travel, vacations, entertainment, etc.

    What many people want is simply not possible to provide.

    So where are we going to cut back?

    I do not have the answers. I am willing to engage in the conversation. This act is not the answer to our health care problems. I just hope that we can get it thrown out and start from scratch.

    I do not presently work in the insurance or medical fields. I am a medical consumer and am very worried about the consequences of this act.

  5. Avatar Kathleen says:

    Well said, Barbara and Michael. I couldn't agree more. It's a good decision and great day!

  6. Avatar Sue says:

    I disagree that folks are looking for 'cheap drugs' or 'affordable care without regard to ability to pay'. I believe that people are simply looking for affordable medical care. The Affordable Health Care Act is huge is scope because is going to reorganized and regulate a system that is simply not working for millions in our country. Let's just start with helping those with pre-existing conditions being able to get insurance, and kids, like my young adult grand kids being covered under their parents plan until they can get established. Change is always hard, but it has begun. We are moving in the right direction, now approved by the Supreme Court. I say Full Steam Ahead!

  7. Avatar Barbara N. says:

    Bring it on, make it affordable…something is better than nothing.

  8. Avatar Budd Hodges says:

    A victory for the President and the Democratic Party. Thank You to the supreme court justices who had the forsight to vote for keeping this important legislation and insuring that all Americans can afford medical insurance even those with pre existing conditions.

    No gratitude goes out to those judges who voted no and lawmakers like our own Wallace Herger who voted nay in the first place when the bill was introduced in Congress. Their attitude is I've got my first class insurance, you can buy yours at Walmart or where ever you can find it.

    As someone mentioned earlier, every other civilized country in the world offers their people insurance. Why not us?

  9. Avatar Barbara N. says:

    You can buy insurance here, it is just going to cost you, a lot. I agree that they get it all from the tax payers, but we have to decide on making the mortgage, putting food on the table, basically surviving. I would love to see our elected officials having to make the same decisions we do. I want affordable health care, for me, my family and I want our politicians to have to make the same choices we have been making for years.

    • Avatar Canda says:

      That's it in a nutshell for me, Barbara. Our elected officials need to live under the exact same rules, regulations, laws, budget constraints, lack of benefits (I could go on and on) as we do. They've made themselves an elite class. They become incredibly wealthy and secure in lifetime benefits under the guise of "serving the people". I say thanks, but no thanks. Work your term for a decent wage, receive the exact same benefits as we do, then retire on social security like the rest of us. With "friends" like our elected officials, who needs enemies?

    • Avatar Mclisa says:

      What I find maddening is that the political philosophy who want to strike down the ACA also gets tearey-eyed over private enterprise. Small businesses don't get the group rates. I can now verify, since my husband just became an employee, that we were overcharged $800/month to insure two people. That is $800/month that didn't make its way into the local economy. He had to take a cut in pay, so I don't expect any windfalls in the future. What I do expect is a rise in spending, investment, maybe even hiring by small Mom&Pop businesses when the act becomes effective in 2014.

  10. Avatar Joe says:

    Glad to see so many smart and positive responses here. As expected, the other Redding news site is a war zone. Thank you Doni for providing this forum for people who can actually think and make decisions on their own rather than being a bobblehead for Limbaugh, Beck, and Fox News.

  11. This is an emotionally charged, complex subject, but three cheers to readers for showing – once again – how to handle even the most loaded topics with class and intellect and grace.

    Oh the joy of reading such civilized, well-reasoned comments by this community of readers who use their real names, who may disagree with each other, but do so without personal attacks. We listen to each other and learn from one another.

    If you visit other online news sites, you know that what happens here is very, very rare.

    The credit goes to you, dear readers, such as you, Barbara Rice, Steve, Barbara N. Joe, Andar, Budd Hodges, Kathleen, Sue, Mary D, Anna C., Michael and the all the others who will weigh in on this subject in days to come.

    Thank you. 🙂

  12. Thank you Barbara Rice & Bud Hodges for expressing your thoughts so well. I agree.

    Thank you, also, to the majority of the Supreme Court.

  13. Avatar pmarshall says:

    Yes, it will be good for those who are in real need of health insurance. I really think many of the charges for health care are far too high, but that may not change. If this new health bill is successful, then itwill be great. I know it takes a "Philadelphia Lawyer" to read that bill, which most of us aren't, so do hope those in charge know how to handle it. We shall see. It is not entirely settled yet.

  14. Avatar Barbara N. says:

    Not only is it not entirely settled, it could disappear in an election. This should be bigger than lower insurance costs. This could actually get us closer to health care for everyone. We all pay taxes, sometimes for unbelievable reasons. I would pay extra in taxes, just make it go to something good, for everyone.

  15. Frank Treadway Frank Treadway says:

    This is the greatest piece of social enactment by President Obama and the Supremes since the Franklin Roosevelt era, when he ushered in many of the rights and benefits we all enjoy today. May the Tea Party folks get over it and engage what could be fun for them, have a real tea party, with their children, who will grow-up to benefit from this ruling.