The Supreme Court ruled on the controversial healthcare reform, voting to uphold the law, Thursday (June 28). Although it is not set to go into effect until 2014, the court’s 5-4 decision is a victory for President Obama, going into the forthcoming election, this November.
Republicans criticized Obama’s stance on the issue concluding that making every American purchase health care was unconstitutional. However, the court ruled that the mandate is a tax and therefore permissible. “In this case, however, it is reasonable to construe what Congress has done as increasing taxes on those who have a certain amount of income, but choose to go without health insurance,” wrote Chief Justice John Roberts in the majority opinion. “Such legislation is within Congress’s power to tax.”
Although challenged by 26 states, the outcome of the ruling has been one of the biggest issues hanging over Obama’s campaign, and could have potentially lampooned his bid for re-election, if it were to be struck down. In essence the ruling “makes going without insurance just another thing the Government taxes, like buying gasoline or earning income. And if the mandate is in effect just a tax hike on certain taxpayers who do not have health insurance, it may be within Congress’s constitutional power to tax.”
Citing the Commerce Clause—which gives the Government regulatory power— Roberts defined the terms of the decision. “That Clause authorizes Congress to regulate interstate commerce, not to order individuals to engage in it,” he wrote.
Obama laid out the health care proposal in 2010, which immediately became the target of bi-partisan critiques, which also came from presidential hopeful, Mitt Romney. According to the Associated Press, Romney has been preparing to use what he thought would be a negative response by the Supreme Court as one of the two pillars of his campaign. He has since called the ruling a “bad law,” and promised a repeal it, if elected.
Losing on the side of immigration, and now healthcare, has put the 65-year-old in a vulnerable position in his bid for to become commander in chief.
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