The most controversial clause of the Affordable Care Act has been upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court, the court announced Thursday.
The group of bills aimed at overhauling the American health care system was signed into law by President Barack Obama in March 2010. Since then, 26 states filed suit against the act, stating that provisions in it required most uninsured Americans to purchase health insurance were unconstitutional.
According to the Washington Post, the Supreme Court agreed that the mandate itself is unconstitutional, but that it is within the rights of Congress to tax individuals for not having health care. Chief Justice John Roberts wrote the majority opinion.
The ruling also upheld a portion of the bill that asks states to expand their Medicaid coverage, but said that the federal government cannot without Medicaid funding for states that choose not to comply.
Congressman Gary Peters, an ardent supporter of the act who represents West Bloomfield in the House of Representatives, applauded the ruling.
"The Supreme Court reaffirmed what I have been saying for years, everybody in this country has the right to quality affordable health care," Peters said in a statement.
CEO Nancy Schlichting also praised the ruling ruling as “a win-win” for patients and the country’s health care system.
"This ruling allows health systems like ours to continue making positive reforms to the country’s health care system that was on an unsustainable track prior to the passage of the Act," said Schlichting. "We’re thrilled for the nearly 500,000 uninsured people in Michigan who will now have access to affordable health care, many for the first time, which in turn will bring much needed economic relief to Henry Ford and other health care providers that have been coping for years with the growing cost of uncompensated care."
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