Affordable Care Act

Health Care Law Upheld. Now What?

Jun 28, 2012

Now that the Supreme Court has decided that the Affordable Care Act can stand, it's time to think about what the law actually means for your medical coverage. The requirement that everyone buy health insurance (the individual mandate) has gotten all the attention, but there's a lot more to the health law. So let's review the changes the law has already wrought and those that still lie ahead:


Northern Illinois University health care economist James Ciesla says it's unclear yet just how many Illinoisans will benefit from the law being allowed to stand.

Ciesla said the Illinois Hospital Association estimates between 1.3 and 1.7 million people are uninsured, “so this ruling most directly affects those people.”

Mitt Romney, the presumptive Republican nominee for President, said the Supreme Court's health care ruling highlights why it's important to defeat President Obama in November.

Romney vowed that if he's elected, he would replace the national health care law with legislation that would allow patients to keep their doctors and ensure coverage for people with pre-existing conditions. Both of those provisions are contained in the existing law.

He did not mention the individual mandate, which is similar to one in a Massachusetts law that he signed while he was governor.

The Supreme Court’s decision today upholding the controversial Affordable Care Act and its individual mandate is a deep disappointment to small businesses everywhere, the head of the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) said today.

 “While we are certainly disappointed, NFIB respects the decision to uphold the individual mandate by the Supreme Court,” said Dan Danner, President and CEO of the National Federation of Independent Business. “Clearly this mandate has now become a tax on all Americans and a broken campaign promise from President Obama not to raise taxes.

U.S. House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, says the Supreme Court ruling upholding the individual insurance requirement at the heart of President Barack Obama's health care overhaul shows the need to repeal the law.

“The president’s healthcare law is hurting our economy by driving up health costs and making it harder for small businesses to hire," he said. "Today’s ruling underscores the urgency of repealing this harmful law in its entirety.

Several citizen action groups will hold a rally in Daley Plaza at 5 p.m. today praising the Supreme Court ruling as a “profound victory for American consumers.”

“With this seminal Supreme Court decision, the constitutional debate over the law ended and the quest toward affordable and accessible healthcare moved triumphantly forward,” according to a statement from Citizen Action/Illinois.

Initial accounts from various news organizations on the U.S. Supreme Court's 5-4 decision to uphold most of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act were vague and sometimes confusing at best today.

Apparently trying to be first with the big news, CNN trumpeted that the individual mandate for everyone to have health insurance had been overturned. It later backed off the announcement as more of the opinions and statements were read in court.

Other news organizations held back for more and then proclaimed the mandate had been upheld as a tax.

When the Supreme Court announces its long-anticipated decision on the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act on Thursday, all eyes will be on the so-called individual mandate. That's the section of the law that requires most Americans to either have health insurance or pay a penalty starting in 2014.