High court upholds key part of Obama health law

A demonstrator who is against the Supreme Court ruling on health care reform says a prayer outside of the Supreme Court  Thursday, June 28, 2012.
A demonstrator who is against the Supreme Court ruling on health care reform says a prayer outside of the Supreme Court Thursday, June 28, 2012. Jose Luis Magana/Special to The Day

Washington (AP) — The Supreme Court on Thursday upheld the individual insurance requirement at the heart of President Barack Obama's health care overhaul.

The decision means the historic overhaul will continue to go into effect over the next several years, affecting the way that countless Americans receive and pay for their personal medical care. The ruling also handed Obama a campaign-season victory in rejecting arguments that Congress went too far in requiring most Americans to have health insurance or pay a penalty.

Chief Justice John Roberts announced the court's judgment that allows the law to go forward with its aim of covering more than 30 million uninsured Americans.

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

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

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

The Day would be interested in talking today with readers who would like to comment for a local reaction story about the Supreme Court's decision on the Affordable Care Act. We'd be particularly interested in talking with people who've had recent experience receiving health care or issues related to insurance, access and affordability of care. If interested, please send a contact phone number to: Judy Benson, The Day's health-environment reporter, at: j.benson@theday.com.

Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn, speaks outside the Supreme Court in Washington Thursday, June 28, 2012, after the court's ruling on President Barack Obama's health care law was announced.
Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn, speaks outside the Supreme Court in Washington Thursday, June 28, 2012, after the court's ruling on President Barack Obama's health care law was announced. David Goldman/AP Photo
Tea Party supporter William Temple of Brunswick, Ga., protests against President Barack Obama's health care law outside the Supreme Court in Washington Thursday, June 28, 2012.
Tea Party supporter William Temple of Brunswick, Ga., protests against President Barack Obama's health care law outside the Supreme Court in Washington Thursday, June 28, 2012. David Goldman/AP Photo
Rep. Steve King speaks outside the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington Thursday, June 28, 2012. The Supreme Court on Thursday largely let stand President Barack Obama's health care overhaul, in a striking victory for the president.
Rep. Steve King speaks outside the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington Thursday, June 28, 2012. The Supreme Court on Thursday largely let stand President Barack Obama's health care overhaul, in a striking victory for the president. Brendan Hoffman/The New York Times
Demonstrators who are against the Supreme Court ruling on health care reform say a prayer outside of the Supreme Court  Thursday, June 28, 2012.
Demonstrators who are against the Supreme Court ruling on health care reform say a prayer outside of the Supreme Court Thursday, June 28, 2012. Jose Luis Magana/Special to The Day
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POLL

What's your response to the Supreme Court's decision on President Obama's health care overhaul?

I was stunned and disappointed.

48%

I'm elated. I strongly support this decision.

26%

I support this decision. It was difficult to make but legally sound.

18%

I do not have a strong reaction either way.

8%

Number of votes: 1520