By Kathy Wray Coleman, Editor, Cleveland Urban News. Com and The Kathy Wray Coleman Online News Blog.Com
WASHINGTON, D.C.-President Obama's sweeping healthcare law that was adopted by Congress in 2010 before a divided America was narrowly upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court yesterday as passing constitutional muster with conservative Chief Justice John Roberts, a former president George W. Bush appointee who wrote the landmark opinion on behalf of the court, casting the swing vote with the four liberal's of the nation's high court, two of them appointed by Obama himself.
ObamaCare requires, among other mandates, that most Americans that can afford it, hold heath insurance by 2014 or face a penalty.
Among other provisions, it also expands medicaid for some low income Americans, precludes insurance companies from dropping people because they have preexisting conditions, prevents them from charging women higher premiums than men, and lets children stay on the parents' insurance policy until the age of 26.
"The highest court in the land has now spoken and we will continue to implement the law," Obama said in a press release to Cleveland Urban News.Com. "I didn't do it because I believed that it was good politics. I believe that it is good for the country. "
Obama said that the requirement to purchase health care insurance is fair because when people don't and they then appear as patients in hospital emergency rooms, the premiums go up for paying Americans, and he said that Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney supported that provision when he was governor of Massachusetts.
Challenging the law dubbed the Affordability Care Act were 26 states, including Ohio, and a small business trade group, as well as a wealth of Republican congressional lawmakers.
Supporting it were mainly Democrats and their supporters like some unions, as well as a cadre of women, among others.
But the court said that the penalty for not getting insurance is a legitimate tax that Congress can legally impose. And in striking down a small portion of the law, the court dismantled the law's plan to extend medicaid insurance wide span, stipulating the expansion only to the poor, and saying that the U.S. government lacks authority to penalize states that don't participate in this aspect of the law by withholding its entire medicaid allotment.
"This is a victory for all Americans," said Congresswoman Marcia L. Fudge of Ohio's majority Black 11th congressional district (D-11), in a press release."In my district alone an estimated 7,000 children with preexisting health conditions can no longer be denied coverage by health insurers, thousands of seniors will receive medicare preventive services with no out-of-pocket co-pays or deductibles, and thousands of seniors on medicare will receive an average discount of $490 per person on the cost of prescription drugs."
State Rep. John Barnes Jr., a Cleveland Democrat, said that he was pleased with the unprecedented court decision too.
"The decision represents the single most humanitarian effort of the 21st century because it responds to the tasks of the health needs for all of the American people," said Barnes.
Debbie Kline, who leads Cleveland Jobs With Justice, a union, faith based and community activist group with some 64 organizational affiliates, called the ruling "good for America."
Roberts and Justice Anthony Kennedy, both conservatives, were the most watched on the decision as they were the most aggressive in questioning lawyers for the Obama administration on the controversial issue during oral arguments in March, and Roberts came through for the president, the first Black one for the United States of America.
The nation's nine-member high court is no doubt divided on the issue, voting 5 to 4 to uphold it with justices Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan, both appointed by Obama, among the liberal majority of four justices that joined Roberts to seal the deal.
Dissenting were the three conservative justices other than Roberts, including Clarence Thomas, the only Black on the court , veteran and scholar Anton Scalia, and Kennedy, often a swing vote.
Cleveland area community activist Valerie Robinson, 77, a retired Cleveland schools teacher, said ObamaCare has some good things but that she remains ambivalent because she believes that it places more of a burden on the American people then on the federal government.
Romney vowed to overturn ObamaCare if elected president and Republican lawmakers say they will begin efforts to repeal it beginning with a congressional vote on July 11.
Reach Journalist Kathy Wray Coleman at www.kathywraycolemanonlinenewsblog.com,
and phone number: 216-932-3114.