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Supreme Court Upholds Affordable Health Care Reform Law

The Supreme Court announced Thursday morning that the Affordable Care Act mandating every American to purchase health insurance is constitutional. What do you think of this decision?

The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that the central provision of President Barack Obama's signature Affordable Care Act - the individual health insurance mandate - is constitutional, according to the Huffington Post.

The 5-4 majority opinion, written by Chief Justice John Roberts, upheld the mandate as a tax, with Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan joining in the majority. The majority did rule, however, that the mandate was not valid as an exercise of Congress' commerce clause power.

The decision looks like a political compromise among the justices, letting the mandate stand without wading into the contentious question of whether the provision is a valid exercise of Congress' power to regulate interstate commerce. The majority concluded that the mandate, which requires virtually all Americans to obtain minimum health insurance coverage or pay a penalty, falls within Congress' power under the Constitution to "lay and collect taxes," Huffington Post reported.

Had the individual mandate been stripped from the law, many other provisions–such as covering people with pre-existing conditions and not capping insurance coverage–most likely would have been removed, as well.

The decision is a major victory for the Obama administration, which touted the law passed in March 2010 as its signature legislative achievement. But there are many Americans who decried the law because of concerns about the federal government's role in regulating the health care industry.

Rep. Lynn Woolsey, Sonoma and Marin's representative in Congress who is retiring this year, called on the U.S. Congress to seize on the ruling as a chance to expand on health care reform.

"Our struggle isn’t over," she said in a statement. "Republicans in Congress will still try to dismantle the Affordable Care Act piece by piece. They still don’t get it. They are still nostalgic for the old, broken health care system that left millions without coverage; bankrupted families and small businesses; and put the middle class at the mercy of the insurance industry."

More on this ruling throughout the day, but what do you think of the court's decision to uphold the individual mandate? Use our poll below to give us your first response, comments for your thoughts.

Dorothy June 28, 2012 at 07:05 PM
Not having actually read the Supreme Court opinion, I am not certain of what it says. But I fear that what Dee says may turn out to be true.
Lauren Ayers June 29, 2012 at 08:57 PM
Wouldn't it be great if real health, i.e. from eating right (back to traditional food with a proven track record) and exerting ourselves more (taking the stairs, playing tag outside instead of online), would get some attention. Michael Pollan says, "Roughly three quarters of the two-trillion plus we spend on health care in this country goes to treat chronic diseases, most of which can be prevented by a change in lifestyle, especially diet." One particular nutrient is especially missing in modern life: vitamin D. We hardly get out into the sun, which is the main source. As for food sources fish is now a luxury rather than a staple. John Phillip wrote in Technorati (5-16-10) that studies show heart disease can be reduced by over 50%, with savings of $84 billion annually! He goes on that 17 types of cancer can be cut by as much as 77%, and those savings could be $400 billion.
Lauren Ayers June 29, 2012 at 08:57 PM
A 50-pound child would have to drink 20 glasses of milk daily to get enough, or, if it was a natural source, 6 portions of salmon! Over 70% of Americans have sub-optimum levels of D, and by February any that was stored last summer is gone, hence a new theory of why flu hits in the winter. When you search ‘diabetes and omega-3s and vitamin D’ or plug in 'heart disease' or 'cancer,' the science clearly shows that simple nutritional changes could transform our medical system, but policy makers are blind to these potential benefits. Why do the French have lower levels of all these dread diseases? The French Paradox arises from Gaelic loyalty to traditional foods (even going back to Paleolithic times) based on animal fat. Due to the corporate grip on our food, there’s no American Paradox! (Don’t be led astray by so-called paleo diet books that advocate low fat; real hunter-gatherers tossed aside the lean meat in preference to fat and organ meats, which pregnant women had first dibs on because everyone knew fats were rich in nutrients and energy.)
Lauren Ayers June 29, 2012 at 08:58 PM
There is no way to briefly sort out the tidal wave of misinformation out there. Three books based on epidemiological data from successful traditions show that real paleo food has a ratio of at least 40% fat (with olive and coconut being among the few veg oils with a good historical track record): Deep Nutrition, Catherine Shanahan, MD Nourishing Traditions, Sally Fallon Primal Body – Primal Mind, Nora Gedgaudas In the old days, cancer and heart disease were rare. Don’t be fooled by the line, “People didn’t live long enough to get cancer or heart disease,” because those who reached 60, 70 or 80 back then rarely died of the diseases hitting people of 40 and 50 now. Our ancestors consumed lots of sea food, and always used bone marrow and organ meats in soup. They fermented foods like sauerkraut, kimchi, homemade pickles, homemade yogurt. All eggs and meat were “pastured” and the fats that gave food flavor and satiety were (lard, cream, and butter).
Lauren Ayers June 29, 2012 at 08:58 PM
Fifty years ago the evidence for avoiding animal fats was inferred from incomplete research, and Big Ag pushed switching to vegetable oil as an alternative. Now, in a 180 reversal, partially hydrogenated vegetable oils (trans fats) are banned in New York City and California schools. Eggs, once demonized, have been rehabilitated and the Atkins diet alerted Americans about the value of animal fats (although steers raised on grain are not going to be very good for us). Most Americans are very deficient in two animal-sourced omega-3s, DHA and EPA. We evolved on an omega-3 to omega-6 ratio of 1:2, but now we’re at 1:20, and America’s teens are more like 1:30! Talk about a 25% high school drop out rate, here's a core cause no one is correcting.

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