By a vote of 5-4 the Supreme Court of the United States largely upheld the Parent Protection and Affordable Care Act in a hotly-debated and long-anticipated decision Thursday morning.
The individual mandate, a key provision of the law that requires most Americans to maintain “minimum essential” health insurance coverage, passed muster with the judges.
Their decision did however limit the ability of the law, known as Obamacare, to require states to expand their Medicare programs.
The ruling surprised many after the arguments made before the Court earlier this year, it was assumed that the Court would strike down portions or all of the law as unconstitutional. However, the Supreme Court decision, which had the support of Chief Justice John Roberts, upheld the individual mandate as constitutional under the Tax Clause.
Valerie Burchfied Rhodes, a Laguna Niguel resident and blogger, who has written about health care issues for Patch said she was happy to hear the news.
"I was happy to wake up to the news that 'Obamacare was upheld by the Supreme Court. While the law isn't perfect, it is a step in the right direction toward expanding access to health care for all in our country. Since the law was enacted, we've already seen some of the benefits of the legislation implemented; preventative healthcare such as wellness exams and mammograms are now covered," she said.
"As many as 17 million children can no longer be excluded from coverage due to pre-existing conditions. Insurance companies can no longer rescind coverage once you're diagnosed with a serious illness. Young adults can maintain continuous coverage on their parents policies," she continued.
"Women can no longer be charged more for coverage than men. Insurance companies must refund overpriced premiums and must justify future rate hikes. Nearly 3.6 million seniors who fell into the Medicare 'doughnut hole' last year saved an average of $604 on prescription drugs. The list goes on. It is a good day for the American people."
The Court did strike down parts of the Act’s Medicaid funding formula, which could conceivably have an impact on the skilled nursing sector.
At close to 200 pages, the industry is still reading through the decision to determine what, exactly, the impact will be on that asset class as well as the entire health care real estate sector.
The ruling will affect millions of people; it is also expected to boost President Barack Obama's chances in the November presidential elections.
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