WASHINGTON - The Supreme Court Thursday ruled that the individual insurance mandate at the heart of the health care reform law is constitutional if it is treated as a tax.
Chief Justice John Roberts, a conservative on the court, sided with the four progressive justices. Justice Anthony Kennedy, who is considered a swing vote, opposed the entire law as unconstitutional.
Reaction was swift from both the Left and the Right.
Congresswoman Michele Bachmann, once a GOP presidential nomination hopeful, expressed her disappointment.
“Today’s Supreme Court decision raises the stakes for the coming month,” she said.
“Since Congress passed Obamacare in 2010, I have made its repeal my top priority. After leading thousands to Washington to speak against its passage, I was the first to introduce the bill to repeal it. Obamacare represents the largest expansion of entitlement spending and a playground of left-wing social engineering in our country’s history and must be stopped.”
Bachmann says that, now, the only way to “save the country” from “Obamacare’s budget-busting government takeover of health care” is to completely repeal it.
It’s a view shared by Chamber of Commerce President Tom Donohue.
“While we respect the court’s decision,” he said, the law is “fundamentally flawed.”
Left unchanged, he argued, “it will cost many Americans their employer-based health insurance, undermine job creation and raise health care costs for all.”
But those on the Left were, predictably, more celebratory in their responses.
“Our highest court has weighed in, and its decision to uphold the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is a victory for all Americans who have ever worried about being able to access or afford the care they need,” House Minority Whip StenyHoyer said.
“Democrats are proud to have worked hard to pass this landmark legislation in 2010 and of our efforts to make sure it is implemented in a way that continues to yield new benefits for patients, employers, and care providers.”
“Today, in upholding the Affordable Care Act, the Supreme Court has shown that, even at a time when Washington seems to have reached a new level of dysfunction, there remains a respect for the rule of law, for precedent, and for the ability of Congress to legislate on matters that affect the American people,.” added Democratic Congressman Jerry Nadler.
“By not caving in to the most craven political calls, it appears the court has stood by more than 70 years of legal precedent to ensure that: some 32 million Americans will have access to health insurance; we stop the unnecessary deaths of 42,000 Americans annually who die simply because they lack health insurance; insurers can no longer deny a child health care because of pre-existing conditions; millions of young adults receive coverage on their parents’ plans until age 26; insurers can no longer impose lifetime limits on coverage; millions of Americans receive free preventive care, and seniors save billions of dollars on prescription drugs.”