Obama's health care act upheld by Supreme Court in 5-4 decision - MyFoxAustin.com | KTBC Fox 7 | News, Weather, Sports

Obama's health care act upheld by Supreme Court in 5-4 decision

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Justices of the Supreme Court of the United States (Credit: FOX) Justices of the Supreme Court of the United States (Credit: FOX)

There is celebration and anger in metro Detroit and across America as the nation reacts to the Supreme Court's decision to uphold the president's health care reforms.

The landmark ruling was close, 5 to 4.  Both of President Barack Obama's appointees Elena Kagan and Sonia Sotomayor were in favor along with President Clinton's appointees.  Chief Justice John Roberts, selected by President George W. Bush, was also of the opinion that the law is constitutional.

President Bush's other appointee Samuel Alito voted to strike down the law along with three other justices all appointed by Republican presidents.

Meanwhile, this is being called a huge campaign season victory for President Obama and it all could change based on the election, but as of right now the Affordable Health Care Act moves forward.

So should the government be able to force you to buy health insurance and penalize you if you don't?  That question was the centerpiece of the Supreme Court decision.

Opponents of the so-called individual mandate argued no, but supporters said forcing individuals to buy insurance is constitutional since eventually everyone will need health care, and the highest court in the land agreed upholding the penalty as a tax.

So what does this mean?  By 2014, states will have to set up their own health insurance exchanges offering affordable health care to everyone who can't afford it.  All Americans will have to buy health insurance or pay a penalty of one-percent of their income or $95 to the IRS.

Employers who have more than 50 employees will also face a penalty if they don't offer health insurance.  Insurers won't be allowed to turn away anyone with a pre-existing condition.

Now the president did not win all the battles.  The health care act required all states to expand Medicaid insurance plans to the poor or lose all funding and the justices ruled that is unconstitutional.  That's a big victory for individual states.

There are still many questions such as how will states like Michigan offer affordable coverage to the thousands that can't afford it and will premiums go up for the rest of us who have insurance through work?

While a lot of the mandates don't kick in until 2014, some of the changes already in place, such as keeping adult children on insurance plans until the age of 26 and offering Medicare recipients discounts on prescription drugs, those will stay in place.

Meanwhile, Republicans are making a lot of promises to get rid of the president's health care law by any means necessary.  The legal battle is over, but high profile members of the GOP say the party will take legislative action to repeal ObamaCare.

"I disagree with the Supreme Court's decision and I agree with the dissent.  What the court did not do on its last day in session I will do on my first day if elected president of the United States, and that is I will act to repeal ObamaCare," said presidential candidate Mitt Romney.

"The Supreme Court has spoken.  This law is a tax.  The bill was sold to the American people on a deception," said Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.

"I hope that people back home understand that if you don't buy health insurance, you have an IRS problem and who wants that?  So I hope that even the Democrats here in the Senate ... will repeal this thing and let's start from scratch," said Sen. Marco Rubio from Florida.

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