The New York Times reports that the Supreme Court has largely let stand President Obama’s health care overhaul, in a mixed ruling that court observers were rushing to analyze.
The decision was a striking victory for the president and Congressional Democrats, with a majority of the court, including the conservative chief justice, John G. Roberts Jr, affirming the central legislative pillar of Obama’s term.
Many observers called the case the most significant before the court since at least the 2000 Bush v. Gore ruling, which decided a presidential election. In addition to the political reverberations, the case helps set the rules for one of the largest and fastest-growing sectors of the economy, one that affects nearly everyone from cradle to grave.
The decision did significantly restrict one major portion of the law: the expansion of Medicaid, the government health-insurance program for low-income and sick people. The ruling gives states some flexibility not to expand their Medicaid programs, without paying the same financial penalties that the law called for.
But the court ruling is a crucial victory for the law that will allow its introduction to continue in the coming years. Passed in 2010, the law is intended to end the United States’ status as the only rich country with large numbers of uninsured people, by expanding both the private market and Medicaid.
The key provision that 26 states opposing the law had challenged – known as the individual mandate – requires virtually all citizens to buy health insurance meeting minimum federal standards or to pay a fine if they refuse.
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[Source; The New York Times]