The most controversial clause of the Affordable Care Act has been upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court, the court announced Thursday.
The group of bills aimed at overhauling the American health care system was signed into law by President Barack Obama in March 2010. Since then, 26 states filed suit against the act, stating that provisions in it required most uninsured Americans to purchase health insurance were unconstitutional.
According to the Washington Post, the Supreme Court agreed that the mandate itself is unconstitutional, but that it is within the rights of Congress to tax individuals for not having health care. Chief Justice John Roberts wrote the majority opinion.
The ruling also upheld a portion of the bill that asks states to expand their Medicaid coverage, but said that the federal government cannot without Medicaid funding for states that choose not to comply.
Congressman John Dingell, an ardent supporter of the act who represents Dearborn in the House of Representatives, applauded the ruling.
“We have a long-term effective solution to the health care crisis in this country," Dingell said in a statement. "And, now, I am proud to say that with the agreement of the Supreme Court, we can continue on with the business of making sure Americans have access to the best medicines, hospitals and medical professionals in the world.
"I know my father who started this fight is smiling from up above.”
CEO Nancy Schlichting also praised the ruling ruling as “a win-win” for patients and the country’s health care system.
“This ruling allows health systems like ours to continue making positive reforms to the country’s health care system that was on an unsustainable track prior to the passage of the Act,” says Schlichting, who heads the Dearborn-based health care system. “We’re thrilled for the nearly 500,000 uninsured people in Michigan who will now have access to affordable health care, many for the first time, which in turn will bring much needed economic relief to Henry Ford and other health care providers that have been coping for years with the growing cost of uncompensated care.”
Dearborn-based has maintained that the health care changes will not affect their methods of providing patient care.
"We’ve been developing and adopting the best methods for providing improved quality, greater value and compassionate care for several years now," said Oakwood President and CEO Brian Connolly in a statement. "We plan to move forward with those initiatives regardless of today’s decision not only because it’s who we are as a healthcare provider, but because it’s the right thing to do."
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