NEW YORK | Can a government compel citizens to purchase basic health insurance? For President Obama, it should, indeed. For all Republican candidates, this would be a clear violation of individual rights.
The US Supreme Court agreed on Monday to take up the case of President Barack Obama’s landmark health care reform in March. By June, the nation’s 9 top justices -viewed as one of the most conservative benches in decades- are expected to rule on whether Congress exceeded its authority by requiring all Americans to get insurance by 2014 or pay a penalty. This is nine months before the polls.
How will that timing play in the campaign?
The Affordable Care Act is one of the long-held dreams for Democrats and it would extend health coverage to an extra 32 million people in America, with wide ramifications for company costs and for the health sector, affecting health insurers, drugmakers, device companies and hospitals. A ruling against it could be a major blow for Obama as he battles to win a second term.
Analyst Ilya Shapiro told the AFP that the case would be the most important examined by the court since the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision which legalized abortion in America.
“Both ways, it will not be good for the president. If it is struck down, his major accomplishment of his first term is gone. If it’s upheld, it would energize not only the Tea Party and the Republican base but independents that overwhelmingly don’t like this law”
Obama signed this law in March 2010, calling it “a reform that will finally make sure that nobody goes bankrupt in America just because they get sick.” Back then the Democrats still controlled both chambers of Congress. Since then, more than half of U.S. states have sued to block implementation. In this interactive article, The New York Times explains all the cases where the individual mandate has been challenged. A CNN poll reveals that 52% of Americans favor mandatory health insurance, up from 44% in June.
According to the Associated Press, this Obama care case could become the high court’s most significant and political ruling since its 5-4 decision in the Bush v Gore case nearly 11 years ago effectively sealed George W Bush’s 2000 presidential election victory.