We can only hope that this ruling will remind the UK government how lucky we are to have the NHS.
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act – informally known as Obamacare – was upheld in a landmark decision by the Supreme Court yesterday, allowing the continuation of health reforms that will require all Americans to have health insurance.
Currently, 50 million people in the United States are without health insurance and if this continues under the new rules, those people will be forced to pay a penalty (except in cases of financial hardship or religious beliefs).
Forcing healthier people into the insurance market will drive down premiums for everyone.
The law also prevents insurance companies from refusing coverage to those with pre-existing conditions and will allow people under 26 to stay on their parent’s health insurance.
Conservatives fought against the law on the grounds that the ‘individual mandate’ component could not legally force people to buy health insurance. Yet, the Supreme Court ruled that this amounted to a tax and was therefore legal.
The Guardian reports:
Barack Obama’s re-election hopes received a major boost on Thursday when the US supreme court upheld his landmark healthcare reforms in a historic ruling the president hailed as a victory for the entire country.
In a decision which ensures that the political battle over healthcare continues to election day in November, the divided court upheld the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act on the grounds that its controversial central provision – the requirement for almost all Americans to buy health insurance, known as the individual mandate – is legal because the measure amounts to a tax.
Obama, who was given no preview of the decision and had to wait for the announcement just like everyone else, was reported to have been euphoric when the news came through.
• Vote 2012: Americans in the UK 27 Apr 2012
Vermont senator Bernie Sanders said:
“Today is a good day for millions of Americans who have pre-existing conditions who can no longer be rejected by insurance companies. It is a good day for families with children under 26 who can keep their children on their health insurance policies.
“It is a good day for women who can no longer be charged far higher premiums than men. It is a good day for 30 million uninsured Americans who will have access to healthcare. It is a good day for seniors who will continue to see their prescription drug costs go down as the so-called doughnut hole goes away.
“It is a good day for small businesses who simply cannot continue to afford the escalating costs of providing insurance for their employees. It is a good day for 20 million Americans who will soon be able to find access to community health centres.”
How refreshing to hear of health reforms that are actually benefiting the people of their country. We can only hope that this ruling will remind the UK government how lucky we are to have the NHS and how dismantling it will benefit very few people of our country.