According to Yahoo News, on Thursday, June 28, the Supreme Court upheld most of the provisions in The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (usually shortened to Affordable Care Act). Importantly, by a 5-4 vote, the justices stated that the individual mandate is constitutional. This portion of the legislation allows the federal government, with some exceptions, to collect fees from uninsured individuals. Per The Hill, a majority of the public wanted the Supreme Court to throw out all or part of the health care act. However, I believe the justices made the right decision in this case.
Many Americans, including me, might have reservations about the Affordable Care Act; however, they have to admit that the legislation was crafted by popularly elected officials in the House and Senate. That is the way it should be. The fate of the Affordable Care Act should be determined by elected representatives, who are beholden to the voters, and not by appointed officials. The Supreme Court’s ruling ensures that this will be the case. The American people will now decide, via their votes in November, whether or not the Affordable Care Act is repealed.
And while the Supreme Court’s ruling in favor of the individual mandate might not be popular, it is preferable to a scenario in which the justices threw out this portion of the healthcare bill but left everything else intact. As I noted in a previous article, the latter outcome would have created a potential nightmare situation that required federal and state government agencies to provide insurance coverage to all Americans without allocating the funds necessary to achieve this result.
Finally, The Washington Post notes that Republicans are supportive of some parts of the current healthcare law. If that is the case, the Supreme Court’s decision is in the best interests of the American people. Whichever party wins in November will find it much easier to repeal sections of the Affordable Care Act it dislikes than to go through the agonizing task of trying to create sweeping new healthcare legislation to replace the current bill. Such a process would not only run the risk of failure, it would waste taxpayer dollars on redundant research and debate. Just as important, it would divert legislators’ attentions from other, important issues like immigration reform and Iran.
The Supreme Court’s ruling on the Affordable Care Act might not be popular. However, I believe the justices made the right decision in leaving it up to the American people to choose whether or not to keep the healthcare legislation intact when they go to the polls in November.
The author is a freelance writer. He has worked in the health care industry for nine years and has interned with a health policy think tank. He has a M.S. in Health Systems Administration from Georgetown University.