WASHINGTON The U.S. Supreme Court's 5-4 ruling Thursday upheld a majority of the Affordable Care Act, otherwise known as Obamacare.
A key component of this ruling is the decision to uphold the individual mandate, a stipulation requiring all Americans to have health insurance.
Tax credits and subsidies will be made available to assist lower income citizens in affording health care.
LOCAL?RESIDENTS came out in full force Thursday afternoon in?Bridgeport to vent their frustrations with the US?Supreme Court’s Obamacare ruling.
Chief Justice John Roberts, much to the apparent surprise of conservatives nationwide, cast the deciding vote, setting off a firestorm of discussion.
The vote is being hailed as a victory for President Barack Obama while the campaign of Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney is utilizing the decision as a rallying cry for support in November as his supporters are touting a new president as the lone chance at overturning Obamacare.
Federal and state lawmakers across the Buckeye State rushed to issue press releases and statements, with opinions both for and against the ruling splitting down party lines.
Rep. Bill Johnson (R-Marietta) reiterated his stance in full support of repeal.
" Since making my first vote to repeal Obamacare, I've said that Obamacare is bad policy and bad medicine," Johnson said. "While the Supreme Court found that the law is constitutional, it's still bad policy and bad medicine.
"The battle isn't over. I'll continue to fight for the total repeal and the implementation of real, patient-centered solutions like health savings accounts, portability of insurance between jobs and sates and lawsuit abuse reform."
Former Congressman and current candidate Charlie Wilson (D-Bridgeport) issued a statement of support for the legislation.
"Here's the good news for the people of Eastern Ohio: The donut hole is closed, the cost of prescription drugs are lower and families can keep children on their parents' plans until the age of 26," Wilson began. "Yet this low is not perfect and I look forward to working with members of both parties to improve the law by giving states more flexibility to innovate, to hold down costs and to help small businesses spend less on health care and more on creating jobs.
"Let's be clear: Bill Johnson wants to turn Medicare into a voucher program and privatize Social Security."
Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) mirrored Wilson's statements, expressing his support.
" Today's ruling means that more than 1.2 million Ohio seniors will continue to have access to cancer screenings and wellness exams through Medicare," Brown said. "Nearly 97,000 young adults in our state will continue to be able to stay on their parents' health insurance until they're 26. Parents of children with pre-existing conditions like cancer, asthma, or diabetes will no longer worry that they will be unable to buy health insurance."
Ohio Treasurer Josh Mandel, who is campaigning against Brown for his senate seat, criticized both the decision and Brown's support of it.
"Sherrod Brown staked his 38-year political career on casting the deciding vote for what will likely go down as the biggest tax increase in history," Mandel said. "This is not just any old tax increase, it is a tax increase that falls squarely upon the shoulders of the poor, the middle class and small businesses that can least afford to pay it.
"Even worse, this law increases the cost of care, puts government bureaucrats between patients and their doctors and hurts the ability of private sector job creators in Ohio ti give their workers the benefits they deserve."
Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH), Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine, Gov. John Kasich and Lt. Gov. Mary Taylor issued similar statements of disagreement with the Supreme Court's ruling and the ACA itself.
We The People Ohio Valley (WTPOV) issued a far more scathing opinion of the ruling, going so far as to say liberty was lost.
"This Court's decision extends far beyond healthcare control, it actually assaults the very freedom and liberty the Supreme Court is supposed to protect," said Bob Connors, spokesman for WTPOV. "President Obama now has complete control of the entire healthcare system, making it more like the European ?socialist style system that is now contributing to the financial destruction of several European countries."
The group held an impromptu protest on the corner of U.S. 40 and the Ohio 7 offramp in Bridgeport on Thursday, holding signs and voicing their displeasure at the ruling. Roughly 30-40 protestors attended.
In touting the ruling, the Obama administration pointed out some of the Affordable Care Acts major changes for the benefit of Americans.
Insurance companies will no longer have unchecked power to cancel your policy, deny your coverage or charge women more than men.
Soon, no American will ever again be denied care or charged more due to a pre-existing condition, like cancer or even asthma.
Preventive care will still be covered free of charge by insurance companies--including mammograms for women and wellness visits for seniors.
By August, millions of Americans will receive a rebate because their insurance company spent too much of their premium on administrative costs or CEO bonuses.
5.3 million seniors will continue to save $600 a year on their prescription drugs.
Efforts to strengthen and protect Medicare by cracking down on waste, fraud, and abuse will remain in place.
6.6 million young adults will still be able to stay on their family's plan until they're 26.
One potential problem came when the Supreme Court struck down a stipulation that the federal government can penalize states that choose not to participate in the expansion of Medicaid coverage.
The ACA calls for the expansion of Medicaid coverage that would enable lower income Americans who currently are unable to afford coverage yet make too much for Medicaid eligibility to be covered. The expansion was to be covered by increased federal and state funding.
Previously, states choosing to opt out of the increase would have faced a penalty of no federal Medicaid financial support.
Now that the threat of an option no longer exists, states can choose to opt out without fear of financial reprisal. In making this decision, it could leave millions of Americans in a gray area of sorts, still unable to qualify for Medicaid, or the promised tax breaks and subsidies designed to make care more affordable.
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