Supreme Court upholds ‘individual mandate’ in health care law

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Missouri News Horizon
Washington D.C.
- The United States Supreme Court upheld President Obama’s health care law Thursday, ruling that the requirement that most Americans buy health insurance or pay a fine is constitutional as a tax.

Chief Justice John Roberts joined the four liberals on the court to uphold Obama and the Democrats’ landmark legislation.

The individual mandate is still months away from implementation, while other, more popular provisions, like allowing individuals up to age 26 to remain on their parents health care plan, have already gone into effect.

Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., said the Supreme Court’s decision strengthens his hope for a repeal of the law.

“Congress must repeal this deeply flawed law in its entirety and replace it with thoughtful, common-sense reforms that put patients and doctors in control of health care – not Washington bureaucrats,” Blunt said.

To repeal, it would likely require a Republican controlled Senate in the fall. One of the most targeted Democrats up for reelection Sen. Claire McCaskill, issued the following statement through John LaBombard, spokesman: “There’s only ever been one goal for Claire—affordable, accessible health care for Missouri.”

Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder, R-Mo., who filed his own challenge to the law in federal court, said the decision makes his own legal fight all the more important.

“Today’s decision underscores the dire importance of pending lawsuits such as my own, the November election and the need for the full repeal of this monstrous tax on Americans,” he said in a statement.

In Missouri, nearly 14 percent of the population is uninsured. The state of Missouri now will consider whether to implement state level health insurance exchanges, as required by the law. Missouri voters will consider whether to allow the governor to implement the exchange without authority by the General Assembly.

Gov. Jay Nixon, D-Mo., who would be the one to implement the exchanges, has said he would wait to decide until after the Supreme Court ruled. Ahead of the ruling, Nixon declared his opposition to the individual mandate.

“I don’t think the federal government should be telling people what they have to buy as far as private insurance,” Nixon said. “That has been my position throughout. I don’t think that is the proper role of the federal government.”

During the heavily Republican primary in 2010, 70 percent of Missouri voters rejected the mandate.