The court decided that the government is permitted to penalize individuals who refuse to purchase health insurance, according to NBC News. The Supreme Court ruled that the federal government can levy a "tax" on individuals who do not buy into the system, according to NBC News.
The individual health care mandate is the key provision in Obamacare, and some legal experts thought that it could be ruled unconstitutional by the Supreme Court. Had it been stripped from the law, many other provisions—such as covering people with pre-existing conditions and not capping insurance coverage—most likely would have been removed, as well.
The decision is a major victory for the Obama administration, which touted the law passed in March 2010 as its signature legislative achievement. However, there are other Americans who decried the law because of concerns about the federal government's role in regulating the health care industry.
The Supreme Court justices listened to oral arguments on the case in late March before issuing their decision at 10 a.m. Thursday. The court voted 5-4 to uphold the law with Chief Justice John Roberts casting the deciding vote and writing the majority opinion.
One of the few Democrats to vote against the health care law was U.S. Rep. Jason Altmire, D-McCandless. Today, he agreed with the high court's decision.
"I never believed, nor did I ever argue, that it would be found unconstitutional. I voted against the bill because my constituents were overwhelmingly against it, and because I believed that bill was flawed policy," he said.
"Now that the Court has ruled, it is my hope that we can once and for all put the acrimonious political debate behind us and do what we should have been doing all along—working together in a bipartisan fashion to improve upon the law and bring down health care cost for American families, businesses and the government."
U.S. Rep. Tim Murphy, R-Upper St. Clair, wants to repeal the law and find other solutions for the health care system.
“Congress must get to work on fully repealing this bill and undoing the new tax before it goes into full effect,” Murphy wrote in a statement. “The bill that was rushed through Congress and signed into law was unpopular, unworkable and unsustainable. It was not designed to deliver the kind of healthcare reforms Americans want and need. Simply put, a healthcare tax is not healthcare reform.”
U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey, R-PA, maintained that the court made the wrong decision.
"I'm deeply disappointed that the U.S. Supreme Court has upheld Obamacare," he said in a statement posted on his Facebook page. "Today's ruling is a blow to personal liberties. It's up to Congress now to pass a full repeal."
Tommey's counterpart on the other side of the aisle admits the law is far from perfect.
"I will continue to work with other senators to make improvements to the legislation," said Sen. Bob Casey, D-PA. "Further, there is no doubt that we still confront significant challenges to reducing the cost of health care, and the only way to address these in the long run is for Democrats and Republicans to work together."
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