BY MARY STROKA
The United States Supreme Court ruled June 28 that the Affordable Care Act the Obama administration developed and made a law in March 2010 was constitutional in a 5-4 decision. Conservative Chief Justice John Roberts' surprising affirmative vote made the final decision, which found that the mandate is constitutional because of Congress' ability to tax.
However, the Supreme Court did not rule on the constitutionality of the part of the law that would require most employers, including religious groups that maintain an opposition, to pay for contraception, sterilization, and abortifacients with no co-pay from their employees.
The highly controversial law and the decision has been a cause for rejoicing for some and a cause for deep disappointment for others. With about 17 percent of Americans lacking health insurance in 2011, the highest percentage since 2008 according to a Gallup study, the issue is becoming more and more relevant to all Americans. The law allows children to stay on their parents' insurance plan until age 26, extends Medicaid to more low-income families as well as expanding the program's benefits, and necessitates that insurance companies include people with preexisting conditions. Some say that all of these items, as well as others the law includes, are beneficial; however, others argue that they may create problems for the economy. The law doesn't really address wasteful spending in health care. There's no tort reform. Also, these taxes that would be levied on individuals and companies that do not wish to comply would be punitive and restrictive, some might say. The law increases the costs of hiring, which may encourage companies not to hire new employees, thus affecting the unemployment and underemployment rate. There are several lawsuits by organizations that oppose the law's measures that may affect the law's future, regardless, so there may be hope for those who do not agree with the majority ruling of the Supreme Court.