Photo: Supreme Court Upholds Affordable Healthcare Act
Today the U.S. Supreme Court, in a 5-4 vote, upheld the Affordable Care Act (ACA) to the relief and praise of many Latinos. The mandate provision was also upheld but the Court struck down the Medicaid expansion provision.
The requirement that most Americans have health insurance under ‘Obamacare’ will be well received by the estimated 30 million uninsured Americans, many of which are Latinos. This historic overhaul of the U.S. health care system will now go into effect in 2014.
In essence the Court struck down arguments that ‘Obamacare’ was too far reaching in mandating that most Americans have health insurance and be penalized if they didn’t. Five justices ruled in favor of the health care overhaul: Stephen Breyer, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Elena Kagan, Sonia Sotomayor and Chief Justice John Roberts.
The importance of the decision for Latinos cannot be overstated. The positive reaction was swift from Latino organizations. “Latinas have historically faced a disproportionate number of barriers to basic health care, and we can now envision a future where those barriers begin to crumble,” said National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health, executive director Jessica González-Rojas. “Everyone has a fundamental right to quality, affordable health care. Today’s Supreme Court decision is an important step toward making that right a reality.”
Congressmen Luis Gutierrez noted “For Latino families, for Chicago families, and for all families, the extension of coverage to young adults, the eventual extension of coverage to people who cannot afford care, and the security that will be built into our health care system are life changing and tremendously helpful.”
Since taking effect the ACA has already helped more than 736,000 young Latino/as retain health coverage under their parents’ plans un they reach the age of 26. More than 3 million Latino children (one out of every six) are uninsured, while Latino children are almost twice as likely as White children to have an unmet medical need because of cost.
Meanwhile, Republican Presidential candidate Mitt Romney vowed to “repeal Obamacare on my first day in office” if elected, while Senator Marco Rubio on CNN saw this as a “loss for America” and noted “American people don’t like it.”