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Individual Mandate Survives: Court Upholds Key Part of Obama Health Law

By: Associated Press
By: Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) -- June 28, 2012 - 2:15pm -

President Barack Obama cast the Supreme Court's election-year vindication of his sweeping federal health care law as a victory for the American people. His Republican rival Mitt Romney vowed to repeal it on his first day in office if he wins the November election.

The high court's ruling Thursday to uphold the overhaul put an end to what had been one of the biggest unknowns in the presidential race.

Obama, speaking from the same spot in the White House where he signed the health care bill into law more than two years ago, sought to tamp down the political implications of the court's ruling. The decision, he said, was about upholding the fundamental principle that no one in America should fall into financial ruin because of illness.

"Whatever the politics, today's decision was a victory for people all over this country whose lives will be more secure because of this law and the Supreme Court's decision to uphold it," he said.

Romney, who spoke before the president, doubled-down on his campaign pledge to repeal the law and cast his candidacy as the next best hope for the millions of Americans who oppose it.

"If we want to get rid of Obamacare, we're going to have to replace President Obama," Romney said from a rooftop in Washington overlooking the U.S. Capitol.

With just over four months until the nation votes, both Obama and Romney will campaign on the high court ruling and use it to raise money for their campaigns.

The Romney campaign said it raised more than $1 million in the hours after the court announced, in a 5-4 decision, that it was upholding the central requirement of the health care law: that most individuals must buy health insurance or pay a penalty.

Obama said that mandate was essential to making the nation's health insurance system workable and affordable.

"That's why even though I knew it wouldn't be politically popular, and resisted the idea when I ran for this office, we ultimately included a provision in the Affordable Care Act that people who can afford to buy health insurance should take the responsibility to do so," he said. "In fact, this idea has enjoyed support from members of both parties, including the current Republican nominee for president."

Romney, as governor of Massachusetts, signed a health care law on which Obama modeled the federal law.

The decision means the historic overhaul will continue to go into effect over the next several years, affecting the way people receive and pay for personal medical care. The ruling also handed Obama a campaign-season victory in rejecting arguments that Congress went too far in requiring most Americans to have health insurance.

The Obama and Romney campaigns have spent months quietly preparing how they would respond to the ruling.

While the White House publically expressed confidence that the overhaul would be upheld, Obama aides feared the political ramifications for the president if the law were to be overturned.

Some Romney aides believe the court's decision could energize Republican voters and prove to be politically positive for the presumptive GOP nominee.

The court's ruling will have a far-reaching impact on the nation's health care system. About 30 million of the 50 million uninsured Americans would get coverage in 2014 when a big expansion begins.

Polling suggests that most Americans oppose the law, but an overwhelming majority want Congress and the president to find a new remedy if were struck down.

House Republicans have pledged to hold quick votes to repeal the law, though those efforts were certain to be blocked by the Democratic-controlled Senate.

Romney said Thursday that he would replace the health care law if elected. He outlined broad goals for a substitute but did not say specifically what policies he would advocate. Romney said he wants people to be able to keep their current health insurance and ensure all Americans have access to affordable insurance. He also said he wants to allow people who maintain continuous health insurance coverage to be able to stay insured even if they change plans and have a pre-existing medical condition.

The court's announcement was followed almost immediately by a barrage of advertisements and fundraising appeals from Democrats and Republicans all trying to cast the decision in the most advantageous light for their candidates.

Obama's campaign began trying to raise money off the ruling even before it was announced. In a Thursday morning fundraising email with the subject line "Today's Decision," Obama campaign manager Jim Messina told supporters "no matter what, today is an important day to have Barack Obama's back."

Outside groups also are ready to unleash a flood of advertising, including a 12-state, $9 million ad buy from the conservative political action group Americans for Prosperity.

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WASHINGTON (AP) -- June 28, 2012 - 10:20am -

The Supreme Court has upheld the individual insurance requirement at the heart of President Barack Obama's health care overhaul.

The court on Thursday handed Obama a campaign-season victory in rejecting arguments that Congress went too far in requiring most Americans to have health insurance or pay a penalty.

Stocks of hospital companies are moving sharply higher after initial reports said the Supreme Court upheld the individual insurance requirement in President Barack Obama's health care overhaul.

HCA Holdings stock is up 10 percent. Community Health Systems is also up 10 percent.

Stocks of drug companies and medical device makers are slightly lower for the day as analysts sort through the Supreme Court's ruling. Stocks of the biggest insurance companies are also lower.

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The Supreme Court's decision to uphold President Barack Obama's sweeping health care law is a crucial election-year victory for the Democratic incumbent.

It also marks a pivotal point in the presidential race.

For Obama, the decision vindicates his most significant legislative accomplishment.

Republican challenger Mitt Romney opposes the health care overhaul and is expected to double-down on his campaign pledge to repeal the law if he is elected.

The high court announced Thursday that it was upholding the individual insurance requirement at the heart of the health care overhaul.

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WASHINGTON (AP) -- The individual mandate survives.

The Supreme Court has upheld the heart of President Barack Obama's health care overhaul -- ruling in favor of the requirement that most Americans can be required to have health insurance, or else pay a penalty.

The decision means the historic overhaul will continue to take effect over the next several years, affecting the way countless Americans receive and pay for their personal medical care.

The ruling also hands President Barack Obama a campaign-season victory.

The court found problems with the law's expansion of Medicaid. But even there, it said the expansion could proceed as long as the federal government does not threaten to withhold the entire Medicaid allotment to states if they don't take part in the extension.

The court's four liberal justices, Stephen Bryer, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Elena Kagan and Sonia Sotomayor, joined Roberts in the outcome.


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