Everyone from politians and healthcare providers to small business owners and average Joes were anxiously awaiting the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling on whether the Affordable Health Care Act was Constitutional Thursday morning.
The court upheld the constitutionality of the act, which was signed into law by President Barack Obama last year. Dubbed Obamacare, the decision really rested on whether the "individual mandate" requiring all Americans to purchase health care was Constitutional.
Five of the nine justices agreed that the key to the mandate—the requirement that people either buy health insurance or pay a tax penalty—is a kind of tax, which Congress is allowed to impose using its taxing power, according to the Bloomberg News-operated SCOTUSblog.
Richfield Patch reader and long-time resident, Mike McLean, argued that the mandate was orginally not proposed as a tax:
"Now it seems that the Federal government can force us to buy any product them they want," McLean wrote on the Richfield Patch Facebook page. "I heard that the court deemed the individual mandate as a tax but Obama himself kept saying that it was not a tax and that was his selling point. Unless something in our country changes, we are headed right down the tubes like Europe......"
McLean continued his comments on a Minnesota Patch poll:
"This is just nothing but a further shredding of our Constitution......."
Jason Gabbert followed McLean's Facebook comment with: "Democrats will applaud the decision, Republicans will criticize it. That's the way the good old USA works. Citizens don't really have the ability to think for themselves anymore because the media is too busy telling them what to think. The reality is the government has very little impact on people's lives. ..."
Change Is In The Air
Whether you agree with the decision or not, Dr. Tushar Vora, a cardiologist Fairview Southdale Hospital, told Richfield Chamber of Commerce members that change was coming during a presentation at Wood Lake Nature Center Wednesday afternoon.
"We're on the cusp of a very different kind of healthcare, but we're not there yet," Vora said. "It's a very complicated thing and I don't want to say I know everything about [Obamacare], but that's the way we are going."
Blue Cross Blue Shield of Minnesota also made this statement following the ruling:
“Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota will continue the work we began more than two years ago of implementing the law in a manner that strives to serve the best interests of our members and all Minnesotans.
As the state’s leading health plan, Blue Cross and Blue Shield considers reform to be something that also happens outside of legislation. We believe the kind of systematic change needed to tackle rising health care costs and drive improvements in overall health can and is being advanced though innovative collaborations with providers, consumers, employers and other stakeholders – all of whom share our goal of creating better health solutions for the greatest number of people, and at the greatest value.”
Share your feelings on the ruling in the comments section below. If you would like to join the Minnesota Patch discussion, see our "Poll: Share Your Thoughts on Supreme Court Ruling" article.