Supreme Court Rules on Affordable Health Care Act, Affecting Thousands of Iowans
The Supreme Court made a landmark ruling on the Affordable Health Care Act this morning deciding on the legislation that has become known as ObamaCare.
In a landmark ruling, the Supreme Court has upheld the Affordable Health Care Act -- ObamaCare -- giving the president a major political victory and maintaining health care coverage for thousands of Iowans.
Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr., writing for a 5-4 majority, said that the U.S. Constitution gives Congress the right to impose individual mandates, the center-piece of the legislation, according to The New York Times.
"Holy crap," said Isa O'Hara, owner of the Green Grounds Cafe in Historic Valley Junction, in the minutes following the ruling. "There goes the country. I guess it was already sliding downhill."
The decision did significantly restrict one major portion of the law: the expansion of Medicaid, the government health-insurance program for low-income and sick people, The New York Times reported. The ruling gives states some flexibility not to expand their Medicaid programs, without paying the same financial penalties that the law called for.
The Affordable Care Act, which was signed by President Obama in 2010, puts in place consumer protections and provides additional coverage options.
The reforms were intended to gradually roll out starting in 2014 and through later years.
The Supreme Court was tasked with determining the constitutionality of the law, focusing mostly on the requirement that Americans purchase insurance or face a fine.
O'Hara had multiple questions after the news broke.
"How on earth are we going to pay for it?" She said. "How many trillions is this going to cost us? What's happened to accountability? Is Congress going to be forced to take this on as their own healthcare?"
Affect on Iowans
Since being signed into law, Iowa families have received the following benefits from the Affordable Care Act, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services:
- 42,015 Iowans on Medicare saved an average of $616 on prescription drugs, for a total savings of $25,876,475.
- 18,012 Iowans under the age of 26 gained coverage under the health care law.
- 388,676 people with Medicare in Iowa received free preventive services – such as mammograms and colonoscopies – or a free annual wellness visit with their doctor.
- 1,187,000 Iowans, including 433,000 women and 311,000 children, are free from worrying about lifetime limits on coverage.
- Insurance companies are required to spend 80% of premium dollars on health care instead of overhead.