Eliza Gomez comments on the Supreme Court ruling on President Barack Obama's health care plan, at the Esperanza Health Center 2001 S. California. Thursday, June 28, 2012 | Brian Jackson~Chicago Sun-Times
Updated: July 30, 2012 6:21AM
◆ The Supreme Court’s ruling Thursday upheld the constitutionality of President Barack Obama’s health-care reform law, including the most disputed part: the mandate that virtually all Americans have health insurance or pay a fine.
◆ The ruling put some limits on the law’s plan to expand the Medicaid insurance program for the poor. It says the U.S. government cannot threaten to withhold a state’s entire Medicaid allotment if it doesn’t participate in the expansion.
The 2010 health-care law will continue phasing in as planned. Some parts are already in effect: Young adults can stay on their parents’ insurance up to age 26. Insurers can’t deny coverage to children with health problems. Limits on how much policies will pay out to each person over a lifetime are eliminated. Hundreds of older people already are saving money through improved Medicare prescription benefits.
◆ Starting in 2014, almost everyone will be required to be insured or pay a fine. There are subsidies to help people who can’t afford coverage. Most employers will face fines if they don’t offer coverage for their workers.
◆ Insurers will be prohibited from denying coverage to people with medical problems or charging those people more. They won’t be able to charge women more, either.
◆ Assortment of tax increases, health industry fees and Medicare cuts will help pay for the changes.
IS THE ISSUE SETTLED?
Not necessarily. Though the court found it constitutional, the law still could be changed by Congress. Romney and Republican congressional candidates are campaigning on promises to repeal it if elected.