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In one of the least expected outcomes of four possible scenarios, the U.S. Supreme Court this morning upheld the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate, saving President Barack Obama’s signature legislation.
In the 5-4 ruling, Chief Justice John Roberts was the swing vote. In a dissenting opinion, Justice Anthony Kennedy said he, Justice Antonin Scalia and Justice Clarence Thomas see the law as completely unconstitutional.
Justices Elena Kagan and Stephen Breyer joined Roberts in striking down a provision that would have let the federal government take existing Medicaid funding away from states that do not agree to expand their Medicaid programs, covering a bigger slice of the poor.
New York already said it would expand Medicaid eligibility. And though state Senate Republicans stalled a measure to set up a New York insurance exchange, saying that a decision on an exchange should wait until the Supreme Court ruled on the entire law, Gov. Andrew Cuomo started the state on an insurance exchange set-up by executive order.
"Today’s Supreme Court decision will have little immediate impact on the health insurance issues affecting New York State employers," said Heather Briccetti, president and CEO of the Business Council of New York State Inc., in a prepared statement. "Nothing in today’s ruling helps ‘bend the cost curve’ or addresses the issues driving health care costs and utilization in New York State, which make the state one of the most expensive health insurance markets in the nation and a tremendous burden on large and small employers."
Rep. Louise Slaughter, D- Perinton, a leading support of the health care law, said in a statement that "much work remains to be done, but I am gratified to know that we are a step closer to ensuring that no American will live in fear of losing their home and everything they own because they or a member of their family is stricken by illness."
More on this story will be posted later today. Also, on Tuesday, July 24, the Rochester Business Journal will present a Power Breakfast on health care reform after the Supreme Court ruling. For more information on the event, click here.
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