In the second part of its decision, the court found problems with the law's expansion of Medicaid. By a 7-2 vote, the majority said the expansion could proceed as long as the federal government does not withhold existing Medicaid dollars to states if they don't take part in the extension.
What You Need To Know
- Individual Mandate - Requirement that Americans have or buy health insurance by 2014 or face a penalty, although many are exempt.
In 2014, the penalty will be $285 per family or 1% of income, whichever is greater. By 2016, it goes up to $2,085 per family or 2.5% of income.
Health care exchanges, which are designed to offer cheaper health care plans, remain in place as well.
- Those Already Insured - Because the requirement remains for people to have or buy insurance, the revenue stream designed to help pay for the law remains in place. So insured Americans may be avoiding a spike in premiums that could have resulted if the high court had tossed out the individual mandate but left other requirements on insurers in place.
- Young People - Millions of young adults up to age 26 who have gained health insurance due to the law will be able to keep it.
- Pre-Existing Conditions - The requirement that insurers cover people with pre-existing medical conditions continues.
The law established that children under the age of 19 could no longer have limited benefits or be denied benefits because they had a pre-existing condition.
Starting in 2014, the law makes it illegal for any health insurance plan to use pre-existing conditions to exclude, limit or set unrealistic rates on coverage. It also established national high-risk pools that people with such conditions could join sooner to get health insurance.
- Businesses - As of 2014,small companies with more than 50 full-time employees will have to provide coverage or face fines.
What It Means For Kansas
The Republican-dominated state government has been hostile to the 2010 federal law and hasn't moved to set up an online health insurance marketplace. Last year, GOP Gov. Sam Brownback's administration returned a $31.5 million federal grant given to help set up an exchange.
Gov. Brownback wants to wait until after the November presidential election to decide what to do about the online marketplace and whether the state will expand its Medicaid program. He predicts that if GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney is elected, states won't have to put either in effect.
Reaction to the decision was immediate and varied. The White House, Democrats and liberals praised the outcome. Republicans, including president-candidate Mitt Romney said just the opposite.
"Stopping ObamaCare is now in the hands of the American people. It begins with electing a new president this fall," said Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback.
Sen. Pat Roberts said, "This is the wrong decision for our country. After two years, we have seen the problems and pitfalls of this law and they fall squarely on the shoulders of patients and Kansas families. The Court has affirmed that Obamacare is a new, additional tax. Care will cost more, and access to quality care will be reduced. No wonder a majority of Americans oppose it."
Health Professionals Weigh In