Court’s healthcare ruling sparks anger

Published 3:32 pm Sunday, July 1, 2012

“A great injustice” was how one Atmore resident described the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling Thursday that largely upheld the Affordable Care Act — known somewhat derisively as “Obamacare.”

Although some experts had predicted the justices might strike down the individual mandate requiring all Americans to have health insurance, the mandate survived in the form of a tax, which Chief Justice John Roberts wrote in his majority opinion could be levied by Congress as a penalty to those who do not buy health insurance.

“This is a great injustice to the American people,” Atmore resident Billy Gates said as he gathered with friends Thursday afternoon at a local restaurant. “I believe that the majority of Americans object to it. Right now it seems as if it is a reflection on the president, but in the long run, it will hurt him. I don’t know exactly how a tax will be levied and we will just have to wait and see.”

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Johnny Coker agreed.

“I think this will see a revival of trying to get the ruling repealed,” Coker said. “The Supreme Court votes along liberal and conservative lines. I really haven’t had time to observe the ruling yet.”

The court had some problems with the expansion of Medicaid included in the Affordable Care Act, but said that the expansion could proceed as long as the federal government does not withhold the Medicaid allotment to states if they don’t take part in the expansion.
The decision means that over the next few years, the overhaul will continue to take effect, affecting the way many Americans receive and pay for their healthcare.

The ruling will effect millions of Americans without healthcare, the insurance business and possibly, the November election.

Atmore resident Marlene Forester said she thought another tax is “not needed.”

“The Supreme Court is voting the same way that Congress does, along party lines,” she said. “Congress needs to wake up as to what is going on.”