May 24, 2013
US top court upholds key Obama healthcare law
A sharply divided Supreme Court upheld the centerpiece of President Barack Obama's signature healthcare overhaul law that requires that most Americans get insurance by 2014 or pay a financial penalty.
"The Affordable Care Act's requirement that certain individuals pay a financial penalty for not obtaining health insurance may reasonably be characterized as a tax," Chief Justice John Roberts wrote for the court's majority in the opinion.
"Because the Constitution permits such a tax, it is not our role to forbid it, or to pass upon its wisdom or fairness," he concluded. The vote was 5-4.
The United States spends more on healthcare than any other nation, but about 50 million of the roughly 310 million Americans have no insurance at all.The healthcare battle has been the most politically charged case before the Supreme Court since 2000, when the justices halted the Florida vote recount in a ruling that gave the Republican Bush the presidency over Democrat Al Gore.