BOSTON (CBS) – The U.S. Supreme Court has upheld the key to President Obama’s health care law, ruling Thursday that the individual mandate that requires everyone to buy insurance or face fines is constitutuional.
The mandate will go into effect in 2014.
The ruling means Congress did not exceed its authority when it ordered that all Americans must have health insurance.
The Obama administration used Massachusetts as a model for the Affordable Care Act, which the Supreme Court reviewed in three days of oral arguments back in March.
Mitt Romney, who’s running against Obama in the November election, signed the Massachusetts plan into law in April 2006 when he was governor.
Romney opposes Obama’s health reform, vowing to repeal it if elected.
So what will happen in Massachusetts if all or part of the federal law is struck down?
“It gives Massachusetts less federal money, if the entire statute goes away. But all of the law that Massachusetts put in place in 2005 will stay in place,” Boston University law professor Abigail Moncrieff told WBZ NewsRadio 1030.
And if the court decides to eliminate only the individual mandate?
“The good news on that is that it wouldn’t do much for the Massachusetts overhaul. It would make the Massachusetts health care system going forward more expensive for Massachusetts.”
Executive director of Health Care for All Amy Whitcomb Slemmer told WBZ-TV “there will be some impact, but it will be minimal compared to other states.”
“It’s a law that we’ve lived with here in the Commonwealth for six years. It’s made a tremendous difference. We’ve accomplished almost universal coverage in Massachusetts. 99 percent of children, 98 percent of adults here have health care coverage because of what we passed six years ago. So we know that other states would benefit by doing exactly what we’ve done.”
So unless someone challenges the Massachusetts law in court, there might not be a big impact here.