Today the Supreme Court upheld the individual mandate in the Affordable Care Act with the justices ruling 5 to 4. Chief Justice John Roberts, a Republican appointee, joined Associate Justices Stephen Breyer, Ruth Ginsberg, Sonia Sotomayor, and Elena Kagan to give President Obama a majority on the health care law. The justices stated that Congress has the power to make Americans carry insurance or pay a penalty. The requirement is at the core of the law, which also forces insurers to cover people with pre-existing health conditions. The court limited the law's extension of the Medicaid program for low-income individuals by saying the federal government cannot threaten to withhold money from states that don't fully comply.
Congressman Reyes released the following statement on the Supreme Court's decision to uphold health care reform:
"I am proud to see that the Supreme Court upheld the individual mandate in this historic Act. The long overdue and dramatic changes within the Affordable Care Act are fundamental to the improvement of the health care system. The Supreme Court affirmed our progress and protected that right, securing a future of health and economic security for the middle class and for every American. This historic legislation came at a crucial time for our city with over 230,000 people uninsured in 2009. When the new law is fully implemented, in just a few years, El Pasoans who now lack health insurance will receive coverage -- many for the first time.
"Under the Affordable Care Act, insurance companies cover recommended preventive services, including mammograms, colonoscopies, immunizations, and pre-natal and new baby care, without charging deductibles, co-payments or co-insurance. So far 90,000 El Pasoans have benefited from this change, including 26,000 children and 33,000 women. This legislation has also provided new tax credits to approximately 360 small businesses in El Paso to help maintain or expand health care coverage to their employees. The Affordable Care Act was a major victory for Texas and the El Paso community, and I will continue to work hard to ensure that the health of border residents is a top priority in Congress."