Booster dose

Booster dose

SC judgment will restore voters faith in Obama.

Health security of some 30 million Americans, who hitherto could not access medical treatment as they couldn’t afford insurance, has received a boost with the US Supreme Court upholding by a narrow margin a healthcare reform law. Besides benefiting those who cannot afford insurance, the healthcare law will prevent insurance companies from denying coverage to people with pre-existing illnesses and allow young people to benefit from their parents’ insurance plans until they turn 26.
The centrepiece legislation of the Barack Obama presidency, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act was signed into law in March 2010 after months of fierce debate and lobbying to pass the legislation.  However, soon after its enactment it came under legal challenge, throwing into jeopardy the Obama administration’s main domestic achievement. Making healthcare accessible and affordable was a key campaign promise made by Obama during the presidential election of 2008. Had the healthcare legislation not received the nod from the US Supreme Court it would have ended up in the dustbin. The court ruling will provide Obama’s presidency with a shot in the arm. The president has been under fire for failing to revive the economy. Many poor Americans, especially African-Americans, who constitute the core of Obama’s support base in 2008 had moved away from him, angry and disappointed with his failure to provide them jobs or affordable healthcare. Their mood will have now changed. The Supreme Court decision will restore the faith of this disillusioned section in Obama’s leadership and can be expected to translate into votes.  

But the Supreme Court decision is not necessarily bad news for Obama’s presumptive Republican challenger, Mitt Romney.  Bitter opponents of the healthcare plan, especially among political fence-sitters, could now be convinced to vote for Romney as he has promised to ‘repeal and replace’ the healthcare legislation. The upcoming presidential election was so far seen as a ‘referendum’ on Obama’s management of the economy. The Supreme Court decision has recast it as a choice between parties for and against a law that could change the face of healthcare in America.
More significant than the political implication is the human impact of the healthcare legislation. Inability to pay medical bills was behind 62 per cent of personal bankruptcies in the US in 2007. Obama’s healthcare law could prevent such bankruptcies. Romney and the Republicans must rethink their destructive approach towards this landmark legislation.

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