Washington, D.C. — Today the U.S. Supreme Court confirmed what the Constitution and 200 years of precedent have already made clear: The Affordable Care Act is undoubtedly constitutional. Health policy and legal experts Neera Tanden and Walter Dellinger discussed the political and legal implications of the Supreme Court’s decision for our country on a CAP Action press call.
Click here to listen to a full audio recording of the press call.
Key quotes from the experts:
Neera Tanden, President, Center for American Progress, Counselor to the Center for American Progress Action Fund:
“The individual mandate does not apply to the 85 million Americans who have coverage today. The individual mandate only applies to those who don’t have coverage, which is 15 percent. And for those people, some of them, a small portion, will receive a penalty if they don’t do the responsible thing."
"I would just remind those Republicans who are talking about this that the person who implemented this form of tax or penalty was Mitt Romney—the only person in the country, is Mitt Romney. People in Massachusetts live under this system. So I think it is incumbent on people to recognize that if they would like to talk about this as a tax increase, then Mitt Romney is a tax increaser.”
“…today’s decision is an affirmation of the Court’s role to neutrally decide what is constitutional and in doing so they have affirmed that the Affordable Care Act is constitutional but also that they are allowing the incredibly important benefits that are already transforming people’s lives to go forward—3 million young Americans have health insurance who didn’t have it before, 5 million Medicare beneficiaries have saved over $3 billion, but really most importantly—and this is what the individual mandate was about—we will have functioning exchanges in the states and 32 million Americans who don’t have health insurance today will have it, which really means that the promise in our country that you will not go bankrupt because of medical expenses will be kept."
Walter Dellinger, Partner, O’Melveny & Meyers, LLP; Douglas B. Maggs Professor of Law, Duke University; Visiting Professor Emeritus of Law, Harvard University Law School; Acting Former Solicitor General for the 1996-97 Term of the Supreme Court:
“It will take some time to digest what the various courts’ opinions mean for constitutional law but it means an enormous amount to those that will have better access to a more effective and more efficient health care system.”
“There were four justices that would have struck down the bill in its entirety and that would have meant that people could once again be denied coverage because they had a preexisting condition like asthma, or their rates could be increased to unaffordable levels if they had a child born with a birth defect. There are now 50 million people that are going to have access to better preventive care, young people can stay on their families insurance policies, seniors won’t have to worry about the donut hole. This is just an enormous achievement that the law is upheld in its entirety.”
CAP Action experts available for comment:
The following health policy, political, and legal experts from the Center for American Progress Action Fund are available for comment:
- Neera Tanden, President, Center for American Progress; Counselor, Center for American Progress Action Fund
- Tom Perriello, President and CEO, CAP Action; Counselor for Policy, CAP
- Dr. Donald Berwick, Senior Fellow
- Tom Daschle, Distinguished Senior Fellow
- Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel, Senior Fellow
- Ian Millhiser, Constitutional Law Expert and Policy Analyst
- Igor Volsky, Health Policy Expert and Deputy Editor, Think Progress
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