The U.S. Supreme Court will rule Thursday whether aspects of President Barack Obama's 2010 health care law are unconstitutional. After rulings this week on Arizona's controversial immigration law and life imprisonment for juveniles, the nation awaits the highly anticipated ruling.
"The President and his team remain confident that the Affordable Care Act is constitutional," White House spokesman Jay Carney said Monday.
"The administration has pressed forward with implementing the various aspects of the Affordable Care Act and will continue to do so."
The law, passed in 2010 when Democrats held both the House and Senate, has been one of the crowning achievements of the president's four years in office. While the Supreme Court will likely rule on individual aspects of the law, such as the individual mandate, any reversal of the original form could pose political problems for both Obama and Romney.
The Affordable Care Act, called "Obamacare" by the law's opponents, relies on the individual mandate, requiring individuals without insurance to maintain minimal essential health insurance coverage or to face a penalty.
While a ruling from the Supreme Court saying aspects of the law is unconstitutional would deal a major blow to the president this election year, it would also force Republican candidate Mitt Romney to be more clear on with what he as president would replace the law.
Until now, the Romney campaign has framed the law, which they and other opponents call "Obamacare," as a job-killer.
"Three years ago, President Obama chose to ram through his partisan, job-killing Obamacare legislation rather than focusing his full attention on the economy. The results of this decision are in - Obamacare will raise taxes on job creators, force jobs abroad, and hinder small-business hiring," Romney campaign spokesperson Andrea Saul said in an email message Tuesday.
"On Day One, Mitt Romney will take immediate action to repeal and replace Obamacare with a plan that empowers individuals and frees job creators from the burdens this President has imposed on them," she added, without enumerating what this plan will entail.
"The vast majority of Americans want the Supreme Court to overturn all or part of ObamaCare," Rep. Bill Cassidy (R-LA) said in a video message Saturday. "Good health care starts in a doctor's office, not a Washington backroom."
This week also saw both defeat and victory for Democrats in other Supreme Court decisions, as the justices split largely along ideological divides on two key issues.
The court upheld the aspect Arizona's controversial immigration law mandating police to check immigration status of those they stop for other reasons, a provision key Democrats such as Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (R-AZ) have called an invitation to racial profiling.
However, the court also struck down law allowing for automatic life sentencing without parole to be doled out to juveniles. The ruling was prompted by the life sentencing of two 14-year-old Arkansasians after a robbery-gone-awry resulted in murder in 1999. However, it left open the possibility for life without parole for minors in some cases to states.
But the Obama administration continues to remain optimistic about the Thursday ruling on health care. "We remain confident that the Affordable Care Act is constitutional and we are ready for whatever decision is rendered by the Supreme Court," Carney said.
by RTT Staff Writer
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