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Sunday, June 16, 2024

In a close decision, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the national health care plan pushed by President Barack Obama and Congressional Democrats.

Under the Affordable Care Act, U.S. citizens must purchase health insurance or face a penalty.

The law also lets states expand their Medicaid programs for sick and low-income Americans and sets up state exchanges for people to compare policies.

The Supreme Court upheld it after ruling the penalty for not buying insurance is a tax.

The Court ruled that the mandate does not fall within Congress’ power to regulate interstate commerce, a provision Chief Justice John Roberts required after that defense was presented.

“The Government’s logic would justify a mandatory purchase to solve almost any problem,” Roberts wrote in the Court’s majority opinion.

Florida and 25 other states filed the lawsuit.

Gov. Rick Scott has said he will not expand Medicaid or set up a state health insurance exchange.

Allyson Hall, assistant professor and research director for UF Center for Medicaid and the Uninsured, said she expects to see a push for Scott to reconsider.

She said UF students benfit from adults younger than 26 being allowed to stay on their parents’ plans.

If a student’s parents don’t have health insurance, she said, he or she can shop for a policy or qualify for Medicare if the student is at up to 133 percent of the federal poverty line.

Hall said if Scott does not set up an exchange, the federal government will. She sees it as a step forward.

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“I think it’s the best law they could’ve gotten,” she said.

UF College Democrats President Billy Farrell, a 20-year-old environmental science junior, called it “an amazing decision.”

But to 21-year-old political science and telecommunication senior Katy Melchiorre, it means lost rights.

Melchiorre serves as chairwoman of the UF College Republicans. She and her peers expect negative effects and see the act as unconstitutional.

“I do not think it is the government’s place to require me to purchase a product or service and punish me with a higher tax if I don’t,” she said.

Contact Clare Lennon at

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