Celebrating at the White House on Thursday after the 6-3 U.S. Supreme Court decision on the Affordable Care Act probably hasn’t been as jubilant since 1999.
The partying more than 16 years ago was for an entirely different reason. President Bill Clinton, who was impeached by the House on charges of perjury and obstruction of justice in an attempt to cover up an affair with White House intern Monica Lewinsky, was acquitted by the Senate on Feb. 12, 1999.
Prince could have sung about the Clinton administration partying like it was 1999. Like Clinton, President Barack Obama has had the Republicans barking and snapping at him relentlessly since he took office. Like Clinton in some comedy skits that followed the partying, Obama needs to proclaim to the GOP, “Next time bring some Kryptonite.”
The high court on Thursday upheld the use of federal tax credits in President Barack Obama’s signature health care law, which Republicans have derisively called Obamacare. What it means is 6.4 million people will be able to continue to receive tax credits to help finance their insurance premiums.
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If the court had ruled the other way, estimates were that the majority of Americans would have been unable to afford health insurance through the Affordable Care Act. This is the second major legal challenge that the law has faced in addition to the Republican-controlled House voting more than 50 times to kill it. The Senate has not followed the House in that fruitless effort.
Obama said at the White House on Thursday that Obamacare was working and is “here to stay.” Supporters held up signs, saying, “ACA is here to stay.”
Congress in 2010 passed the Affordable Care Act, and since then millions of people have signed up for health insurance coverage. Presidents dating back to Teddy Roosevelt and Harry Truman had tried unsuccessfully to get health care coverage for Americans.
Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Anthony Kennedy joined the court’s four liberal members in backing the Affordable Care Act. If the vote had gone the other way, millions of people in 34 states — including Missouri and Kansas — would have lost their subsidies worth an average of $274 a month.
Obama and his supporters are right to celebrate in retro-fashion like it’s 1999.