Make it Plain: Highlights of The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act in Light of the Supreme Court’s June 28, 2012 Decision
Chandra White-Cummings, JD
Senior Fellow, Black Man’s Think Tank
Note: This document is the first in a new series called “Make It Plain”, intended to express in plain language issues of vital importance to help practitioners and community members alike take decisive, effective action in the Black community.
In 2010, President Obama signed into law the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (commonly referred to simply as the Affordable Care Act or ACA) which was designed to improve the health care system in two primary ways: 1) expand access to health care services and 2) improve the delivery and quality of health services. From the outset the law was controversial, sparking passionate protest by opponents and equally strong defense from supporters. The most definitive objection arose from Florida which filed suit claiming the law was unconstitutional because one of its provisions requires every legal resident of this country to either obtain health insurance or pay a penalty. This provision was dubbed “the individual mandate”, and along with the parts of the bill that arguably allow funding of abortion, was one of the most hotly contested portions of the legislation. Twenty five other states ultimately joined Florida in the suit which ended up at the Supreme Court.