The U.S. Supreme Court has voted to uphold the Affordable Care Act, including the controversial provision to require individiuals to purchase health insurance.
By a 5-4 ruling issued Thursday morning the court ruled that the entire health care law is constitutional.
The justices also decided that the individual mandate -- the subject of legal claims by 26 states, including Georgia -- was constitutional if imposed as a tax.
Congress passed the ACA in 2010 with the provision that individuals not buying insurance would pay a fine. It was the focal point of President Obama's effort to expand health coverage to Americans without it, or those who are underinsured.
But the mandate also has been the bone of contention for political conservatives who have vowed to repeal the law, which they call "Obamacare."
Voting with the majority was Chief Justice John Roberts, who normally makes up the court's conservative block. But in his written remarks, he said that the mandate is constitutional as a tax: "Because the Constitution permits such a tax, it is not our role to forbid it, or to pass upon its wisdom or fairness."
U.S. Rep. Tom Price, a Roswell Republican who represents East Cobb in the House of Representatives, said in a statement that the ruling permits "an unbridled attack on personal freedom" and pledged to work for its repeal:
"We have no choice but to exercise every possible legislative option to repeal this disastrous law, and the American people should know that House Republicans will continue to advocate on their behalf to restore personal control over health care decisions.”
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