The Obama administration’s ambitious overhaul of the nation’s healthcare system weathered some significant challenges in 2012 and came through relatively unscathed.
The first major test came in June, when the U.S. Supreme Court refused to overturn the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, while still ruling that the law’s provision requiring individuals to obtain health insurance was unconstitutional.
What saved the ACA was the court’s decision that the government’s mandate to purchase health insurance qualified as a tax.
The high court’s decision to uphold the individual mandate “means that some 40 million Americans identified as uninsured will be required to purchase some level of insurance in 2014,” DSN senior editor Michael Johnsen reported June 28. “That will drive a good number of patients to medical homes and in theory, significantly increase the demand for maintenance prescriptions and other preventive or chronic healthcare services.”
The ACA leaped a second big hurdle on Election Day, Nov. 6, when voters returned President Barack Obama to office for a second term. The president’s re-election turned aside a serious challenge to the law, which Republican contender Mitt Romney had vowed to oppose, and kept health reform on track for full implementation by 2014.