The U.S. Supreme Court voted to uphold President Obama’s landmark Affordable Care Act in a 5-4 vote, with Chief Justice John Roberts voting in the majority.
The Court upheld the most controversial provision of the law that required all American citizens to purchase health insurance or face a tax penalty. The court struck a provision that forced states to expand their Medicaid programs in order to cover health insurance for poverty-stricken individuals.
Some Jewish organizations praised the decision.
Rabbi David Saperstein, director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, said he was “elated” with the ruling.
Reform congregations, he said, have been “at the forefront of advocacy on behalf of health insurance reform in their states and at the national level.” He cited Maimonides, noting that the medieval scholar “placed health care first on his list of the 10 most important communal services that a city should offer its residents.”
Hadassah said the ruling was “affirming our commitment to ensuring that all Americans have access to quality affordable health care.” The women’s group had signed an amicus brief supporting the Affordable Care Act.
The ruling was a “huge victory for women and families across the country,” National Council of Jewish Women CEO Nancy Kaufman said in a statement.
“The court’s ruling means insurance companies may not charge women higher premiums than men,” she said in her statement. “It means a wide range of preventive services important to women will be provided without co-pays or other out-of-pocket expenses, including mammograms, Pap tests, a wide range of prenatal screenings, well-woman visits, the full range of FDA-approved contraceptives, lactation consultations and supplies, and domestic violence screenings.”
National Democratic Jewish Council President David Harris and CEO Marc Stanley released a joint statement saying the group was “deeply gratified by today’s ruling.”
“We are thankful that the Court affirmed the core constitutionality of this landmark legislation that will bring health care to tens of millions more Americans,” they wrote.
Rabbis for Human Rights-North America also applauded the decision in a statement, emphasizing that “it is our moral duty to provide health care for all.”
“We are proud that the United States has taken a major step toward guaranteeing health care for all,” RHR-NA said in its statement. “We applaud President Obama, the U.S. Congress, and the Supreme Court for moving us significantly closer to this ideal of guaranteeing health care for all Americans.”