Above: the US Supreme Court (Photo: Franz Jantzen)
By the Caribbean Journal staff
United States Virgin Islands Delegate to Congress Donna Christensen is hailing the decision by the US Supreme Court to uphold the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act.
The act was effectively upheld by a 5-4 vote; Chief Justice John Roberts found that the law’s central tenet, the mandate to purchase health insurance, was effectively a tax and thus within Congress’ power to legislate.
“The people of the United States and the Virgin Islands have won,” Christensen said. “They now have better access to more affordable health care, the nation’s unsustainable health care spending will be controlled, and we will be a stronger, more productive, competitive country.”
She pointed to several provisions in the law that had already been impacting the territory, including that children can no longer be denied coverage due to preexisting conditions, and that students and young adults can stay on their parents’ plans, among others.
“For Virgin Islanders, the increase of our Medicaid dollars to almost $40 million a year in the Affordable Care Act is protected and we can move forward to get the cap entirely lifted,” she said. “We know that challenges to health care reform will continue throughout this highly-charged election year, but all of my colleagues who believe in the health care law will continue to fight for its complete implementation.”