Affordable Care Act:

David Goldman AP Supporters of President Barack Obama’s health care law celebrate outside the Supreme Court in Washington Thursday after … Continued

David Goldman


Supporters of President Barack Obama’s health care law celebrate outside the Supreme Court in Washington Thursday after the court’s ruling was announced.

Like most Americans I anxiously awaited the U.S. Supreme Court decision on whether the Affordable Care Act would survive constitutional scrutiny.

Having played a critical role in its passage, I was immediately called upon to provide local, state and national interviews. As requested, I promised my law firm that before providing comment, I would discuss the court’s ruling with my colleagues. The initial report on my iPhone declaring that the individual mandate was struck down by the court, later proved to be false.

As we learned, the Supreme Court upheld the individual mandate and the entire law was ruled constitutional. A flood of emotions rushed over me. I felt a sense of relief and satisfaction. I reflected back upon my 20 years in elected office and my deep conviction that every citizen has a right to private health insurance to protect their families from the financial devastation that unexpected illness or injury can cause.

The fight for affordable health care for all Americans never strayed far from my mind, and I was proud to deliver the deciding votes to pass the Affordable Care Act in Congress. During the health-care debate, I was both glorified and vilified by the right and the left, the right-wing conservatives, the left-wing liberals, the Catholic Church, the Tea Party, and even some friends and relatives. However, after almost 100 years of attempts at national health care, I could not allow this opportunity to fail. We were so close. My mentor Rep. John Dingell (D-Mich.) had dedicated his entire career to this effort. Senator Ted Kennedy had fought this same fight during his long and distinguished career. So, last Thursday, when the highest court in our land declared the law that I helped pass constitutional, I felt gratified.

A few weeks after Congress passed the Affordable Care Act, I was in Indianapolis for the NCAA Final Four with my wife and son. As we walked to Lucas Stadium to watch Michigan State face Butler in the semifinals, a man on the street hawking Final Four programs began to shout “Hey, I know you! Hey, I know you!” I finally said, “No, I don’t think so.” Without missing a beat he said, “Yes I do! You’re the guy who got me health care!” As I passed, he said, “Thank you and God bless!” He made me feel proud of my decisive vote. I had accomplished what I set out do when I first ran for Congress. It was shortly thereafter that our lives were threatened and resulted in 24-hour law enforcement protection.

I often think about this man, a street peddler hawking basketball programs to earn a few bucks. We gave him a chance at a better life. We gave him hope and security. He didn’t have a lobbyist or a special interest group pushing his agenda. He was an American struggling to get by and make ends meet. This is America at its best, for we are all our brothers’ keepers.

View Photo Gallery: From Teddy Roosevelt to the high court’s decision to uphold President Obama’s health-care law, here are some of the most significant moments in the history of health-care reform.

For those of us who seek social justice, defined and emboldened by a deep faith, there can be many risks and challenges in the political arena and in everyday life. Today, the most seductive risks to our view of social justice are power and greed. Power and greed can lead to corruption and deceit. In our democracy, the path of least resistance for elected officials and the esteemed members of the Supreme Court is to succumb to the voices of the rich and powerful and not our brother on the street. I applaud the courage of Chief Justice John Roberts to uphold the Constitution, vote his conscience, and allow the Affordable Health Care Act to provide health care to all Americans.

The faith in social justice to form a more perfect union as envisioned by our forefathers lies in our Constitution when the court and political leaders have the courage to embrace it. I encourage President Obama to protect the religious freedom guaranteed in our Constitution and as outlined in his executive order accompanying the Affordable Care Act.

As I began my interviews, the opening question was always the same, “Do you feel vindicated?” I believe vindicated is too strong of a word – validated or exonerated may be more appropriate, and yes, I would do it all over again.

Bart Stupak, a former Mich. Democratic congressman, played a key role in passage of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. He is is a partner in Venable’s legislative and government affairs group.

View Photo Gallery: The Supreme Court’s decision Thursday is a major victory for the White House less than five months before the November election. The law will affect the health-care choices of millions of Americans.

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  • IntellectOne

    Stupak , you are a dreamer and you were outsmarted by the devil himself. The States will not participate in this charade of an Affordable Healthcare Bill. As they should not, because it has birth-control pills, abortion on demand and sterilizations in the Bill. The executive order is not worth the paper it is written, besides, where is the proof it was signed. Is it vapor ware like the rest of the promises? The ‘Salt Stone’ woman will see to it that abortion on demand is in her regulations to the insurance companies that want to participate in the healthcare industry. Clearly, if this Affordable Healthcare Bill is classified as a TAX, then the Hyde Amendment must be applied. (Why was it left out of the Bill purposely?) Did you read the Bill? Obviously not or you did not care.
    All birth control pills are abortifacients (causing abortions), so they should also fall under the Hyde Amendment which does not allow TAX dollars to be used for abortions. The Rule of Cause and Affect apply’s. Because you, Stupak, was a Judas, voting for the Bill, it will Affect everybody. Your Vote and your nine colleagues is jeopardizing every America’s Freedom of Religion and Freedom of Conscience.

  • Sydwal

    IntellectOne: You use the word “conscience”. Where’s yours when the largest cause of bankruptcies in the U.S is an inability to pay medical bills? The ACA is a triumph for the President and so it should be. You clearly have fundamentlist Christian leanings yet you’re happy for the status quo to remain, meaning 50M Americans are without cover and if your kid is born with a pre-existing condition then tough luck for him / her because health insurance is a dream. Thanks to good people like Bart Stupak it’s become reality.

  • jack824

    I thought Stupak did a very courageous thing – and sent him a letter saying so at the time.

    When the rest of the pro-life movement started dumping on him for political reasons – when they refused to see the good that was being done – they lost me. I would submit that by reducing the financial strains of healthcare by young families this bill will do more to reduce abortion than all the marches and vigils combined.

  • IntellectOne

    There is a much better way to take care of the uninsured and preexisting patients. First all all, it is against the Law to turn away anyone from the Hospital that needs care. Nobody has been turned away from hospitals. Everybody should be taken care at the hospitals even when they do not have insurance or property. The hospitals have done that for years. The first thing that should happen is Litigation Reform. There are a lot of unnecessary tests being performed on patients that do not need them. The only reason is so that the doctor does not loose everything he owns. Costa are very high because of Liability Insurance. Birth control pills and abortion on demand and sterilizations are not ‘Healthcare’ so those have got to go. The money is better spent on the poor that cannot afford decent insurance and proper medical care. There are 4,800 abortions each day in America, the pimps or the boy friends should pay for those not the Tax payer. First of all, abortion is not justice so why is everyone concerned about paying for such an evil procedure. that is not justice for an innocent helpless unborn. The current Affordable Healthcare Law aka Obamacare is a very flawed Law and a Bad Law.

  • verbummilitant

    Abortion is an intrinsic evil. ObamaCare simply wraps layers of apparent good around an evil core. Think of ObamaCare as a M&M candy. The outer core will not melt in your mind; it will melt in your soul.

  • IntellectOne

    No it will not, Birth-control Pills are abortifacients (cause abortions) so let us not go there. There are no safe abortions; the baby dies and sometimes the mother too. Abortions are not ‘Social Justice’ for the baby living in the mother’s womb.

  • cricket44

    You have no clue what you are talking about, IntellectZero. None.

  • IntellectOne

    cricket44 you must be an employee of Planned Parenthood, because that is about the response they would have from their Playbook. They use every euphemism they can find to make evil sound good, which is impossible…so their only response is “you do not know what your talking about” very ingenious.

  • IntellectOne

    Sterilizations are not humane either. In this “Affordable Healthcare Bill” there are No Win Win situations. It is sad that everyone will have to learn the hard way because they are so gullible and trust the corrupt politicians..

  • cricket44

    Nope, just amazed by the sheer twaddle that is pontificated to the general public in lieu of facts by the anti-choice contingent.

    Every word you spew indicates you’ve done *no* research whatsoever into the issue. Just choose to believe the lies you’ve been told.

  • IntellectOne

    Obama personally was promoting his Affordable Healthcare Bill, like a pimp, at a High School Campus, just last week. He must be the Poster Boy for Planned Parenthood.. He wanted the youth to know that it was so important to have access to birth-control pills? Well guess what, in reality birth-control pills are 87% effective and no protection mentally or physically, where as, Abstinence is 100% effective, full proof, mentally and physically.

  • cricket44

    Thank *goodness* you’ve remained virginal, NoIntellect because you really ought not to be breeding.

  • alison8

    Ah. At *your* high school campus. When you get a little older, you’ll understand a whole lot better.