ALEXANDRIA, La. - The Supreme Court has upheld the heart of President Barack Obama's health care overhaul, and has ruled in favor of the requirement that most Americans can be required to have health insurance, or else pay a penalty, according to the stipulations in the Affordable Care Act.
During his national address Thursday morning, President Barack Obama said the court's decision on health care is a victory for "people all over this country."
The Supreme Court's decision to uphold President Obama's health care law is a crucial election-year victory for the Democratic incumbent. For Obama, the decision vindicates his most significant legislative accomplishment.
Republican challenger Mitt Romney opposes the health care overhaul and is expected to double-down on his campaign pledge to repeal the law if he is elected. The high court announced Thursday that it was upholding the individual insurance requirement at the heart of the health care overhaul.
Romney called the decision incorrect and said Thursday that it is "bad law." He says it raises taxes and cuts Medicare.
However, Sen. Mary Landrieu, a strong supporter of the act from the very beginning, said court's ruling today confirms that Congress' historic efforts to provide a more affordable and equitable system of health care for America is within its "constitutional prerogatives."
"I am proud of my work to make this law a reality. Its benefits are clear. It reduces the deficit by more than $1 trillion over 20 years," Landrieu said. "It provides security to millions of middle class and low-income Americans who need and depend on affordable health care that now cannot be taken away, and over the long run, will improve health outcomes for our entire population. Now that the Supreme Court has made this clear by its ruling, it is the obligation of the states to fully implement and expedite the Affordable Care Act."
Gov. Bobby Jindal response to the decision was that the court's ruling was "a blow to our freedoms."
"Ironically, the Supreme Court has decided to be far more honest about Obamacare than Obama was. They rightly have called it a tax. The court should have protected our constitutional freedoms, but remember, it was the President that forced this law on us. The American people did not want or approve of Obamacare then, and they do not now."
U.S. Rep. Rodney Alexander said the court's ruling on the constitutionality of the President Obama's health care law upheld despite the public's outcry against it.
"In recent history, the Affordable Care Act has been the most divisive issue for both lawmakers and American citizens, and despite this decision to uphold the law, I expect the controversy will continue to grow as this monumental decision affects every single man, woman and child."
In a statement from the Catholic bishops of the United States, the group stated that the Supreme Court decision does not address fundamental flaws in the law, and also recommended that the legislation still needed to fix conscience, abortion funding, immigration problems.
"The act fails to include necessary language to provide essential conscience protection, both within and beyond the abortion context. We have provided extensive analyses of ACA's defects with respect to both abortion and conscience," according to the statement. "(This) forces religious and other employers to cover sterilization and contraception, including abortifacient drugs."
U.S. Rep. John Fleming said the Supreme Court has confirmed what President Obama and Washington liberals denied.
"Obamacare is a massive tax increase, and it will force the American people to fund another government-run entitlement. While giving states a break from Obamacare's Medicaid burden, the Court has given no such option to individuals."
U.S. Sen. David Vitter said he was disappointed with the court's ruling and Chief Justice John Roberts "amazingly rewriting the law in order to uphold it."
"But I am more committed than ever to repealing Obamacare outright. It continues to increase the cost of health care services and puts the federal government between patients and doctors."
Meanwhile, local doctors and their patients still have questions about what today's Supreme Court ruling over healthcare reform means to them. Many people with pre-existing conditions have been able to get insurance after the Affordable Care Act was passed and signed into law.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.