Obama: Healthcare law 'constitutional'

April 2, 2012 at 5:47 PM
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WASHINGTON, April 2 (UPI) -- U.S. President Obama said he remains confident the Supreme Court will uphold the 2-year-old healthcare reform law because "it's constitutional."

It was important for people to remember that "this is not an abstract argument. People's lives are affected by the lack of availability of healthcare, the inaffordability of healthcare, their inability to get healthcare because of pre-existing conditions," Obama said during a question-and-answer session of a news conference with Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Mexican President Felipe Calderon.

Portions of the Affordable Healthcare Act already in place have provided healthcare coverage to 2.5 million people who wouldn't otherwise have it, lowered prescription drug costs for seniors and extended coverage for young adults under their parents' plans if needed.

He said he believes the law will be upheld because it is "in accordance with precedent out there, it's constitutional."

"I think the American people understand, and I think the justices should understand that in the absence of an individual mandate, you cannot have a mechanism to ensure that people with pre-existing conditions can actually get healthcare," Obama said. "So there's not only an economic element and a legal element to this, but there's a human element to this.

"And I hope that's not forgotten in this political debate."

He said he was confident the Supreme Court "will not take what would be an unprecedented, extraordinary step" of overturning the law.

He also threw a dig at conservative commentators who have complained about a lack of judicial restraint and that "an unelected group of people would somehow overturn a duly constituted and passed law."

"Well, this is a good example" of potential judicial activism, he said.

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