UPDATE at 11:53 a.m.
The Supreme Court has upheld a key provision of President Barack Obama's 2010 health care reform law requiring most Americans to purchase health insurance or face a penalty.
Local Congressional Reaction
U.S. Sen. Ben Cardin (D-MD) praised the Supreme Court's decision.
“Upholding the Affordable Care Act, in its entirety, was the right decision under the law for the Supreme Court," said Cardin in a press release. "I thank the justices for setting aside the politics surrounding this debate and actually following precedent and the law."
U.S. Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) said that the decision was a "huge victory" for health care access in America.
"The historic Affordable Care Act has changed the course of health care in our nation for the better, and will continue to improve the quality of life for all Americans as it is fully phased in," said Van Hollen in a press release.
Prince George's Reaction
Here in Prince George's County, local officials are still processing the ruling, with statements expected shortly from county and municipal officials.
Riverdale Park Town Council member Jonathan Ebbeler (Ward 1) said that he was incredibly happy with the Supreme Court's ruling.
"You can judge the health of a republic by how it treats the elderly, the young, the disenfranchised," wrote Ebbeler in an email. "Obamacare is a piece of hallmark legislation that provides the institutional framework to address collective public policy issues in a smarter, more aggregated and cost-controlled fashion."
defining the penalty for not purchasing health insurance as a tax. Justices John Roberts, Stephen Breyer, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Elena Kagan and Sonia Sotomayor ruled in favor of the mandate, while Justices Sam Alito, Anthony Kennedy, Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas dissented from the ruling.
Don Kettl, dean of public policy at the University of Maryland, said that the decision was an "epic victory" for the president.
"Chief Justice did what many observers thought impossible--find a way to uphold the law without giving the federal government power to order citizens to act. On both important fronts--the individual mandate and state requirement--Roberts cleverly crafted a majority that gives the federal government to craft national standards, to give citizens and states to opt out, but to force them to weigh the consequences," said Kettl. "This decision fundamentally transforms health care in the US--and the presidential race."
Ken Apfel, a former commission of the Social Security Administration and a member of Maryland's health care exchange board, said he breathed a sigh of relief after hearing the news.
"The Supreme Court decision means that states can continue to move forward on their steps to provide health insurance for millions of uninsured Americans," said Apfel. "We still have a long way to go in implementing the Affordable Care Act, but we are moving forward. The United States is currently the only developed country in the world that does not provide universal health coverage."