Top Health Stories of 2012: Upholding of the Affordable Care Act

The Dr. Oz Show medical staff chose the top most innovative, interesting and influential health headlines of 2012. Each day until the new year, we’ll round up and revisit the major headlines that had a profound effect on science, medicine and your health over the last 12 months.

Headline #1: The Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) Upheld by the Supreme Court

Whether you agree with “Obamacare” or not, the 5-4 decision by the Supreme Court that upheld President Obama’s Affordable Care Act (ACA) will greatly impact how the US health-care system will be structured in the near future. All eyes were on the Supreme Court this summer. The New York Times considered the case to be the most closely watched since Bush v. Gore in 2000.

Opposing groups challenged the ACA’s requirement that most Americans obtain insurance or pay a penalty – claiming that it’s unconstitutional. However, most of the Supreme Court, including right-leaning Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. disagreed. “The Affordable Care Act’s requirement that certain individuals pay a financial penalty for not obtaining health insurance may reasonably be characterized as a tax,” wrote Justice Roberts. “Because the Constitution permits such a tax, it is not our role to forbid it, or to pass upon its wisdom or fairness.”

The creators of the law, including President Obama himself, consider the individual mandate to be necessary because it allows other provisions of the law to function, including eliminating denial of coverage for preexisting conditions. It also helps to make insurance premiums more affordable for the entire population. However, others considered it an attack on personal freedoms.

As the year comes to an end, our nation’s health-care system continues to prepare for the ACA’s new structure and format, and to find ways to improve how it delivers care to US citizens.

Read More of 2012’s Top Health Stories: