The Internet exploded with tweets, posts and comments on Thursday morning when the United States Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act with a 5-4 vote.
The Supreme Court upheld almost all components of the act, including the government's right to compel Americans to buy health insurance or face a tax penalty.
"Today's decision was a victory for people all over this country whose lives will be more secure because of the law and the Supreme Court's decision to uphold it," said President Obama in a statement.
Here in California, lawmakers and law-abiders had some statements of their own.
(SCROLL DOWN FOR REACTIONS)
"Healthcare access is a basic right," tweeted California Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom. "[I'm] proud of Barack Obama for tackling the healthcare crisis in the first term. The Supreme Court ruling on the Affordable Care Act is a huge victory for the American people."
"California has been a leader in kind of aggressively implementing these health reforms," said California HealthCare Foundation Director Marian Mulky in an interview with KQED. "I think it leaves us on the pathway that we thought we were headed down, which is helpful in that a great deal of work needs to be accomplished on a pretty tight timeframe to get the broad coverage expansion expected in 2014."
The act will have substantial impacts in California where nearly 20 percent of residents are uninsured. The state stands to gain about $15 billion annually in federal funds for health programs.
Southern California Public Radio reported on some of the implications:
Research conducted by UCLA and UC Berkeley indicates four million of the seven million uninsured Californians will get health care insurance under the Affordable Care Act. One million people are expected to be ineligible because of their immigration status. Two million others won’t take steps to get insurance, but they will be subject to a tax that will be levied on their tax returns.
California already has two so-called "bridge programs" that were created to provide health care to people with pre-existing conditions and to low income individuals until 2014, when those portions of the federal law are scheduled to kick in.
Also in place is the California Health Care Exchange, a clearinghouse that will offer low-income Californians a smorgasbord of health insurance plans they can compare by price and benefits. Low income customers could qualify for subsidies to help them purchase a health plan.
The act will also provide small business tax credits for employee health coverage, extend coverage to young adults, offer affordable coverage to individuals with pre-existing conditions and help support early retirees.
What do you think of the Supreme Court decision? Let us know in the comments section and check out some reactions from California lawmakers in the slideshow below:
Governor Jerry Brown
"Today's dramatic Supreme Court ruling removes the last roadblock to fulfilling President Obama's historic plan to bring health care to millions of uninsured citizens."
Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa
"Today's ruling by the Supreme Court to uphold the basic provisions of the Affordable Care Act is a historic step forward for our country. Healthcare for each and every individual is not a privilege; it's a right. This morning's decision is a victory for all Americans, and I could not be prouder. "By upholding the Affordable Care Act the Supreme Court ensured 3.1 million young people - including 435,000 young Californians - will maintain their coverage. The Court's ruling protects Americans with preexisting conditions and provides them with access to the safe and secure healthcare options that were once out of reach." -- Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa
Senator Dianne Feinstein
Dr. Michael Cousineau
"It's important for California, where we have between six and seven million uninsured -- over half of whom would be eligible for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act. For those patients who depend on the Keck Hospital of USC, many will get health insurance and that will provide support for our hospital, which cares for so many low-income families and communities." -- Dr. Michael Cousineau, Associate Professor At USC Keck School of Medicine <em>Pictured: USC Hospital nurses Lupe Flores and Nerina Martinez hand a newborn baby to his mother, Yoana Ornelas. Baby David was born on October 31, 2011 -- hence the costumes. (Associated Press)</em>
Lt. Governor Gavin Newsom
Eric C. Bauman
"History always looks kindly on those who show strength and leadership in the face of extreme adversity. Simply put, President Barack Obama's Affordable Care Act is one of the most important pieces of legislation of the last fifty years -- legislation that Mitt Romney and the Republicans fought at every turn. "The slim majority of the Court's Justices that upheld health care reform today should serve as a lesson on the vital importance of reelecting our President and keeping the extremists Mitt Romney has pledged to appoint off of the bench." - Eric C. Bauman, Los Angeles County Democratic Party Chair and California Democratic Party Vice-Chair
San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee
"This is a critical step forward in acknowledging health care as a basic human right. The Affordable Care Act improves the health of millions of Americans and provides families with the security they need."
Senator Barbara Boxer
Mark Ridley Thomas
"This is an occasion for celebration." -- LA County Supervisor Mark Ridley Thomas, speaking at a press conference at St. John's Well Child and Family in reaction to the Supreme Court ruling. Reported by Jose Martinez on <a href="https://twitter.com/jose_martinez/status/218390972143370240" target="_hplink">Twitter</a>.
Representative Jackie Speier
"I actually started to cry... Today we celebrate -- we were going to have champagne for you all but our doctors said no." - Jim Mangia, President and CEO of St. John's Well Child & Family Center in South LA in a press conference reacting to the Supreme Court ruling. Reported on <a href="https://twitter.com/jose_martinez" target="_hplink">Twitter</a> by Jose Martinez of KPCC.
Senator Ed Hernandez
"This is a landmark decision that will put an end to unnecessary delay and allow us to deliver on the promise of this historic law by expanding health coverage to millions of uninsured Californians."
Dr. David Feinberg
"UCLA is delighted with the ruling. We see patients every day that come to us without insurance. We do our best to treat them, but it also means their lack of insurance causes difficulties for them when it comes to getting all their treatment -- medications, medical equipment -- even if we treat them for free. "The states also have to expand their medicaid, and that's very good for us. In our pediatric population, 50 percent are medicaid. More funding is absolutely crucial -- for us, for the patients and for their families." -- Dr. David Feinberg, President of the UCLA Health System
Senator Leland Yee