Policy Resource

Dispatch from the Supreme Court

Apr 18, 2012

Today, the Supreme Court hears two final arguments on the Affordable Care Act: severability (If the individual mandate is repealed, can the rest of the Act stand without it?) and Medicaid expansion (Is the expansion of Medicaid to a broader population constitutional?).

And on this final day of oral arguments, crowds of ACA supporters gathered in front of the Supreme Court, holding signs, marching, chanting, and sharing stories about how the ACA has affected their families.

As promised, this Baby Blogger trekked down to the Supreme Court at 8 o’clock this morning to survey the scene and report back. The area was filled with demonstrators, media, and police, the Supreme Court building looming in the background. A swarm of blue signs reading “Protect Your Care! Protect the Law” filled the sidewalk and surrounded a podium where supporters were testifying to the law’s importance. A small group of opponents gathered to one side. Speakers included a representative from Ohio, a Native American tribal leader, and grandparents with legal custody of their granddaughter, who has multiple health conditions that demand ongoing care. Each of these individuals’ stories gave voice to different arguments for the law’s necessity.

When the speeches ended, a small band struck up with “When the Saints Go Marching In,” prompting the formation of a picket line that stretched the length of the sidewalk. Chants of “ObamaCare is here to stay,” “Health care is good for you, health care is good for me, health care is good for every American family,” and “We love Obama Care” rang out uninterrupted between the Supreme Court and the eastern face of the Capitol for the next hour. (The term ObamaCare, first coined by opponents of the ACA, has been reappropriated by supporters and has figured largely in recent advocacy efforts.)

Here are a few highlights from the morning:

  • Rep. Jan Schakowsky (IL-9) made a surprise appearance on the sidewalk, shouting into the mic that the passage of the ACA two years ago was one of the proudest moments of her life – and then breaking into the “ObamaCare is here to stay” chant.
  • In passing groups of middle and high school students, teachers could be heard thanking the demonstrators and telling their kids, “Take a look: this is democracy in action!”
  • One ACA supporter travelled to DC to celebrate her 66th birthday in front of the Supreme Court and attest to all that the law has done not only for her but for her children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren!

While supporters came representing a range of interests – children, women, Native Americans, civil rights, reproductive rights, families, the nation’s poor, and others – they coalesced around this landmark law, which they believe will become central to our country’s operation and character. As defenders of the wellbeing of babies, we have seen the law’s impacts on America’s youngest children and their parents as well as its potential. And we will continue to lend a voice for babies to this historic national debate.

Scroll down to read more about how the ACA serves babies and their families, and stay tuned to the Baby Blog next week for a wrap-up of our coverage of the ACA’s 2nd birthday and the Supreme Court oral arguments.

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