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The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), signed into law in 2010, encompasses comprehensive health care reform intended to improve access to affordable health coverage for everyone and protection for consumers from abusive insurance company practices. On June 28, 2012, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of the Act in its ruling that the law's requirment of all Americans to either buy health care insurance or pay a fine amounted to a tax that the federal government had the power to impose.

The Supreme Court decision also restricted the portion of the Act related to the expansion of Medicaid. The ruling gives states some flexibility not to expand their Medicaid programs, without paying the same financial penalties that the law called for. In South Carolina, Medicaid currently covers about 900,000 people. The expansion, currently being debated, would add about 500,000 South Carolinians to Medicaid in 2014, mostly adults with an income less than about $15,000 or adults in a family of four who have combined income less than about $31,000.

Related Links

Summary of the provisions of the ACA.

Full text of the ACA.