The US Supreme Court’s historic ruling on Thursday upholding President Obama’s health care reform moves the world’s richest country closer to the ranks of all the other developed nations.
The decision also represents a major political victory for the first African-American president, making his re-election in November more likely.
Moreover, the court’s validation may ensure Mr Obama a place among the US presidents regarded as the most significant in the country’s 246-year history.
Some 30 million Americans who lack health insurance will henceforth be protected against potentially ruinous medical expenses thanks to the newly affirmed law.
A think-tank favouring Mr Obama’s initiative estimates that 26,000 Americans die prematurely each year because they do not receive medical care they cannot afford.
“We can hardly call ourselves a truly developed nation and leader of the free world when so many of our citizens have been bankrupted by medical expenses and scores are left to die due to lack of medical coverage,” a Washington Post blogger wrote last week.
The high mortality rate resulting from inability to get life-saving treatments is “a statistic that’s truly ‘third world,’ ” blogger Joy Freeman-Coulbary added.
At the core of the Supreme Court’s ruling was the affirmation of the requirement in the contested law that virtually all Americans must obtain some form of health insurance.