WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court on Thursday largely let stand President Obama’s health care overhaul, in a mixed ruling that Court observers were rushing to analyze.
The decision was a striking victory for the president and Congressional Democrats, with a majority, including the conservative chief justice, John G. Roberts Jr., affirming the central legislative pillar of Mr. Obama’s term.
Many observers called the case the most significant before the court since at least the 2000 Bush v. Gore ruling, which decided a presidential election. In addition to the political reverberations, the case helps set the rules for one of the largest and fastest-growing sectors of the economy, one that affects nearly everyone from cradle to grave.
The debate over health care remains far from over, with Republicans vowing to carry on their fight against the law, which they see as an unaffordable infringement on the rights of individuals. The presumptive Republican presidential nominee, Mitt Romney, has promised to undo it if elected.
But the ruling is a crucial victory for the law that will allow its introduction to continue in the coming years. Passed in 2010, the law is intended to end the United States’ status as the only rich country with large numbers of uninsured people, by expanding both the private market and Medicaid.