A presentation for the Sydney Law School Distinguished Speakers Program by Professor Lawrence Gostin, the Director of the O’Neill Institute for National and Global Health Law at Georgetown University. Professor Gostin is also the Director of the World Health Organisation’s Collaborating Centre on Public Health Law and Human Rights.

Nearly 30 years after President Nixon proposed the first major overhaul of the health care system, comprehensive reform became a reality when President Obama signed the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) on March 23, 2010. The ACA is expected to cover 32 million currently uninsured people by expanding Medicaid, offering subsidies to purchase insurance, and prohibiting pre-existing condition exclusions. Like Presidents Carter and Clinton before him, Barack Obama campaigned on a promise of health care reform. Opposition to the ACA was immediate. At least 26 federal lawsuits were filed challenging its constitutionality. The US Supreme Court has allotted an unprecedented 5 1/2 hours for oral arguments on four issues: the individual purchase mandate, severability, the Medicaid expansion, and the Anti-Injunction Act. This is a rare moment in America’s history where the Supreme Court could determine whether the United States coalesces behind an historical health system reform or retreats from it.

Responder: Dr David Smith, Lecturer in American Politics and Foreign Policy, United States Studies Centre.

This event was proudly co-presented by Sydney Law School and the United States Studies Centre.