ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Healthcare Law in the US and the RTE in India

Steps towards Universal Provision of Social Goods

Earlier this year, the Supreme Court of India upheld the constitutional validity of the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act 2009 and the Supreme Court of the United States likewise upheld the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, 2010. The two pieces of legislation attempt to expand, to a greater or lesser degree, the provision of education and health services, respectively. This article attempts to understand and evaluate the policy debates and legal decisions around the two Acts as attempts by two constitutional liberal democracies to clarify the relationship between the state and private sector, and their respective roles and responsibilities to secure social welfare.


On 9 July 2012, the United States Supreme Court narrowly upheld1 the constitutionality of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, 2010 (hereafter ACA) more commonly known as Obamacare. Predictably, a torrent of commentary follo­wed which tried to parse the motivations for and the implications of the decision. The comments range from the predict­ably overblown right-wing rhetoric ­predicting the impending destruction of American exceptionalism2 to elaborate evaluations of the political ramifications for the upcoming presidential election. US Chief Justice Roberts’ surprise decision to ­uphold the ACA has emerged as a significant focus of political and legal scrutiny.3

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