The U.S. Supreme Court Upholds the Affordable Care Act. The 5-4 decision affirms the so called Obamacare program. Chief Justice John Roberts joined the majority ruling calling the health care plan constitutional. Reaction from West Virginia and Ohio's office holders are below.
Updated 6/28/2012 6:30 P.M.
A mother of two we spoke to is concerned about having affordable and accessible health care for herself and her family. But she's also concerned about how it will be paid for.
"It seems like there are more and more taxes we have to pay," says Lacey Mathey. "o that is a concern."
Others believe a state, rather than a federally-run, health care program would make more sense.
"We should have better health programs in our states," says Darlene Bee, "because there's people out there who can't even get insurance."
The law expands Medicaid. In its ruling, the Supreme Court said that expansion could go forward, as long as the federal government does not threaten to withhold Medicaid allotments of states who don't take part in the extension.
"If it cancelled out my state medical cards, yes it would," said a Parkersburg resident who did not want to be identifed. "Because that's what I depend on to pay my medical bills with."
The head of the Marietta Memorial Hspital Health System says the high court's ruling is an opportunity for health providers.
"While there's good and bad in the law," said President and CEO Scott Cantley, "from a hospital perspective, I'm glad to have the clarity to move forward with."
The only thing that appears certain about the Supreme Court's ruling, is that the battle and discussion about health care in the United States is far from over.
"The Patient Care and Affordable Health Care Act has the opportunity to create access for a lot of people who have felt excluded or left behind", Cantley said. "And we'll have to manage the downside of that act while we try to accentuate the opportunity it creates."
In addition, I believe there are several parts of this bill that are good for West Virginians: especially ending discrimination against people with pre-existing conditions, improving access to preventive care and eliminating the prescription drug donut hole for seniors. Looking ahead, we must work to find common ground on the individual mandate, which doesn’t make sense to West Virginians. I am determined to work with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to move forward with a solution.
As a nation, we should use today’s decision to push reset on the national dialogue about health care reform and refocus on why we wrote this law in the first place – to provide affordable coverage for 32 million uninsured Americans, to link provider payments to the quality of care provided instead of the volume of services, to make Medicare better for our seniors, and to enact health insurance reforms that put patients over insurance company profits.
One concern I have is the impact of the Supreme Court ruling today on the Medicaid expansion. When we wrote the law, we worked very hard to make sure that low-income Americans who aren’t currently eligible for Medicaid, but still can’t afford to pay for health insurance, are given an affordable option through the expansion of Medicaid. It appears the ruling could have seriously undermined their health care options. The decision still leaves in place an enormous financial incentive for states to do the right thing and expand coverage to this group. I hope every state will do that because these are good people who effectively have no other realistic option for affordable health care.
The idea that the vast majority of Americans are satisfied with health care the way it is today simply doesn’t match what I have heard from West Virginias about health care over many, many years. West Virginians are tired of insurance companies drastically raising their premiums every single year – including a 55 percent jump in West Virginia in just seven years -- without providing better care and in some cases kicking people off when they get sick and actually need medical services. West Virginians are tired of hearing that our state ranks among the top states for prevalence of chronic conditions like heart disease, diabetes, and cancer. And, West Virginia families who have health insurance are tired of paying thousands of dollars more in premiums each year to cover the costs of the uninsured. The status quo is not acceptable, which is why Congress passed this health reform law.
This law is not perfect – no law ever is. But, there simply is no moral justification for anyone sitting back when individuals and families throughout our state – often our own friends and neighbors – don’t have health insurance. And there is no financial justification for a health care system that forces people to seek care in the emergency room because they can’t afford insurance. Uncompensated care for the uninsured adds $2,000 on average to family health insurance premiums and $760 on average to individual health premiums in West Virginia.
It’s real people in West Virginia who I’m concerned about – not keeping score in Washington. I will continue to stand by every West Virginian, and I won’t back down until they get the health care they need. Today was a vital milestone in that fight and I am proud of the role that I played in bringing this law into existence.
While I respect the Supreme Court’s decision, I continue to believe that this law is bad for West Virginia families and the American economy. I have voted to repeal, dismantle and defund this law multiple times, and I will once again cast my vote for repeal in July.
Going forward, I will continue to support replacing the law with commonsense, step-by-step reforms that lower the cost of care without burdening small businesses with higher taxes, crippling already weak state budgets, pushing families off of their current coverage and increasing healthcare costs. Instead of a government takeover of healthcare, I support addressing the rising cost of care with patient-centered reforms that protect the doctor-patient relationship.
ObamaCare costs America $1.76 trillion over its first 10 years and adds 17 new taxes or penalties. In addition, it will punish small businesses with more red tape and the employer mandate will cause the elimination of 1.6 million jobs, with 66 percent of those coming from small businesses.
We will continue our fight to fully repeal ObamaCare,” said Rep. McKinley. “All Americans should have the right to make their own health care choices. Restricting choice and punishing individuals and employers is the wrong way to reform health care, whether the court agrees or not.
Once ObamaCare is fully repealed, we will not rush into the same mistakes made by President Obama and the Democrats,” said Rep. McKinley. “We need to listen to the American people to get health care reform right, and we should take the time to do so.
Press release from the office of OH Congressman Bill Johnson
Since making my first vote to repeal Obamacare, I've said that Obamacare is bad policy and bad medicine. While the Supreme Court found that the law is constitutional, it's still bad policy and bad medicine.
In fact, Congressman Charlie Wilson and Barack Obama promised that Obamacare wouldn't result in tax increases, but their tune changed at the Supreme Court. This decision confirms that Obamacare is both a massive expansion of government and a massive tax increase. The law has hurt America, and it continues to make our economy worse, making it more difficult for businesses to grow and hire more people.
This battle isn't over. I'll continue to fight for total repeal and the implementation of real, patient-centered solutions like health savings accounts, portability of insurance between jobs and states and lawsuit abuse reform. And I'll stand up for the likes of Franciscan University whose mission and values are threatened by Obamacare."
Press release from the office of OH Senator Rob Portman
"While the Court has deemed the law constitutional as a tax on the American people, it is still flawed policy that is unaffordable for our families, our small businesses, and our government. The President's one-size-fits-all health care spending law is the centerpiece of a failed agenda that has increased economic uncertainty, stalled job creation, and deepened the spending hole that Washington has dug.
It's time to change course and focus on growing jobs, instead of growing government. It didn't need to come to this. Washington didn't need to pass highly partisan legislation that is increasing premiums on families by $2,100 per year, increasing the deficit by billions of dollars, and killing thousands of jobs through billions of dollars in new taxes.
There was, and still is, a better way to improve our health care system without the heavy hand of government and massive new taxes. I'm hopeful the President will be willing to work with Republicans and Democrats alike on patient centered health care that actually reduces costs and expands access.
There is a victory in this case. The Supreme Court did not expand the powers under the Commerce Clause. While I am disappointed in Justice Roberts' decision, he was the leader in restricting the Commerce Clause, an expansion of which would have been detrimental to our country. If that would have been upheld, it would mean there are no limits to what Congress could compel Americans to purchase.
While we lost the battle over Obamacare, we did win the war on the true meaning of the Commerce Clause.
As a nation, we must address the fact that, without reform, those with insurance will continue to pay for those without it, and our seniors and working families will see their health costs skyrocket, while their benefits plummet.
With this decision, it’s now time to move forward with the business of improving the law, recognizing that, in America, we value health care as a basic human right.