Reactions to the SCOTUS health care reform ruling

Your lawmakers are sounding off on the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision upholding the Affordable Care Act as constitutional.

From U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif.:

Barbara Boxer “The Supreme Court’s ruling is a victory for America’s families, who deserve affordable health care.
“The decision is great news for the millions of Californians who have already seen the benefits of this law – including the six million who now have access to free preventive health services, 355,000 young adults who now have coverage on their parents’ health plans and 320,000 seniors who have received help in paying for their prescription drugs.
“Now Americans will have the certainty of knowing they won’t be denied coverage because of a preexisting condition. Women won’t be charged a higher premium because of their gender. And families struggling with serious illnesses will not face lifetime limits on coverage.
“We will continue to fight Republican efforts to repeal these important health benefits while we work to make sure every American has access to quality, affordable health care.”

From U.S. Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah:

Orrin Hatch“The American people know that this law violates our deepest constitutional principles of limited government, despite the Supreme Court’s ruling today. President Obama’s $2.6 trillion health spending law is an unprecedented power grab by this White House that will increase health care costs, add to our skyrocketing national debt, and put Washington bureaucrats in between patients and their doctors. This ruling doesn’t change the fact that a majority of the people of Utah and across America want this law repealed. The American people will have the last word at the ballot box this November. But let me be absolutely clear, I will continue the fight to repeal this assault on individual liberty and limited government.”

From U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif.:

Dianne Feinstein “This is an historic day. The Supreme Court today upheld the health care reform law passed by Congress in 2010, meaning Californians can be confident that access to affordable health insurance is finally a reality.

“I believe the health care reform law—including the individual mandate and the insurance exchanges designed to create large purchasing pools to make coverage more affordable—is critical to reducing the number of Americans who go without health insurance. The state exchanges will be up and running in 2014, and I am gratified they will have an opportunity to help Californians and drive down soaring health care costs.

“Because of today’s decision, California will receive an estimated $14.5 billion in federal funds designated to increase insurance coverage—including an estimated $5.5 billion annually to help low and middle-income residents purchase insurance in the exchanges and an estimated $9 billion a year to insure newly eligible Medi-Cal beneficiaries. **

“Many positive benefits of the law have already gone into effect including provisions that allow children to stay on their parent’s health insurance plan until age 26, prohibit insurance companies from denying children health insurance based on a pre-existing condition and prohibit insurance companies from canceling coverage because of an illness such as breast cancer. Millions of Americans will continue to benefit from these insurance reforms.

“I realize that passage of health care reform was extremely controversial. But we cannot forget that insuring fellow Americans and driving down the exploding cost of health care spending in this country is a national emergency. Even with this favorable decision from the court, our work reforming the insurance market and expanding access to health care continues.”

From House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio:

John Boehner “The president’s health care law is hurting our economy by driving up health costs and making it harder for small businesses to hire. Today’s ruling underscores the urgency of repealing this harmful law in its entirety. What Americans want is a common-sense, step-by-step approach to health care reform that will protect Americans’ access to the care they need, from the doctor they choose, at a lower cost. Republicans stand ready to work with a president who will listen to the people and will not repeat the mistakes that gave our country ObamaCare.”

From House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-San Francisco:

Nancy Pelosi “This decision is a victory for the American people. With this ruling, Americans will benefit from critical patient protections, lower costs for the middle class, more coverage for families, and greater accountability for the insurance industry.

“The Affordable Care Act is already paying dividends for millions of Americans – with more to come. Children can no longer be denied coverage due to pre-existing conditions. Seniors are paying less for prescription drugs. Students and young adults can stay on their parents’ plans. Being a woman is no longer a pre-existing medical condition.”

“In passing health reform, we made history for our nation and progress for the American people. We completed the unfinished business of our society and strengthened the character of our country. We ensured health care would be a right for all, not a privilege for the few. Today, the Supreme Court affirmed our progress and protected that right, securing a future of health and economic security for the middle class and for every American.”

More, after the jump…

From Rep. Pete Stark, D-Fremont:

Pete Stark (photo by Aric Crabb) “Today’s decision by the Supreme Court to uphold the health reform law is a victory for the health of all Americans. Our nation has joined the rest of the modernized world by guaranteeing quality, affordable health care to all our citizens. The Supreme Court’s decision prevents our country from returning control of Americans’ health to big insurance — an industry more concerned with profits than their enrollees’ health.

“Thanks to the law, millions of Americans already benefit: young adults can obtain coverage on their parents’ insurance until age 26, Americans get preventive benefits without cost sharing; seniors with high drug costs can maintain access to critical medications because the Medicare drug donut hole is being closed; children with pre-existing conditions cannot be denied health insurance, and small businesses benefit from tax credits to help pay for group health insurance.

“The law creates a new, fair marketplace for people to shop for coverage, provides subsidies to make coverage affordable, ends the ability of insurers to deny coverage based on pre-existing conditions.

“Today’s ruling marks another step forward: an end to Republicans’ call to repeal the health reform law. Americans don’t have time for their partisan charade — they never did. Congress needs to focus on Americans’ top priorities of job creation and strengthening the economy.”

From Rep. Mike Honda, D-San Jose:

honda.jpg “Two years ago, I was proud to make history and follow the leadership of President Obama in finally bringing the promise of affordable healthcare to everyone in our nation. I was proud to help pass the landmark Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. In the two interceding years, the law has already stopped the worst abuses by insurance companies: from denying care to people with pre-existing conditions to preventing hard-earned premium dollars from lining the pockets of company executives rather than on care outcomes; the law has made the health system work for Americans.

“Today, the Supreme Court affirmed this promise and upheld the law recognizing that the need for healthcare profoundly affects all aspects of our society. Today, the Supreme Court recognized that it cannot leave hardworking families who live paycheck to paycheck at the mercy of a broken health insurance system. We will not go back to the old way; we will not forsake the health and safety of millions upon millions of Americans in the pursuit of partisan politics.

“Because of today’s decision 2.5 million additional young adults, including 1.3 million minorities, who now have access to care, can continue to receive a measure of economic security. We will continue our country’s investment in the 350 new community health centers created by the Affordable Care Act that provide critical health services to more than 50 million Americans in medically underserved areas. We will ensure that we truly bending the cost curve downwards so that trips to the emergency room on the taxpayers’ dime are far and few in between.

“In the blind rabid partisan push to repeal health care reform, the people who will be affected the most by this decision have won a great victory. I will, as I have done in my twelve years in Congress, continue to fight for them and ensure that they receive the support they need.”

From Rep. Zoe Lofgren, D-San Jose:

“Today’s ruling is a victory for the millions of Americans who are the true beneficiaries of the Affordable Care Act’s expanded, affordable coverage that can’t be denied because of pre-existing conditions. I was proud to vote for this bill when it passed the House of Representatives in March 2010. Because of this law more than 440,000 children, adults and seniors of the16th congressional district have been shielded from excessive rate increases, health coverage rescissions, and lifetime coverage limits.

“Healthcare reform is already working to bring relief to our community. It is already expanding coverage for children and young adults, allowing businesses to expand coverage through tax credits, and helping Santa Clara County seniors afford the prescriptions they need.”

From Rep. George Miller, D-Martinez:

“The Supreme Court makes it clear – You’re covered. This decision is a huge victory for the American people, small businesses, women, children and seniors.

“Now, the threat that remains to your continued access to affordable health care and to the Medicare guarantee is from the Republican Congress and candidate Mitt Romney who have pledged to repeal the Affordable Care Act that the Supreme Court just ruled is constitutional. Remember what Speaker Boehner said yesterday: ‘If the court does not strike down the entire law, the House will move to repeal what’s left of it.’

“I will fight to protect your health care.”

From Rep. Mike Thompson, D-Napa:

Mike Thompson“Today’s ruling by the Supreme Court is a victory for all Americans. The historic health care reform legislation passed by Democrats in Congress is saving money and saving lives. Seniors are paying less at the pharmacy counter; insurance companies can no longer discriminate against people with preexisting conditions or women who become pregnant; millions of Americans can rest assured that if they get sick, they won’t have their health coverage dropped.

“By 2014, virtually all of the law will go into effect, making even more improvements to our health care system. More than 32 million people who are currently uninsured will gain access to affordable coverage. It will put an end to the hidden taxes that all insured individuals currently pay for emergency room visits by people without insurance. Women will no longer be charged substantially higher premiums than men for the same coverage, and being a woman can no longer be treated as a ‘pre-existing condition’ by insurance companies.

“Reforming our health care system is an ongoing process that began with the passage of this bill. It is an important first step towards making quality, affordable health care a reality for all Americans. In the months and years ahead, we need to put politics aside, focus on the facts and work together to further improve our nation’s health care system. By building on the reforms made in the Affordable Care Act, we can make sure every American can afford to go to the doctor.”

From Rep. Lynn Woolsey, D-Petaluma:

“I am grateful that the Supreme Court put partisanship aside and affirmed the will of the people, as expressed through their elected representatives in Congress and the White House.

“Of course, our struggle isn’t over. Republicans in Congress will still try to dismantle the Affordable Care Act piece by piece. They still don’t get it. They are still nostalgic for the old, broken health care system that left millions without coverage; bankrupted families and small businesses; and put the middle class at the mercy of the insurance industry.

“What we need now is to build on health care reform. We need to finish the job, with an even bolder and more ambitious plan. For nearly a half century, Medicare has provided health security to older Americans and those with disabilities in a fair and cost-efficient way. It’s time to give every American those same benefits. Let’s move now to pass Medicare Part ‘E’ – ‘Medicare for Everyone.’”

From Rep. Anna Eshoo, D-Palo Alto:

“Today is an historic victory for the American people. Decent, quality healthcare for all Americans has been a goal our country has had since President Truman. The Supreme Court has upheld the law and the nation has won. Our system works.”

From Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Oakland:

Barbara Lee (Dec-2010)“The decision today is a victory for the American people and the health and future of our nation. With this ruling, the Supreme Court confirmed that the reforms in the Affordable Care Act will move forward and provide millions of Americans with the fundamental human right of health care.

“The Affordable Care Act will now take its rightful place with Social Security and Medicare as powerful examples of what this country can do to improve the lives of every American.

“As the chair of the Congressional Black Caucus when Congress crafted the Affordable Health Care Act, I am particularly pleased that our work to ensure the strongest possible health care law and provisions to reduce and eliminate health care disparities will move forward.

“Now we can and must stand prepared to fight back any Republican efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act and deny health care and patient protections to millions of Americans. We cannot turn back now but build upon this victory and continue our march toward affordable, quality health care for all.”

From Rep. Jackie Speier, D-Hillsborough:

Jackie Speier “The Supreme Court decision to uphold the Affordable Care Act care is a victory for every family, including the parents whose children would otherwise be without insurance. This is a victory for seniors who have saved more than $4 billion on their prescription drugs. In 2014, those with pre-existing conditions will no longer be discriminated against by health insurers. I am still reading the scope of the Court’s determinations, but the core concept is simple: America wins. Affordable health care is a right, not a privilege.

“The Affordable Care Act is already paying dividends for millions of Americans including 25 million women who now have access to important preventive services such as mammograms, screenings for cervical cancer, prenatal care, flu and pneumonia shots, and regular well-baby and well-child visits all without co-pays or other charges.

“Furthermore, starting in 2014, being a woman can no longer be treated as a pre-existing medical condition in the eyes of insurance companies. For example, insurers will be barred from denying coverage for those who have had cesarean sections, survived domestic violence, or who are pregnant.

“Nationwide, health insurers will no longer be able to charge women higher premiums than they charge men of the same age, including regularly charging female nonsmokers more than they would male smokers. In short, today marks a turning point in America’s long struggle to make a dream into reality – the dream of affordable health coverage for every American. Work remains, but the goal line is in sight.

“I also want to laud Chief Justice Roberts who has demonstrated that the Court can be fair and balanced. The Roberts Court has done far more to benefit America than to simply uphold a law.”

Josh Richman

Josh Richman covers state and national politics for the Bay Area News Group. A New York City native, he earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri and reported for the Express-Times of Easton, Pa. for five years before coming to the Oakland Tribune and ANG Newspapers in 1997. He is a frequent guest on KQED Channel 9’s “This Week in Northern California;” a proud father; an Eagle Scout; a somewhat skilled player of low-stakes poker; a rather good cook; a firm believer in the use of semicolons; and an unabashed political junkie who will never, EVER seek elected office.

  • RR, Senile Columnist

    So what else is new?

  • I support the Individual Mandate because it contains exemptions for the poor (see H.R. 3590 Sec. 1501). I am happy that SCOTUS declared that the Individual Mandate is constitutional, which was the correct ruling under the Taxation Clause.
    However, I also support intelligence and honesty.
    The Messiah is either an idiot or a liar.
    The Messiah is an idiot IF he believed that the Individual Mandate was constitutional under the Commerce Clause. That argument is absurd.
    The Messiah is a liar IF he knew that the Individual Mandate was unconstitutional under the Commerce Clause, he knew that the Individual Mandate was a tax, he knew that the Individual Mandate would be declared a constitutional tax under the Taxation Clause, and, accordingly, he knew that the Individual Mandate constituted a raise in taxes.
    The Messiah said that he would not raise taxes.
    In my opinion, based on my inferences drawn from the facts, I believe that the Messiah is a LIAR!