LOCAL REACTION: Supreme Court Upholds ObamaCare
WASHINGTON, DC – As the Supreme Court upholds President Obama’s standardized healthcare plan as the “law of the land”, government officials on the local, state, and federal level are reacting to the news.
Statement from Sen. Jeremy Hutchinson (R-Little Rock)
I am very disapointed in the ruling issued today by the United States Supreme Court. The ruling was based on the Congress’ “taxing authority,” a tax which was denied by the Adminstration as they attempted to sell it to the American People. With this ruling, I am afraid that Congress has been granted unfettered powers to regulate the lives of the American People.
Conservatives in the Arkansas Legislature have long contended that this mandate was not a legitimate use of the Commerce Clause and we were correct. The Administration has long denied that this was a tax. However, it now appears the Administration is embracing this act as a tax.
However, unlike every other tax, this tax is not universal, based on income or activity. It is based on a few people’s mere existence. This is a dangerous and unprecedented tax, that I don’t think the American people will stand for.
Conservative members of the Arkansas Legislature have attempted to delay spending tax payer dollars on the implementation of the President’s Affordable Healthcare Act. Based on a cursory reading of the majority opinion, it appears that there is no longer any compulsion upon the state to implement the Federal Act.
What this means is that the battlle has now shifted to the States. We as conservatives, will not support spending tax payer dollars to implement this overly burdensome Act in Arkansas.
If enough states refuse to implement the exchanges, the scheme will collapse under it’s own weight. If Republicans take over a majority in the Arkansas Legislature, we committ that we will not subject the residents of Arkansas to this burdensome Act.
Statement from U.S. Senator Mark Pryor (D-Little Rock)
The cost of health care is having a major impact on Arkansas families and it is taking an enormous toll on our nation’s budget and well-being. This reason is why Presidents and lawmakers of both parties have promised to fix this broken system for more than 40 years. It is also the reason I have worked to make health care more affordable, accessible and reliable for Arkansans. The law we passed, while not perfect, is already making health care more affordable, accessible and reliable. It is benefiting children, adults and seniors throughout our state.
Before health care reform, I heard from an individual in Greenwood who couldn’t afford life-saving medicine for his heart condition. He is now one of the 36,000 Arkansas seniors who are saving a collective $30 million on prescription drugs through Medicare. I received a letter from a mom in Fayetteville who can now insure her 5-year-old with Down Syndrome, and an email from Brian in Rogers who was able to purchase health care coverage despite having multiple sclerosis. In fact, in Arkansas more than 35,000 young adults have gained health insurance, 574 individuals with pre-existing conditions were able to buy coverage after being denied in the past and 819,000 individuals received preventive services with no deductible or co-pay. The protections upheld today by the Supreme Court will continue to benefit these families, and thousands of other Arkansans who have struggled with the cost of health care in our country.
I am still analyzing today’s ruling. While it provides more certainty, it still allows us to work in a bipartisan way to improve our health care system.
Statement from U.S. Representative Tim Griffin (R-Little Rock)
“I agree with the dissent that ObamaCare is ‘invalid in its entirety.’ In 2009, President Obama said the penalty for not obtaining health insurance is not a tax, but his lawyers argued just the opposite before the Supreme Court. Today’s decision is a monumental error and paves the way for one of the largest tax increases in history. While the Court may have found a narrow majority to uphold ObamaCare, the vast majority of hardworking Americans remain opposed to this unprecedented and expensive law that fails to lower costs and increase access to quality health care. I will continue to fight to repeal President Obama’s health care law so that we can replace it with patient-centered health care reform that maintains high quality service, empowers consumers, promotes innovation, lowers costs and is supported by hardworking American taxpayers.”
In 2009, when President Obama was trying to sell his health care law, he was unequivocal: “for us to say that you’ve got to take a responsibility to get health insurance is absolutely not a tax increase…. Nobody considers that a tax increase.”
A recent study produced by the House Ways & Means Committee showed that ObamaCare could actually encourage employers to drop health care coverage and impact more than 10.2 million employees and dependents. In March, the Congressional Budget Office projected the cost of the President’s health care law will be $1.76 trillion, almost doubling its original estimate published when ObamaCare was signed into law. Within four years, individuals and families who buy coverage on their own can expect to pay 13 percent more for their insurance, compared to if the law hadn’t been enacted at all.
A New York Times/CBS News poll from earlier this month showed that more than two-thirds of Americans hoped the Supreme Court would overturn some or all of the health care law. Less than a quarter said they hoped the Court “would keep the entire health care law in place.”
Since January 2011, the House has voted 30 times to repeal all or part of ObamaCare.