Reactions to Obamacare decision split down party lines
DENVER –It’s all over, but the shoutin’.
The nation’s highest court has settled the question of whether or not President Barack Obama’s landmark health care overhaul was constitutional.
And while the Court’s majority opinion, written, to the surprise of many, by conservative Chief Justice John Roberts, is the only one that really matters — other opinions continued to abound across the country, falling, as expected, right down party lines.
Here’s what Colorado’s elected officials and other stakeholders have to say about the ruling:
Colorado Attorney General John Suthers: “The Supreme Court decision handed down today is a blow to federalism and to the people of Colorado, as a future of higher costs, fewer choices, and less control over healthcare is inevitable under the current healthcare plan. Obamacare forces the unique state of Colorado and its citizens into a ‘one size fits all’ approach and stifles innovation and personalized solutions.
“Our state is faced with a future of oppressive regulations instead of a system that allows its people and its local economy to flourish. But, hope is not lost. As Governor Romney has said many times, no matter what happens in court, we must dedicate ourselves to repealing this law, and he has promised to do just that, starting on day one of his administration.
“With Governor Romney’s leadership, we can replace Obamacare with healthcare solutions that put the citizens of Colorado and their doctors in charge of their own healthcare solutions instead of relying on unelected bureaucrats in Washington.”
U.S. Rep. Mike Coffman: “I’m deeply disappointed that the individual mandate was re-branded as a tax and allowed to stand. I still believe that we need to repeal the Affordable Care Act and start over with a bipartisan patient-centered health care reform that doesn’t increase our debt or cripple our economy.”
Colorado House Majority Leader Amy Stephens: “Today’s ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court sets a dangerous Constitutional precedent that will derail our fragile economic recovery.
“Federally mandated health care oversteps congressional authority and will hamstring entrepreneurship and impose impossible-to-manage costs for all employers here in Colorado and across the country.”
U.S. Rep. Cory Gardner: “Today’s decision is very disappointing. The Supreme Court effectively granted Congress unprecedented power to tax people who don’t spend money and buy what Congress wants them to buy.
“But just because something is deemed constitutional does not make it good policy. Our fight to curb the overreaching power of government will continue. While today’s decision may have been a setback, the vision of our Founding Fathers and their notion of limited government still lives in the hearts and minds of many Americans.
“This ruling only energizes us for November.”
Colorado Senate Minority Leader Bill Cadman: “The Supreme Court’s 5-4 ruling is a serious blow to individual rights and freedom. The Obama Administration and Congress have just been granted unlimited power to coerce 313 million Americans into purchasing any product Congress chooses. By expanding the power to tax and regulate to every corner of our lives, this ruling truly is a threat to the very foundation of our republic.”
Ryan Call, Colorado GOP Chairman: “Today, a deeply divided and complicated Supreme Court decision sets the stakes for the November election. Now, the only way to save the country from ObamaCare’s federal government takeover of health care is to appeal this decision to the people themselves – by electing a new President and a Republican Congress.
“President Obama’s signature legislation is expected to cost taxpayers over $1 trillion over the next decade, and under his plan health care costs will continue to skyrocket and up to 20 million Americans could lose their employer-based coverage. Meanwhile, a panel of unelected bureaucrats now has the unprecedented authority to come between patients and their doctors. ObamaCare is still bad law, it is still bad for business and the economy, and it is still bad for the American people.”
U.S. Sen. Mark Udall: “The Affordable Care Act has expanded health coverage for thousands of Coloradans and made preventive care more accessible and affordable for millions of Americans across the country. I am pleased to see that the U.S. Supreme Court affirmed the bill’s constitutionality.
“We have already seen the positive impacts of the law, including keeping prescription drugs affordable for our nation’s seniors and prohibiting insurance companies from denying health insurance to children with pre-existing conditions. I look forward to working with my Senate colleagues, and the administration, to ensure that this important law continues to be implemented in a smart and effective manner.”
U.S. Rep. Jared Polis: “The Court has ruled, the issue is decided, and it’s now the duty of everyone in Congress and the administration to work together to ensure that the law is properly implemented so that it works as intended: to reduce health care costs, expand health care coverage, protect Americans with preexisting conditions and women from insurance company discrimination, and ensure continued coverage even if you lose a job.
“The health care law is not perfect and just as I did during the drafting of the original legislation, I’ll work with anyone who wants to constructively improve it. But now that the Court has ruled we should work together on a bipartisan basis to ensure that it functions effectively and extends quality health care to all.”
U.S. Rep. Ed Perlmutter: “I supported the Affordable Care Act because it guaranteed the Constitutional rights for people with preexisting medical conditions so they cannot be discriminated against and denied health insurance coverage. The Supreme Court’s decision upholds these Constitutional rights and provides certainty to folks that they do not have to worry their pre-existing medical condition or age will prevent them from receiving quality, affordable medical care.
“The ACA also gives new rights to middle class Americans so their insurance company cannot change the rules of the game at their convenience. It’s time to let this work, get more people covered and move on with the business of the country. We are all in this together, and our priority has to be putting American people back to work in good, stable jobs here in our country.”
U.S. Rep. Diana DeGette: “Today is a good day for America’s families and for the future of our nation’s health insurance system. As a constitutional lawyer and one of the chief architects of the ACA, I have always believed the mandate was constitutional, and I am extremely pleased the Court agreed.
“I’m sorry that Republicans continue to focus solely on repealing the ACA, as doing so will do nothing to help the American people coping with our nation’s continuing health care crisis, while actually ending important and popular benefits that have already taken hold. The truth is, behind the decision, the statistics, the politics, the pundits and the hyperbole, are real people; the same real people from across Colorado who for months have been telling me how this law is already helping them.”
State Sen. Irene Aguilar, MD: “This is a wonderful outcome for 480,000 of our 829,000 Coloradans without health insurance. The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act will help working families afford health insurance, and allow Colorado to expand its safety net for those living in poverty.
“Colorado can move forward on its work on the exchange without further delays and diversions. The Supreme Court’s decision will help our economic recovery tremendously.”
Elisabeth Arenales, Health Program Director at the Colorado Center on Law and Policy: “We celebrate the ruling because it means that all Coloradans have the security of knowing they can get the care they need when they need it.”
Check back for more statements throughout the day.