Supreme Court Upholds Health Care Mandate: Local Leaders and Orgs React

By: WIBW/CBS News Posted by Josh Mabry
By: WIBW/CBS News Posted by Josh Mabry
In a historic decision, the Supreme Court on Thursday upheld the critical piece of President Obama

In this June 25, 2012, photo, the Supreme Court in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

(CBS News) In a historic decision, the Supreme Court on Thursday upheld the critical piece of President Obama's Affordable Care Act, the individual mandate.

By upholding the individual mandate -- the requirement for all Americans to acquire health insurance -- the court allowed stand what many described as the "heart" of the law. The decision creates some certainty surrounding federal health care policy, allowing federal and state rulemakers to, for now, implement the law.

The high court's move, however, hardly ends the political controversy; if anything, the decision is sure to renew calls for lawmakers to repeal the Affordable Care Act legislatively.

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Statement from Gov. Sam Brownback, (R) Kansas

“Stopping ObamaCare is now in the hands of the American people. It begins with electing a new president this fall.”

Statement from KS Attorney General Derek Schmidt, R-Kansas:

“I’m deeply disappointed in the Court’s decision. The era of big government lives on.

“The Court’s majority declared Obamacare to be nothing more than an old-fashioned tax-and-spend program. No more can Congress or the President claim that this is ‘not a tax.’ American voters now must decide, through the 2012 elections, the wisdom of this formerly hidden tax increase. Kansas policy leaders also now have the choice whether or not to spend more Kansas taxpayer funds to expand the Medicaid program.

“The states’ arguments were not ignored. The Supreme Court today flatly rejected the federal government’s unprecedented power grab under the Commerce Clause. It also rejected the federal government’s effort to transform the Medicaid program from a federal-state partnership into a centralized program run by Washington, from Washington and solely for Washington. These legal rulings will benefit the long-term vigor of our federal system.”

Statement from Senator Pat Roberts, (R) Kansas

"I’m deeply disappointed in the Supreme Court’s decision to keep Obamacare in place. This is the wrong decision for our country. After two years, we have seen the problems and pitfalls of this law and they fall squarely on the shoulders of patients and Kansas families.

The Court has affirmed that Obamacare is a new, additional tax. Care will cost more, and access to quality care will be reduced. No wonder a majority of Americans oppose it.“It’s now up to the Congress to repeal and replace this law with step by step, common-sense, cost-cutting solutions that work for Kansans and all Americans and that’s what I will work to do in the Senate. There is no question today’s decision is a real setback for America and will make our work that much harder.”

Statement from Congresswoman Lynn Jenkins, (R) Kansas

“When the PPACA was being debated, I stated that I felt this was bad policy that would lead to fewer jobs, more debt, higher healthcare costs, and reduced access to quality care in our rural areas. Further, I have contended this law never addressed the primary problem with our healthcare system: cost. Contrary to the PPACA’s stated purpose of making healthcare “affordable”, the Act ignored the aspects within our healthcare system that inflate expenses. Our healthcare system is in need of significant reforms, but these reforms must address the problems of cost.

While I am disappointed by the decision, it just further highlights the importance of electing a Congress that does not pass bad policy in the first place. The Obama Administration and the last Congress ignored the public concerns and ramrodded this bad legislation through the legislative process. Unlike the legislative and executive branches, the judicial branch does not have the responsibility to listen to public opinion or to ensure a particular policy is good for the nation; they are merely tasked to determine if the Constitution permits it. While I disagree, in the judgment of the Supreme Court, it does.

It is my expectation the House will immediately get back to work on addressing the major issues that face our healthcare system. First and foremost, we must repeal the PPACA. Then, as a member of the House Ways and Means Committee, I am anxious to get to work on passing sound, common sense legislative reforms that will put patients – the consumers of health care – in charge.”

Statement from Tobias Schlingensiepen, (D) 2nd Dist. Candidate:

"I am pleased the Supreme Court recognized that health care is not about politics, but about ensuring families get the preventative services and the health care they need. I believe that safeguarding the health of Americans is a moral priority. I am hopeful that with today's decision, we can now unite to realize a better quality of health for all Americans."

Statement from Blue Cross, Blue Shield Of Kansas

Today’s decision on the Affordable Care Act means Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas will continue to implement the law and educate our members on what it means for them, just as we’ve been doing since March 2010. We also will continue to work with state and federal regulators, and contracting health care providers to ensure that Kansans have affordable health insurance and high quality health care. Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas will continue to be the company that Kansans trust to help them through this time of change.

Statement from Kansas Health Consumer Coalition executive director Anna Lambertson:

"We are thrilled the court has upheld the important consumer protections in the Affordable Care Act.

There are more than 350,000 Kansans who do not have any health insurance and many Kansans have insurance that is inadequate to cover them when they get sick or have an accident. The Affordable Care Act will continue to help cover many hard-working Kansans who are struggling to afford health coverage for themselves and their families.

Today's decision from the U.S. Supreme Court will allow for Kansans to keep the benefits of the Affordable Care Act that are already helping them, including keeping their young adult children on their plans until the age of 26, not worrying about their children being denied coverage due to pre-existing conditions, and not having their health coverage dropped for unintentional mistakes on their applications.

Today's decision will also allow for implementation of other significant provisions, such as a prohibition on denials for adults with pre-existing conditions, and access to an insurance marketplace where they could be eligible for tax credits to help them purchase coverage.

We look forward to continuing to work with Kansas decision-makers and other advocates to support open and transparent implementation of the Affordable Care Act in Kansas."

Statement from Shannon Cotsoradis, president and CEO of Kansas Action for Children:

"Today's decision marks the beginning of a new era in health care coverage for Kansas children and their families. Working families will no longer be denied coverage due to a pre-existing condition or lose their coverage when someone gets sick. More secure health care coverage, as a result of the ACA, will finally give hardworking Kansas families some peace of mind."

Statement from Kansas Insurance Commissioner Sandy Praeger, a Republican:

"This addresses the problem of access to health care, and now we have to find ways to bring costs under control. The law uses a market-driven approach with a measure of compassion to let people buy their own health insurance at the cost and coverage they can afford. We are going to have to wait, however, to see what the November election holds regarding the law's long-term future."

Statement from U.S. Rep. Tim Huelskamp, R-Kansas 1st District:

“When they look back on the American system of once-limited government, June 28, 2012 will stand as a definitive date in the advance of government tyranny. Today, a slim majority of the Supreme Court turned our Constitution on its head, and ruled that the federal government, in effect, can force upon the American people anything it damn well pleases – as long as it is called a tax. Unlimited federal power, combined with judicial activism, has crafted a new regime that has destroyed our Founders’ vision.”

“Not only are individual liberties destroyed as a result of ObamaCare, but taxpayers are on the hook for a non-workable, ineffective, and outrageously expensive health care program. ObamaCare will drive America into bankruptcy, as the law is already radically exceeding original cost estimates. The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office estimates that millions of Americans will likely lose their health insurance plan as employers are driven out of business or are unable to meet massive new mandates and costs of Washington.”

“Although the court ruled the law could stand, this does not mean the law should stand. I will continue to work toward repealing ObamaCare before it is fully implemented, and will continue to support common sense solutions that actually fix – rather than worsen – America’s health care system. We need to get rid of IPAB, which will raid $500 billion from Medicare and force rationing upon America’s seniors. We need to eliminate the patient records database that threatens doctor-patient confidentiality and privacy. We need to kill the provisions that undermine religious liberty. And, we need to eradicate the expensive burdens placed on America’s job creators that will ultimately drive at least 20 million people to lose their workplace-based coverage.

“The Court may have spoken, but the American people can have the last word this November when they go to the polls and decide the future of our nation. We need the American people in charge, not politicians and bureaucrats.”

Statement from Americans for Prosperity-Kansas:

“Kansans recognize that this law is a threat to our liberty,” said AFP-Kansas state director Derrick Sontag. “While the Supreme Court may have missed this one, taxpayers are still paying attention and now expect Congress to do the right thing. We won’t stand idly by while this law spends over a trillion dollars and places bureaucrats between patients and their doctors.

“Since 2009 a majority of Kansans have supported a full repeal of the Affordable Care Act in large part due to its threat to individual freedoms. This ruling will not change the opposition to the law that exists in Kansas.

“It is especially disappointing to know that Kansans won’t have the opportunity to cast a vote on the Kansas Health Care Freedom Amendment this November. While the Kansas House overwhelmingly supported placing this matter on the ballot, the Senate did not. AFP-Kansas will be educating citizens as to which Senators denied them the opportunity to vote on this important piece of legislation.”

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