GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) - The Supreme Court on Thursday upheld the individual insurance requirement at the heart of President Barack Obama's historic health care overhaul.
The decision means the huge overhaul, still only partly in effect, will proceed and pick up momentum over the next several years, affecting the way that countless Americans receive and pay for their personal medical care.
Following the US Supreme Court's decision upholding the Affordable Care Act, legislators and lobbyists weighed in with their statements:
"Today's Supreme Court ruling is an important step toward universal health care coverage, which is long overdue. It ensures that millions of Americans who have health insurance will be more able to depend on their coverage without fear of losing it to the whims of an insurance company. It ensures that millions more who do not have insurance today will not be denied coverage because of a pre-existing condition. And it ensures that millions of parents will be able to keep their children covered to age 26. I have always believed in the law's ability to make a real and positive difference in peoples' lives, and I'm gratified that the court's decision protects the interests of American families who have so much to gain from health insurance reform.
"We were right to rein in the power that insurance companies held over our health care. I believe Americans will broadly support today's decision, and that they will reject Republican attempts, already announced, to deprive Americans of the protections of the Affordable Care Act by repealing it." -- US Sen. Carl Levin
"The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is legislation that misses the point on the most important reforms needed in our health care system. In the meantime, it has been a detriment to the economic recovery of our country by causing massive uncertainty regarding medical costs which discourages job creation...
"...While I may not agree with everything in the law, now that the Supreme Court has essentially upheld the Act, we must act quickly to avoid an undue burden on Michigan residents and job providers. Working with our legislative leaders to establish the MiHealth Marketplace will allow Michiganders to make decisions regarding what will be covered as opposed to Washington, D.C. making those decisions for us. It will also allow us to draw down federal dollars to assist with the costs of complying with the law.
"Implementing this law will require an immense amount of coordination between the public and private sectors. We plan on working closely with Michigan consumers, businesses and health providers to ensure that the decisions we make have as much of a positive impact on Michigan as possible." - Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder
"The Supreme Court's decision is a major victory for middle class families throughout Michigan. The Affordable Care Act, the first major healthcare reform in decades, provides security for countless children, parents and workers throughout our state who otherwise could not afford or would be denied healthcare coverage. It makes Michigan healthier and our families more financially secure. I applaud the court for putting aside the false and politically motivated attacks against the Affordable Care Act and doing the right thing for the American people." -- Gretchen Whitmer, Michigan Senate Democratic Leader
"I could not be more upset that the Supreme Court has upheld this massive attack on Michigan's working-class families and mandates for insurance coverage that citizens have repeatedly objected to. I am mad and disappointed, but we remain committed to fighting for Michigan's future. Healthcare does need to be reformed, but the federal government has gone in exactly the wrong direction. We will do everything we can in the Michigan House to fight for Michigan's hardworking taxpayers. I do not support Obamacare, its huge middle-class tax hike or its one-size-fits-all mandate on our citizens. We now have a responsibility to protect Michiganders as much as possible from these federal mandates on individual healthcare. We will fight to ensure that medical decisions are made where they should be made: between patients and doctors. We will work with Gov. Snyder and the state Senate to see that Michiganders have access to healthcare that is marketplace-driven and provides competition, transparency and common sense options. Having the state establish a healthcare exchange is not something we wish to do, but we cannot stand idly by and hand over our citizens' healthcare to an overreaching federal bureaucracy. We will focus on putting people first and protecting them from this massive tax increase on Michigan's working families." - Michigan Speaker of the House Jase Bolger, R- Marshall
"Since its inception, Americans have questioned the legality and common-sense of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, more commonly known as ObamaCare. The Administration, including President Obama himself, has
argued that the individual mandate was not a tax. However, today's Supreme Court ruling determined that ObamaCare is indeed a tax on the American people and that the federal government has the power to enact such a tax. While the constitutional question has been answered, the common-sense question remains: should Americans be burdened with another onerous tax on individual liberties? With unemployment remaining above 8% for over 40 consecutive months and small businesses continuing to struggle, another tax on middle class families and America's job creators will only make matters worse.
"Today the Supreme Court affirmed that the Administration has once again misrepresented what ObamaCare is. The next step forward for House Republicans and America will be full repeal of the President's health care law. One of my first votes as a member of Congress was to repeal ObamaCare and I remain philosophically opposed to the President's approach. Today's decision is a stunning blow to both individual liberty and limited government and leaves me wondering what can't the federal government force private citizens to buy?" -- US Rep. Bill Huizenga, Michigan 2nd District
"The Supreme Court missed an historic opportunity to rein in the federal government. For decades, Congress has stretched the Constitution to authorize whatever new mandate it invents. Instead of acting as an impartial referee, the Court has been complicit in allowing Congress and the President to expand their power at the expense of state governments and the people.
"The Court's decision green lights the continued expansion of the size and scope of the federal government. It also underscores the need to have congressmen who resist the impulse to aggrandize power in Washington. Now more than ever, Congress must commit itself to following the Constitution and limiting the federal government. We can begin to fulfill that commitment by repealing the President's health care law in its entirety." -- US Rep. Justin Amash, Michigan 3rd District
"Today the Supreme Court ruled that President Obama broke his pledge of the law not increasing taxes and that there does not seem to be a limit to what the federal government can force us to do. Although I am stunned by the nature of the ruling, it in no way prevents Congress from repealing and replacing the law in the future.
"I remain committed to defunding, dismantling and repealing the law. Health care decisions should be made by patients, families and their doctors, not by bureaucrats in Washington who are burdening seniors and future generations with less choice, fewer services and more debt. Let it also be noted that the burden includes increased taxes on all and especially those with the least ability to pay." - US Rep. Tim Walberg, Michigan 7th District
"I am deeply disappointed with this ruling by the United States Supreme Court. I am extremely concerned as well, about the impact of this decision on the personal liberties and basic Constitutional rights of Americans.
"Today's decision raises the stakes – does the reach of federal government have any limits at all? If the federal government can force you to purchase a product or pay a hefty fine, there is virtually no limit to what it can compel you to do.
"I will carefully review all aspects of this ruling. Today's opinion only strengthens my resolve to work with other national leaders to repeal ObamaCare and fight for and defend the Constitution." -- Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette
"We are ecstatic! This is great news for all Michiganders who are one accident, one tumor or one layoff away from health and financial disaster. The Affordable Care Act was a century in the making to provide all Americans with access to affordable, quality healthcare. We commend the Supreme Court for its decision. Everyone wants the security of knowing they can see a doctor when they are ill or have the medications or treatments that they need. The Supreme Court ruling affirms that security by upholding the Affordable Care Act and allowing implementation to proceed. We are elated." -- Michigan League for Human Services Policy Director Karen Holcomb-Merrill
"ObamaCare treats American citizens like subjects. This administration has used health care law to become a dictator of conscience. The court's decision is alarming and deeply wrong. ObamaCare holds your health care hostage and offers no real choice. Either comply and abandon your religious freedom and conscience, or resist and be fined for your faith. All current ADF legal challenges to the Obama administration's abortion pill mandate will proceed, and we are confident that the Supreme Court will strike it down as unconstitutional." -- Alliance Defense Fund Senior Counsel Steven H. Aden
"Today's Supreme Court ruling is a clear, unambiguous, and complete victory for long-overdue health care reform. It sends an unmistakable message that the building of a better, fairer health care system will continue
to move forward.
"Implementing health reform will provide peace of mind for our families - the peace of mind that only comes when our loved ones are sure to receive the health care they need when they need it." -- Ron Pollack, Executive Director of Families USA
"In many ways, Blue Cross serves as the model for the system created by the federal health reform law. Our long history of guaranteeing high-quality, community-rated coverage to all who apply, regardless of medical condition, gives the Blues a deserved reputation as a place of strength and stability for health care consumers. Our history also gives us a responsibility to ensure that Michigan's people, employers and health care providers are ready for the future. We will be redoubling our efforts to ensure that Michigan is informed and ready for a new health insurance marketplace with new rules and standards for coverage." -- Daniel J. Loepp, BCBSM president and CEO
"Since it appears that the individual coverage mandate has been upheld, there will now be a big rush for many states, including Michigan, to seek funding and implement state health insurance exchanges. The overriding concern of small business owners is trying to keep health care premiums down as they emerge from the lingering effects of the recession. It's our hope that the Affordable Care Act, as defined by the court today, will take us in a cost-saving direction." -- Michigan Business and Professional Association President and CEO Jennifer Kluge.
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