Jun 28, 2012 12:27 PM

State leaders react to Supreme Court ruling on health care

TUCSON - Several local and state leaders have already issued statements following the Supreme Court's decision to largely uphold the Affordable Care Act. Below read their complete, unedited statements.

Senator John McCain (R-AZ):
"Today's decision by the Supreme Court is disappointing. Obamacare is unpopular with the American people because it puts Washington in control of our health care choices and does nothing to address the real problems in our system - most importantly the rapidly rising and unsustainable costs. In fact, Obamacare does the opposite, driving up the cost of health care and, as a result, impedes the economic recovery this country so badly needs. Congress should immediately begin the process of repealing Obamacare and replace it with common sense reforms that ensure all Americans can get the care they need at a price they can afford."

Senator Jon Kyl (R-AZ):

"For over two years, the president's health law has remained highly unpopular with the American people - particularly the mandate to purchase health insurance and other tax hikes. Because the Supreme Court did not strike down the most onerous provisions, it appears that the American people themselves will have to overturn the law by the choices they make in November's election. We need to listen to the people to see what they would like; then, Congress can replace the flawed law with reforms that ensure Americans have health care that is affordable with a doctor of their choice and without increased taxes, mandates, and rationing.

"It hardly matters to the American citizens that the requirement to buy government defined insurance cannot be justified under the Commerce Clause if it can be justified as a ‘tax.' Forcing people to buy something and penalizing those who do not with a ‘tax' leaves citizens in the same position as if the mandate were justified under the Commerce Clause."

Reps. Raúl M. Grijalva (D-AZ) and Keith Ellison (D-MN), Co-Chairs of the Congressional Progressive Caucus:
"This ruling is a significant victory for the American people. After a two-year legal battle, the Supreme Court confirmed today that the Affordable Care Act will continue to provide millions of Americans with health coverage. The health care reform act provides that children will not be denied coverage due to a preexisting condition, young adults will be able to stay on their family health plan, and that Americans can keep their health care insurance if they get a major illness. The Affordable Care Act will now take its rightful place with Social Security and Medicare as powerful examples of what we can do together to improve the lives of every American.

"Despite today's victory, Republicans in Congress will continue their assault on universal health care for the American people. Throughout this year, GOP lawmakers have tried to repeal and cut back health care benefits, including Medicare and Medicaid. We must continue to work together to protect vital reforms that will improve the health of every American.

"Today's decision is a turning point for the American people. Let's remember that millions of American families suffered without health care coverage for decades. The health care reform program has already benefited millions of families. The Court's decision to uphold reform proposed by President Obama and enacted by the Congress is a sign that dramatic change can happen when the American people demand change. We have made an important step forward toward our goal of affordable universal coverage. Now we need to be vigilant to implement the law so that American families have the health care they have needed for decades."

Congressman David Schweikert (R-AZ):
"When the Democrat controlled Congress passed ObamaCare over two years ago, it was the single most economically devastating government mandate our country has ever seen.

"Today, after the Supreme Court ruled ObamaCare's individual mandate a tax, it still remains the most economically devastating government mandate our country has ever seen.

"If the Supreme Court will not repeal this job-killing, tax-hiking mandate, then I will fight until every ounce of ObamaCare is repealed and replaced."

Arizona House Minority Leader Chad Campbell, D-Phoenix (District 14)
"The Supreme Court's decision to uphold the Affordable Care Act underscores how important health care reform is for Arizonans. This is a historic decision. There is no question that the current health care system is broken. It is too expensive and the insurance companies are calling the shots. We need reform and we need it now. Tea Party Republicans have been cutting funding for the health care industry so service providers have lost their jobs and the amount of services available have dwindled. Arizonans deserve affordable health care. As many as 411,000 Arizona children have pre-existing conditions. The Affordable Care Act prevents insurance companies from denying coverage to children with pre-existing conditions like diabetes and asthma. This is important now because the Tea Party Republicans at the legislature refused to restore full funding to KidsCare, leaving thousands of Arizona children from working families without heath care coverage."

Assistant Arizona House Minority Leader Steve Farley, D-Tucson (District 28)
"A health care system that allows insurance companies to cherry pick who will receive coverage and who will be left to fend for themselves is a system that fails all Arizonans. The Supreme Court's decision shows us that we are ready, now more than ever, for reform. Today, 60,000 young Arizonans who would otherwise be uninsured have coverage because of the Affordable Care Act. The 880,000 Arizona seniors benefiting from Medicare no longer have to face financial disaster because the Affordable Care Act closes the Part D 'doughnut hole.' Over the past few years, Tea Party Republicans have slashed funding in the health care industry. This resulted in job loss and drastic reductions in services and has pushed some hospitals to the brink of closure. That is intolerable. Arizonans deserve better."

Arizona House Minority Whip Anna Tovar, D-Tolleson (District 13)
"The Supreme Court's decision today affects me at a very personal level. As a cancer survivor and a transplant recipient, I understand deeply how crucial it is for people to have access to quality health care. All Arizonans should expect coverage that will provide life-saving treatment when they need it. The Affordable Care Act protects people from the exclusionary and unfair practices of some insurance companies. It also helps keep premiums low, so that people can afford insurance. There are 3.4 million Arizonans with private insurance and now they are protected by reforms that help keep premiums low. Before the health care law, some insurance companies spent as much as 40 percent of premiums on administrative overhead like marketing and CEO bonuses. But the health care law requires all Arizona insurance companies to spend at least 80 percent of premiums on health care and quality improvement. The US Department of Health and Human Services estimates this will save Arizonans about $27.4 million. The Affordable Care Act is a major step toward meaningful reform."

Congressman Paul Gosar (R-AZ)
"When Obamacare was sold to the American public by Obama, Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, and other Democrats, they essentially lied to the public and said it was not a tax. However, in order to pay for this monstrous government takeover, taxes were imposed in a variety of ways, including through the individual mandate that required everyone to buy government insurance or pay penalties. Today, the Court said Congress can impose new taxes and that the individual mandate is constitutional as a new tax. In short, if it walks like a tax, talks like a tax, and quacks like a tax, the Supreme Court will tell us it's a tax. And so it did."
Gosar continued, "Hard working American people already suffer under a crushing weight of taxes. The last thing they need is yet more taxes. This is what Obamacare is, however, and I will not rest until this excessive and wasteful tax is repealed."

"Americans stand resolved that this legislation will spell the ruin of health care in this country by driving up taxes, increasing health care costs as well as weakening the physician patient relationship with bureaucratic interference," Dr. Gosar, stated.

"As a healthcare provider, I remain confident that the best solution is a full repeal of this costly burdensome legislation which will hurt patients by undermining access to quality care while adding billions to our deficit. I will continue to advocate for stronger, smarter and more cost effective measures to solve our nation's healthcare crisis without government interference. We must remember that the driving force for all healthcare reform should be a patient centered and patient friendly system."

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