SCOTUS upholds healthcare overhaul; RI officials react

Jun 28, 2012

The reaction is streaming in to the US Supreme Court’s decision, on a 5-4 vote, to uphold most of the Democratic-backed Affordable Care Act:

Senator Jack Reed:

“Health reform is long overdue.  Nearly two decades ago, former Republican Senator John H. Chafee pointed out that a private health insurance market works best when everyone is in the insurance market.  And during the debate in 2009, top Republicans in Congress were still saying “there is a bipartisan consensus to have an individual mandate.”

“Today’s ruling moves us closer to providing more Americans with access to affordable coverage.  Everyone should be responsible when it comes to health care, and, under this law, everyone — from individuals to small business — will be eligible for important new health insurance benefits, protections, and choices.”

Bill Vernon, state director of the National Federation of Independent Business:

“The tragedy in this ruling is that Rhode Island residents are now at the mercy of politicians from other states and bureaucrats in Washington whose decisions won’t be based on what is best for Rhode Island. Small businesses here will be overwhelmed by mandates, taxes and burdens imposed on them by people whom we cannot as easily hold accountable.”

Governor Lincoln Chafee:

“This ruling also will help to bend the health coverage cost curve forRhode Islandsmall businesses and their employees. It will ensure the continuation of provisions already in effect—including the small business tax credit on employee premiums paid that can save small businesses up to 35% per year. We are energized by this decision and will work withRhode Island’s business community to continue to implement health reform in our state.”

David Cicilline:

“Access to affordable health care is a necessity for all Americans, and I am proud that President Obama’s historic health care reform law, which I strongly support, has been upheld by the Supreme Court – this decision ensures that nearly 15,000 Rhode Island seniors will continue to save on their prescription drug costs, more than 7,500 young adults in our state will be able to stay on their parents’ plans until they are 26, and insurance companies will not be able to deny coverage to as many as 54,000 Rhode Island children who live with pre-existing conditions.” 

“Today, I’m especially mindful of folks like Rita Manley, a senior living in Central Falls who was recently diagnosed with cancer.  This decision means that millions of people like Rita, if they get sick, will not be denied coverage because of a pre-existing condition.”

Brendan Doherty:

“Although this Act is an unwise, unworkable, and ultimately unaffordable program, we should continue to work to solve the problem of unaffordable health care and unacceptable numbers of Americans without health care coverage.  While the intentions behind this attempt at universal coverage may have been well-meaning, the process and the unaffordable result are not good for our country’s future.  The fact that this law was written behind closed doors and was supported by Members of Congress who failed to read or understand its implications clearly demonstrates all that is wrong in Congress today.

Laws written behind closed doors, heavily influenced by special interests and their lobbyists and pushed through the Congress without a single vote from the other party can only result in bad policy that serves as a drain on the economy. Landmark programs impacting essential components of our society must be enacted with broad bipartisan support.  A lasting solution for health care reform must be forged through agreement among Democrats and Republicans, as were the landmark Social Security and Medicare programs.

Today’s decision should not serve to set us back, but instead to create an opportunity to find bipartisan solutions that will result in the reform of our healthcare system that will streamline delivery and control costs, without imposing yet another tax on the middle class and our small business community.  In Congress, I will work with like-minded Representatives to support common sense healthcare proposals that not only extend coverage, but also promote competition to reduce costs and make healthcare affordable.”

Jim Langevin:

“It is a victory for individuals with pre-existing conditions, who, under the Affordable Care Act, can no longer be denied coverage; for those with chronic illness who can stop worrying about yearly and lifetime coverage limits; for young people who can still remain under parents’ insurance until age 26; for seniors who are already experiencing prescription savings from our closing the donut hole; and for our Medicare system, which will see costs reduced by $500 million by rewarding quality of care instead of quantity.

“I also continue to take pride in the health insurance exchanges that will force insurance companies to offer coverage in a competitive and transparent way, and in the medical-loss ratio mandating that insurers spend 85 percent of premiums on health care, rather than CEO salaries, profits for shareholders and advertisements.”

Sheldon Whitehouse:

“For the many Rhode Islanders I’ve heard from who are counting on the reforms in the Affordable Care Act to help them gain access to vital health services, the Supreme Court today sent a clear message that those reforms will go forward.  By upholding the law, the Court validated the principle that all Americans should have access to health care.  Seniors will continue receiving discounts on prescription drugs, children can continue to stay on their parents’ health insurance policy after college, and individuals suffering from chronic illness won’t need to worry about running into lifetime caps.” 

Barry Hinckley:

“Our country did not want or approve of ObamaCare then and they still do not now.  Americans oppose it because it will decrease the quality of care, raise taxes, cut Medicare, and add trillions of dollars in debt.  Now, the only way to save the country from ObamaCare’s budget-busting government takeover of health care is elect a new president.”

“Under President Obama’s signature legislation, health care costs continue to skyrocket, mainly due to the lack of competition within the market.  We know that when there is a lack a competition in the market, prices rise, and when prices rise, it makes it more difficult for families to afford the health care coverage of their choice.”

Anthony Gemma:

“From our state’s senior citizens, whose prescription drug costs will continue to be held down, to nearly 60,000 of our children, who will not be denied access to health care due to pre-existing conditions, to young adults who can stay on their parents’ health plans until age 26, every demographic group in Rhode Island benefits from this landmark decision.

As the founder of the Gloria Gemma Breast Cancer Resource Foundation, I am thrilled by the ruling’s preservation of the Act’s elimination of the pre-existing condition loophole.  As a result, Rhode Islanders diagnosed with cancer will have full access to affordable health care.  Lives will be saved.”

Angel Taveras:

“I am pleased that the Supreme Court has upheld the central provisions of the health reforms passed in 2010. The legislation, passed after months of negotiations and modeled on the health care legislation originally introduced in the early 1990s by the late U.S. Senator John Chafee,  expands access to coverage, improves the quality of care and makes insurance more affordable for more Americans. Healthy cities are strong cities, and strong cities build strong economies. The ACA will improve public health in Providence and help us build a healthier and stronger community to compete in the future.”