TN, VA representatives react to Supreme Court health care ruling

Following the 6-3 U.S. Supreme Court ruling Thursday upholding Obamacare subsidies, several of the region’s local representatives voiced their reactions to the decision.

“The president’s health care bill is so deeply flawed it cannot be fixed, and today’s ruling does not change that fact,” Rep. Phil Roe said. “Folks around the country are still struggling because of ObamaCare, and I will continue to fight to bring certainty to the American health care system and to transition away from this monstrosity to a patient-centered, market-based health care system.”

U.S. Senator Bob Corker, who voted against passage of the health care law, as well as voted for legislation to repeal it, released the following statement about the Supreme Court’s decision:

“Today’s ruling affirms that it is up to Congress to come together around a responsible solution that provides relief from the damaging effects of the president’s health care law, including policies to provide far greater choice in the marketplace so affordable plans that meet the actual needs of Tennesseans can openly and effectively compete for their business.”

Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe also issued a statement Thursday saying, “this historic decision is a victory for the 286,000 Virginians who will now keep affordable health care that is essential to economic success. It is also a clear sign that now is the time to drop cynical efforts to prevent families from accessing care that will make their lives better. With this issue decided, I hope we can now put partisan politics aside and help 400,000 Virginians get access to health care by bringing our taxpayer dollars home to close the coverage gap.”

Attorney General Mark Herring said Thursday that he was proud that the Supreme Court upheld the decision, as well as said that millions of Americans “dodged a bullet.”

“This lawsuit was a legal Hail Mary that was just playing games with the healthcare of nearly 300,000 vulnerable Virginians, nearly 9 million Americans, and the stability of the health insurance markets in at least 34 states,” Herring said. “In Virginia, the average annual assistance at stake was more than $3,000. That’s the difference between having healthcare and going without for hundreds of thousands of Virginia families. That’s life changing. The stakes were too high for us to sit this one out, so we fought and won at the 4th Circuit, and now we’ve fought and won at the Supreme Court.”

U.S. Senator Tim Kaine of Virginia said he supported the Supreme Court’s decision ruling in favor of the Affordable Care Act.

“I applaud the Supreme Court for its decision to uphold the important tax credits that millions of American – including nearly 300,000 in Virginia – rely on to access high quality, affordable health care,” Kaine said. “The decision is a direct rejection of the heartless effort led by health care law opponents to push families – many of whom have insurance coverage for the first time – back into the ranks of the vulnerable uninsured.”

Congressman Morgan Griffith also expressed his disappointment in SCOTUS’s ruling.

“I am disappointed by this ruling, and do not understand how the Supreme Court could have ruled this way based on the plain meaning of the English language used in the text of the Obamacare health care law,” Griffith said. “But this is not the first time, nor will it be the last, that I disagree with a ruling of this Supreme Court.”

U.S. Sen. Mark Warner’s statement echoed that of McAuliffe, saying that more than 300,000 Virginians will be able to keep their health care coverage.

“This is the second time the nation’s highest court has validated our country’s important shift toward affordable and accessible health care for everyone,” Warner said. “I consistently have said there are many ways we could improve the Affordable Care Act. I really hope today’s ruling allows us as a country to move beyond divisive attacks and come together to work to improve health care quality, access, and affordability.”

Tennessee House Democratic Leader Craig Fitzhugh said there are no more excuses for ignoring 300,000 working men and women who are waiting on health care.

“Regardless of your feelings about the Affordable Care Act, one of the most conservative courts in the history of this country has ruled – again – that it is the law of the land,” Fitzhugh said. “We have work to do. It is my hope that the Governor and our speakers will call legislators back to Nashville immediately to work on passing Insure Tennessee.”

A statement released Thursday by Democratic Party of Virginia Chairwoman Susan Swecker said, “Virginia Democrats are thrilled that Republicans failed in their effort to take away health care from nearly 300,000 Virginians. Unfortunately, another 400,000 Virginians are still uninsured because Republicans are standing in the way of Medicaid expansion. We hope today’s ruling causes Republicans to wake up and join Democrats in our fight for affordable health care for all Virginians.”

Tennessee Republican Party chairman Ryan Haynes also released the following statement, saying “ObamaCare was created, passed, and implemented on a party-line basis. Democrats essentially shoved this down the throats of Americans and it is disheartening to see the Court develop another avenue to keep this hurtful law alive,” Haynes said. “Individuals and businesses are struggling under this law. Republicans are going to continue offering solutions to actually drive health care costs down and make quality health care accessible once again – which is the exact opposite of what Americans have gotten under this flawed law.”

Mountain State Health Alliance president and CEO Alan Levine said lately the only consistent thing about healthcare is its inconsistency.  He considers a period of stability in the healthcare market to be the key benefit of today’s Supreme Court ruling.

“I think the debate over Obamacare is far from finished.  I think that we’re going into a presidential election cycle where I think it’s going to be front and center again.  But for the time being, I think it does bring some certainty to all the people that are in the exchange,” Levine said.

Wellmont Chief Financial Officer Alice Pope said the Affordable Care Act has heightened awareness about the services available to uninsured patients.

“If a person has health insurance it means that they will be able to take the steps needed to get preventive services, get annual health screenings and to keep themselves healthy so that they don’t have to come to one of our hospitals,” Pope said.

Copyright 2015 WJHL. All rights reserved.

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