Live Thread: SCOTUS Upholds Obamacare – PA Pols React

Today, the Supreme Court ruled on the controversial Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare. The court ruled in favor of the bill 5-4, also upholding the individual mandate clause  requiring every American to have health insurance. Here’s what PA politicos had to say.

Governor Tom Corbett (R):

“It appears that the Supreme Court agreed with the lawsuit brought by myself and 12 other Attorneys General finding Obamacare unconstitutional under the Commerce Clause of the Constitution, however they did uphold the law under Congress’ taxing authority,’’ Corbett said.

“Despite the President’s repeated assertions that this was not a tax, the Supreme Court today ruled that it is in fact a tax,’’ Corbett said. “Not only is it a tax, but it may turn out to be one of the largest tax increases in the history of our nation. It is a tax on our citizens that they cannot afford. It is a tax that hits our small businesses the hardest and will kill job growth.

“This law will raise healthcare costs for our families, our employers and our state,’’ Corbett said. “This is a burden to all of us who work every day to recover from the recession.

“While I am disappointed with this ruling, respect for the law and for the process of the law — even when we disagree — is part of our democracy. My administration will do all we can to ensure the negative impact of this law affects the lives of Pennsylvanians as little as possible,’’ Corbett said.

“I think we can all agree there are Pennsylvanians who need our help. However, expanding government bureaucracy, government programs and government spending is not the answer. As governor I will work to ensure Pennsylvanians have access to affordable and quality healthcare,’’ Corbett said.

“That is why now more than ever we need change in Washington,’’ Corbett said. “We need to elect lawmakers who will put the needs of our families first, leaders that respect our freedoms, respect free enterprise and respect competition.’’


Corbett, Take 2: From the Romney campaign:

“Today’s ruling by the Supreme Court to uphold President Obama’s healthcare law is disappointing.  If implemented, we will be saddled with a nearly $2 trillion entitlement.  The Supreme Court’s decision sets the stakes for the November election.  Now the only way to save the country from this massive government takeover of healthcare is to elect a new President and lawmakers in Washington, D.C.  We need a leader who understands that free markets and competition lead to better quality, greater access and lower costs for our healthcare.  We need a leader who understands that real healthcare reform shouldn’t be a burden to taxpayers or come at the cost of American jobs. That leader is Mitt Romney.”

Bob Casey, Democratic U.S. Senator

“The fact that this law was upheld means that Pennsylvanians will not lose their coverage due to preexisting conditions, young adults will be allowed coverage under a parent’s plan and older Americans will not have to face dramatic increases in prescription drug costs.  I will continue to work with other senators to make improvements to the legislation.  Further, there is no doubt that we still confront significant challenges to reducing the cost of healthcare and the only way to address these in the long-run is for Democrats and Republicans to work together.”

Pat Toomey, Republican U.S. Senator

“I am extremely disappointed. Today’s decision is a jarring blow to our 200-year-old tradition of constitutionally limited government and personal liberty. The Supreme Court’s decision doesn’t change the fact that President Obama’s health care law is a terrible policy that will impose new taxes, increase the cost of health care and cost our country jobs. It is now up to Congress to repeal Obamacare and enact common-sense reforms that will expand access to affordable, quality health care.”

Tom Smith, Republican for U.S. Senate:

“Today’s unfortunate decision strengthens our resolve to defeat Senator Casey and President Obama in order to repeal and replace a disastrous law that has ballooned the debt, increased the cost of insurance and eroded freedoms,” said Smith. “Healthcare decisions should be made by doctors, patients and their families, not by government bureaucrats. In the Senate, I will fight to see ObamaCare repealed and replaced with commonsense free market reforms that reduce cost, increase access, and promote the quality and innovation that has made our healthcare system the envy of the world.”

David Freed, Cumberland County District Attorney and Republican Candidate for Attorney General:

“While today’s verdict is deeply disappointing, as a litigator who has spent my career in court, I have dealt with disappointing verdicts. While we must always respect the rule of law, as Americans we have the inalienable right to disagree. This massive, overreaching government takeover upends our personal liberties and put simply, is a massive new tax.  Obamacare will have devastating effects on Pennsylvania families, businesses and workers who already struggle to afford health care coverage.”

Jim Burn, Pennsylvania Democratic Party Chairman

“Today’s decision affirms the progress the American people have made toward a stronger health care system that protects middle-class families,” said Burn. “Meanwhile, Mitt Romney and his fellow Republicans have no alternative and no plan. Led by Tea Partiers, Mitt Romney and his fellow Republicans have wrongly attacked health reform, pledging to send our country backwards. It is now time to move forward, implement the law and work together to create jobs in Pennsylvania and throughout the country.”

PAGOP Chair Rob Gleason:

“While we are extremely disappointed in today’s ruling, the Supreme Court decision sets the stakes for the November election.  The only way to save the country from ObamaCare’s budget-busting government takeover of health care is to elect a new President,” Chairman Gleason said.

John Featherman (R-Philadelphia, Candidate for 1st CD):

“If it smells like something, looks like something, and tastes like something … well, it is that thing. And what this “thing” represents is the largest potential tax increase on the middle class we’ve ever seen. For the first time, Obama has to acknowledge it’s a tax. The very people that supported him last time will be the recipients of this tax if they don’t buy healthcare coverage. Gotta love it. The middle class is ripe for the pickin’ and will be the Tea Party’s new best friend.”

Chaka Fattah (D-Philadelphia PA-2):

“Pennsylvanians and all Americans are the winners today. Thirty million uninsured Americans are now assured of healthcare coverage for the first time. The major investment in community health centers – a lifeline for so many — goes forward. Young adults now are assured of continued coverage by their parents’ health insurance, those with pre-existing conditions can breathe a sigh of relief, women are now guaranteed access to reproductive health services, and children with a various health challenges don’t need to worry about coverage.”

U.S. Representative Mike Kelly (R-Butler, PA-03):

“When I came into office, one of my first votes was to repeal the president’s health care law because I believe Americans should have the freedom to make their own health care decisions. The president’s health care law takes away that freedom, forcing millions of Americans onto government-provided, European-style health care. As disappointed as I am in today’s ruling, I am confident that the American people, who want this law repealed, will continue to voice their opposition.”

Missa Eaton (D-Mercer Candidate for 3rd CD):

“No matter which side of the health care debate you were on, the Supreme Court of the United States has today shown us the importance of bi-partisan cooperation by upholding the Affordable Care Act. The best aspects of America were on display today as a conservative chief justice, appointed by a Republican president, joined with moderate members of the Supreme Court to uphold the Affordable Care Act. Congressman Mike Kelly, and others who opposed the ACA, should now accept the ruling and join with Democrats, Moderates and Independents to adopt new federal policies that create jobs for Pennsylvania.”

Scott Perry (R-York, Candidate for 4th CD):

“The Supreme Court ruling today focused on the technical nature not the substance of the Obamacare law. The decision by the court does not change the fact that the vast majority of the 4th Congressional District believes Obamacare is bad public policy. If elected, I will do everything in my power to ensure that Congress repeals the Obamacare law and I will help craft legislation that replaces it with common-sense reforms that do not cripple job creators, protects seniors on Medicare and keeps healthcare decisions between patients and their providers.”

Harry Perkinson (D-York, Candidate for 4th CD):

“Today’s decision by the Supreme Court to uphold the healthcare Affordable Care Act is a victory for all citizens of our country – including the 30 million U.S. citizens who do not have health insurance and the other 277 million of us who have essentially been paying for their healthcare. The court has confirmed that insurance companies cannot refuse coverage for preexisting conditions, drop coverage if you become ill, or limit the benefits regardless of how sick you might be. The court also continued to allow our young people to be covered on their parent’s plans. If you are insured, you will see your benefits increase and your costs go down. You also do not have to be afraid that you will not be able to get insurance if you change or lose your job.”

Mike Koffenberger (Libertarian, Candidate for 4th CD)

“It is my opinion that this will be yet another huge bureaucracy (larger than Social Security) that will be underfunded and be impossible to pay for. The best thing that could happen immediately, is for the states to nullify the law and refuse to open the state health care exchanges…Progress can be made on the issues that matter most: no denial of coverage for pre-existing conditions and lower costs. These can be done through true free market reforms.”

U.S. Representative Glenn Thompson (R-Centre, PA-05)

“Regardless of the court’s ruling on the constitutionality of the President’s so-called Affordable Care Act, the law remains just as fundamentally flawed and unaffordable as the day it was signed into law,” said Thompson. “Unfortunately, this decision further empowers the Administration to move forward with contentious provisions that will limit patient choice, cut programs that benefit senior populations, and place an additional tax burden upon small businesses, state governments and the American taxpayer.”  

Jim Gerlach (R-Chester, PA-6):

“Frankly, this is an extremely disappointing ruling. But the Supreme Court clearly did not rule that ObamaCare is a good law, just that it doesn’t violate the Constitution. Now it’s up to Congress to affirmatively go out and fix it. To do that, we’ll start by voting to repeal the law and then replace it with common-sense, market-based, patient-centered reforms that will work better to make health insurance more affordable and accessible, and relieve our job creators and taxpayers of excessive taxes and big-government regulations.”

Dr. Manan Trivedi (D-Berks, Candidate for 6th CD):

“Today the Supreme Court made a decision that will significantly impact the health and care of all Americans. As a nation, we recognize the importance of all citizens having access to basic healthcare, the assurance that children with pre-existing conditions will not be denied coverage and the promise that young adults can remain on their families’ health insurance policy as they becoming productive citizens in their communities and the workforce.”

Patrick Meehan (R-Delaware, PA-7):

“With health care costs skyrocketing for families and small businesses, the health care law missed a critical opportunity to reduce the cost of care for all Americans. In fact, the President’s own actuaries said the law would increase, not decrease, national health care costs by $311 billion,” he said. “The Court’s ruling does not change these facts, and I remain committed to working with Democrats and Republicans to enact real reforms to make health care more affordable for everyone without harming our economy.”

George Badey (D-Delaware Candidate for the 7th CD)

“The Supreme Court’s decision today to uphold the Affordable Care Act is truly a win for the American people, but it is just the beginning. We still need to do more to combat rising health care costs without sacrificing quality of care. We now face the challenge of putting this legislation into action. When elected, I will reach across the aisle to enact necessary improvements to the law that will benefit all Americans. Today belongs to the millions of Americans with pre-existing conditions, who will no longer be refused or dropped from coverage, and to the millions of young people, women and seniors who can take comfort in knowing they are covered and will not be charged higher premiums due to age or gender.”

Mike Fitzpatrick (R-Bucks, PA-8):

Please take my survey and share your thoughts on this historic ruling and how best to tackle health care reform: www.fitzpatrick.house.gov/healthcare.

This is the most historic decision by our nation’s highest court in over a generation. The ruling lays the groundwork for the Federal Government to seize even more power over our lives. This is a dramatic expansion of Congressional and government authority.

Update: full Fitzpatrick statement:

“Today’s Supreme Court decision regarding the Affordable Care Act enabled one of the largest tax increases for middle income families in American history.  Our nation simply cannot afford this government-mandate crafted by the misguided policies of Nancy Pelosi and the Democrats,” he said. “I was sent to Congress to put our country back on the right track.  It is important that we use today’s decision as an opportunity to bring people together to find real, practical and affordable solutions to make healthcare more accessible for all families in America.  It is imperative that we fix our healthcare system so that the popular provisions of the Affordable Care Act are kept while the widely unpopular provisions which will hurt our economy are repealed.”

Tom Marino (R-Lycoming, PA-10):

“Constitutional or not, there is no doubt this misguided law and the time wasted will be a stain on Barack Obama’s presidency. Once Obamacare is repealed fully, we can initiate a fact-based national conversation about finding a better approach that will lower health care costs, increase access to quality care, and empower patients and doctors to make decisions about care; not insurance companies or bureaucrats.”

Phil Scollo (D-Pike, Candidate for CD-10):

“I didn’t support the individual mandate when it was a Republican idea in the 1990s and don’t support it as a Democratic idea either. It’s bad policy.”

“But Washington Republicans like U.S. Reps. Paul Ryan and Tom Marino are even worse on healthcare. They are trying to end the Medicare guarantee that millions of Pennsylvania seniors and working families depend on. Finding such a solution on healthcare will not be easy, but I believe we can and we must bring a serious bipartisan healthcare reform bill to the floors of Congress as soon as possible. That’s why I would wholeheartedly support a Simpson-Bowles-style commission to work on finding a better way forward.”

Lou Barletta (R-Luzerne, PA-11):

“Today’s decision is a victory for big government and a defeat for individual freedom. Since I was sworn in, I voted to repeal President Obama’s healthcare law 30 times. I will continue to do what my constituents have asked me to do – repeal and replace Obamacare. By an overwhelming majority, the American people do not want Obamacare, and I still strongly believe we need to repeal it.”

Gene Stilp (D-Dapuhin, Candidate for CD-11):

“The Supreme Court made a smart decision today that will make sure that the people of the 11th District will be covered in case of catastrophe and if they have pre-existing health conditions. It is unfortunate that the Republican Congress has already scheduled a vote to repeal the Affordable Care Act on the week of July 9th. This law has now been approved by every branch of government and is settled law. Instead of revisiting this issue, Congress should move on to act on vital concerns like rebuilding our economy, creating jobs, preserving Social Security and making sure that the government spends its money wisely.”

Mark Critz (D-Cambria PA-12):

“I opposed the healthcare bill when it passed, but it would be wrong and irresponsible for Congress to go backwards and allow insurance companies to deny coverage to those with pre-existing conditions, to kick young adults off their parents’ health insurance plans, or to re-open the ‘doughnut hole’ which will force seniors to pay more for medicine. The Supreme Court has given us guidance, and it is our responsibility to work together in a bipartisan fashion going forward.”

Jason Altmire (D-Allegheny, PA-12):

“I agree with today’s ruling. Although I voted against the 2010 health care reform bill, I never believed, nor did I ever argue, that it would be found unconstitutional. I voted against the bill because my constituents were overwhelmingly against it, and because I believed that bill was flawed policy. Two years later, I still believe that the law does not adequately strike the balance between expanding coverage, improving quality, and lowering costs. Now that the Court has ruled, it is my hope that we can once and for all put the acrimonious political debate behind us and do what we should have been doing all along — working together in a bipartisan fashion to improve upon the law and bring down health care cost for American families, businesses, and the government.”

Keith Rothfus (R-Allegheny, Candidate for 12th CD):

“I am thoroughly disappointed in the Supreme Court’s decision to uphold this unconstitutional and unprecedented power grab by the Obama Administration, a power grab that Congressman Mark Critz has supported 20 times with votes to protect the bill.  While the Supreme Court’s decision that the mandate penalty is a tax is disappointing, it is especially disappointing that Congressman Critz supported this massive tax increase on the American people.”

National Republican Congressional Committee:

“After today’s Supreme Court decision, the only way to repeal Mark Critz’s government takeover of healthcare is to fire the Democrats who created it. Critz’s government takeover of healthcare remains a massive roadblock to Pennsylvania families taking control of their healthcare and to small businesses trying to create jobs. Thanks to Critz, spiking premiums, $500 billion in Medicare cuts and the anti-growth environment of ObamaCare are still the law of the land – voters in Pennsylvania cannot afford to bring him back.”

Allyson Y. Schwartz (D-Montgomery, PA-13):

“Today’s Supreme Court decision is a win for the American people. After a half-century journey, there is finally a uniquely American solution to affordable, quality health coverage for all Americans.  This victory reaffirms that the Affordable Care Act was the right thing to do for American families.”

Mike Doyle (D-Allegheny, PA-14)

“Today, the Supreme Court upheld the Affordable Care Act.  This is a very welcome development. This is a good day for the 30 million Americans who don’t have health insurance, the millions of young people who can now stay on their parents’ insurance until they’re 26, the millions of Americans with pre-existing conditions, the seniors who would have fallen into Medicare Prescription drug donut hole, and the families who would have been bankrupted by health care costs if this law had been struck down.”

Joe Pitts (R-Chester, PA-16):

“While I am deeply disappointed that the law was upheld, I continue to believe that it is bad policy. Just because the Supreme Court declares something Constitutional does not mean that it is a good idea. The health care law is not the reform Americans need or deserve.”

Aryanna Strader (D-Chester, Candidate for 16th CD):

“As a mom, I am pleased to know that children with pre-existing conditions will now not run the risk of being denied coverage by the insurance industry. In addition to that, I am comforted in that we won’t again see the day where women experience the economic injustice of paying up to 150 percent more than men for an insurance policy and will have the freedom to choose their own doctors. Those who remain ardently opposed to those basic rights must continue to accept that they believe the profits of the insurance industry are more important than the equality of every American’s health.”

John Murphy (Third Party-Chester, Candidate for 16th CD)

“It’s patently unconstitutional to force Americans to buy a private service, especially one that is defective. With O’Romneycare (Obamacare is the same plan Romney introduced in Massachusetts, only Obama gave a few more billion dollars of taxpayer money to Big Pharma) people still won’t be able to afford to get health care…The simplest way to address our health care crisis is through Medicare for all.”

Matt Cartwright (D-Lackawanna, Candidate for 17th CD):

“I applaud the United States Supreme Court for ruling to leave the Affordable Care Act (ACA) intact. Their decision will ensure that all Americans have access to affordable health care. In Pennsylvania alone, ACA has provided health care coverage to 91,000 young people under the age of 26 under their parents’ plan.  Further, President Obama’s health care legislation has also helped cut costs on medications as 235,820 seniors saved $645 on their prescription drugs in 2011.”

Laureen Cummings, (R-Lackawanna, Candidate for 17th CD):

“Today, the American people and the Tea Party can claim a victory with the Supreme Court’s narrowing of the powers of the commerce clause and calling out Obamacare for what it really is: yet another tax.”

“In recognizing the individual mandate as a tax, the Supreme Court has clarified to the American people that the Obama Administration has no problem in further punishing Americans with yet another massive tax burden, even in the midst of what President Obama claims to be the biggest economic crisis since the Great Depression.”

Tim Murphy (R-Allegheny, PA-18):

“Now that the Supreme Court has ruled on the constitutionality of President Obama’s new healthcare tax, Congress must get to work on fully repealing this bill and undoing the new tax before it goes into full effect. The bill that was rushed through Congress and signed into law was unpopular, unworkable and unsustainable. It was not designed to deliver the kind of healthcare reforms Americans want and need. Simply put, a healthcare tax is not healthcare reform.”

Democratic Congressional Campaign Comittee (released on 7 PA Reps):

“Washington politicians like Congressman [Representative] are trying to score partisan political points and protect insurance companies instead of protecting the middle class and seniors,” said Jesse Ferguson of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. “Rather than working to create jobs by strengthening the middle class, Congressman [Representative] wants to put insurance companies back in charge of health care: taking away critical patient protections, denying coverage to people with pre-existing conditions like asthma, heart disease, or cancer and raising prescription drug costs for seniors. This is just the latest proof that Congressman [Representative] priority is scoring political points and protecting insurance company campaign contributors, not securing health care coverage and strengthening middle class families.”

Released on the following members of House:
Charlie Dent (R-Lehigh PA-15)
Lou Barletta (R-Luzerne PA-11)
Mike Fitzpatrick (R-Bucks PA-8)
Jim Gerlach (R-Chester PA-6)
Mike Kelly (R-Butler PA-3)
Pat Meehan (R-Delaware PA-7)
Tim Murphy (R-Allegheny PA-18)

State Legislators:

Shirley Kitchen (D-Philadelphia, SD-3):

“The health care debate highlighted the overall need for access to adequate healthcare, so this ruling is a monumental day for Pennsylvanians and all Americans. The Supreme Court’s decision to uphold the president’s health care law will have a dramatic impact, especially for those who can’t afford or have been denied health coverage. Now we must take the steps to make sure we are in compliance with the law. Millions of Pennsylvanians are depending on it.”

Mike Stack (D-Philadelphia SD-5):

“Healthy Pennsylvanians are productive, successful Pennsylvanians, and the law provides health protections as well as peace of mind. While the Supreme Court ruling is good news, it’s just the beginning of a long road ahead to examine its impact on Pennsylvania and to ensure that the health care law works here. I look forward to being a part of the process that helps implement the laws in the commonwealth.”

Daylin Leach (D-Montgomery SD-17)

“Finally, we can put to rest misguided notion that the Constitution stands with the extreme right wing, which believes that government has no legitimate role in helping ordinary citizens. From this day forward, we can begin the hard work of implementing the Affordable Care Act and ensuring that everyone – young or old, rich or poor, sick or well – gets the health care they need. I look forward to working with Governor Corbett to implement the health care exchange required by the ACA. It’s a new day for Pennsylvania, and a new day for America.”

Jay Costa (D-Allegheny SD-43):

“The Supreme Court made the correct decision. The reform provides access to health care for millions of Pennsylvanians, from college students, to those with pre-existing conditions, seniors who have high prescription costs and others. The reforms provide life-saving access to health care for all Americans.”

Frank Dermody (D-Allegheny HD-33)

“This is a great victory for Americans that will lead to better health care for all. The ruling provides certainty going forward for patients, small businesses, doctors and the health-care providers that are some of Pennsylvania’s largest employers. Clearly Pennsylvania now needs to move forward with implementing parts of the act that fall to the states, including establishing and funding the health insurance exchange so that consumers can get the information they need to make informed decisions.”

June 28th, 2012 | Posted in Congress, Features, Front Page Stories, Senate, Top Stories, Video | 20 Comments

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  10. Robert Weinand says:

    Where is Joe Wilson when you need him. Where are the Pennsylvania Republicans joining together to amplify Joe Wilson’s ever so true comment on the House Floor? November is ever so close and time is precious – S P E A K U P PA GOP (loud and clear!)

  11. the Rocks says:

    I disagree that the Constitution ever intended for our government to be able to levy taxes on individuals simply for existing and breathing the air in this country. However, I understand the high court’s need to rule that way.

    Although the Federal Government may have the power to do so, Americans never would have allowed a breathing tax to exist if they didn’t have to “pass [Obamacare] to find out what’s in it.”

  12. Alexander says:

    Where is Fitzpatrick? He’s waiting to see if his consituents support it first. Doesn’t have the backbone to make a decision and stick with it. EMBARASSMENT

  13. Steelblitz1 says:

    Let’s tea party rally for an end to government subsidy of big oil next.

  14. Dane Thomas says:

    I really like Scollo and he is in a conservative district, so I understand. I also think individual mandates are pretty expensive for people who have no money.
    Anyway, he’s a good dem!

  15. imissbillclinton says:

    How nice you allowed Mark Critz to ammend his statement.

  16. Mike Koffenberger (L-York, Candidate 4th District):
    So the Supreme Court of the United States voted to uphold the Affordable Care Act/ObamaCare because it is a tax and Americans cannot refuse to pay a tax. It is my opinion that this will be yet another huge bureaucracy (larger than Social Security) that will be underfunded and be impossible to pay for.

    Local reaction has been mostly by political tribe. The Democrats have been in unison behind the decision and the Republicans against. The Rs and Ds are good at playing politics like a team sport and we all suffer the result as more losses to our freedoms. Do not forget that under President George W. Bush and a Republican majority in Congress, a huge prescription drug expansion was passed. If President Obama was the one pushing for this, would the Republicans have passed it then? It is all a facade to play for your vote. These huge bills do nothing but expand government power and take more money out of our pockets.

    The best thing that could happen immediately, is for the states to nullify the law and refuse to open the state healthcare exchanges. If elected, I would submit legislation for a full repeal of the current law. It is too dangerous and expensive. Progress can be made on the issues that matter most: no denial of coverage for pre-existing conditions and lower costs. These CAN be done through true free market reforms.

  17. Steelblitz1 says:

    The tea party embraces the constitution. The Supreme Court, in large part obviously because of John Roberts upheld the law. What will the teabaggers spin on this be?

  18. Jaret says:

    Wow Phil Scollo is an idiot. That statement was ridiculous.

  19. the Rocks says:

    Obama’s tax on breathing for those making less than $250,000 (disproportionately so) is official.

  20. hey lou says:

    Where is Lou Barletta on this????

Comments are closed.