Reaction to the U.S. Supreme Court ruling upholding the Affordable Care Act continues to roll in from Washington, D.C., Seattle and Olympia. Rounds of applause mix with worries about the mandate as a euphemism for a new tax.
Here is a sample of the many comments we received:
Washington Democratic Sen. Patty Murray, obviously thrilled with the decision, said:
“This is a victory for the health care security and stability of Washington families. Today’s ruling means that families and small business owners will continue to benefit from better access, more choices, and a health care system that no longer works only for those who can afford it. It means that health care decisions will be in the hands of patients and their doctors, and that insurance companies will be forced to compete for the business of Washington state families.
It is also welcome news for all those across our state who are already benefiting from this law. It means that over 62,000 young adults in Washington will be allowed to keep their health coverage, that tens of thousands of Washington seniors will continue to receive checks for Medicare support, that hundreds of thousands of patients will continue to access free preventative services like mammograms and colonoscopies, and that millions of policy holders will continue to see the value of their premium dollar improve.”
U.S. Rep. Dave Reichert, R-Auburn, issued as more muted response:
“While I respect today’s Supreme Court ruling, it is only one more point in the ongoing debate. I remain undeterred in improving health care for all Americans. The government takeover of health care raised taxes and health care costs, restricted access for patients and hurt businesses. Those problems remain and I look forward to working with my colleagues in the House to continue repealing harmful and expensive provisions of the law and finding common-sense, reasonable solutions for Americans to have access to affordable and quality health care.”
Washington State Republican Party Chairman Kirby Wilbur said a tax is a tax is a tax:
“This morning’s verdict by the Supreme Court finally defines this legislation as exactly what it is: a tax on the middle class. When President Obama was trying to sell his ill-conceived legislation he ‘rejected the notion’ that it was a tax; today the Supreme Court told him that he could not deceive the American public with his rhetoric any longer.
I think it is important to highlight the distinction made by Justice Roberts in his final determination. He declared that this mandate was not constitutional under the interstate commerce clause or the necessary and proper clause. It was only deemed constitutional as a tax – the very word the President has rejected repeatedly in his pitch to the public. But spinning the story won’t change the facts, Mr. President. Today’s decision sets the new precedent of a federal tax to compel behavior. It is an ominous one, and serves as a very slippery slope for our country.”
Gov. Chris Gregoire was predictably upbeat:
“I applaud today’s Supreme Court decision. Since the Affordable Care Act was signed by the President, we have worked tirelessly to implement it in our state, with my firm belief that it was constitutional and would ultimately withstand legal challenge. I’m extremely pleased that the majority of the Court agreed on the merits of the law highlighted in the briefs that I and others submitted on its behalf.
The real winners today, however, are the millions of Americans and Washingtonians who have and will now continue to benefit from this Act. Among them are more than 50,000 young adults in our state who have gained insurance coverage through their parents’ plan, our more than 60,000 seniors who’ve annually received assistance to purchase needed prescription drugs, and the millions here that are no longer subject to unfair practices by insurance companies. And with this cloud of legal uncertainty removed, I look forward to the day not long from now when more than 800,000 people in our state will be able to use our Health Benefit Exchange to get the health insurance that they need but currently must go without.”