Area legislators, state officials issue statements on Supreme Court decision on health care law

Thursday, June 28, 2012 ~ Updated 7:39 PM

After the Supreme Court upheld most of President Barack Obama's Affordable Care Act on Thursday, area legislators on the federal and state level quickly issued statements on the ruling.

Some of those statements follow here. Look for updates later in the day.

State Rep. Wayne Wallingford, R-Cape Girardeau

"This law is an example of liberalism gone too far. Obamacare shows that there is a clear difference between liberals and conservatives and how we view the role government should have in our lives, and I am very disappointed that the Supreme Court has upheld this law as a constitutional use of the government's power," said Wallingford. "I have worked for major employers for nearly twenty years, and I know that a healthy population is very important to our economy. I understand that we want effective, affordable healthcare to be available for our workforce. However, this approach -- to use big government to mandate the purchase of health insurance -- is the wrong way. Instead of taking a one-size-fits-all approach to increasing the number of people covered by insurance, we need to take the lead as states and come up with innovative, small-government solutions that will drive down the price of healthcare and enable more people to obtain health insurance without individual mandates, onerous taxes, or excessive regulations."

U.S. Rep. Jo Ann Emerson, R-Cape Girardeau

Taken from an emailed news release.

"I voted against this law three years ago, and I have voted to repeal it a half-dozen times since then. It represents a sweeping expansion of government power, an invasion into the personal freedoms of private citizens, a $500 billion cut to Medicare and a trillion-dollar tax on the American people," Emerson said. "The Supreme Court has determined that the individual mandate is not permissible under the Commerce Clause, but can remain standing because of the power of Congress to tax. This is a law Congress made and a law Congress can repeal. If the Court agrees that the Congress has the power to tax, then we must cut this tax."

Already, the Affordable Care Act has spawned 6,000 pages of regulations, just a fraction of the size of the total number of rules and reports the law requires over ten years.

"I support a fresh start on reform to do the things this law cannot -- like lower costs for patients, expand private coverage, and bring more competition to the marketplace. As a nation, we have higher per capita costs for health care than nearly every country in the world, but our health outcomes are average. There is room for commonsense in this argument, but we cannot use the ACA as the foundation for any future reform. This law, in total, just doesn't work," Emerson said.

Emerson says the next steps for Congress are clear. "We've got to finish the job. Complete repeal of the Affordable Care Act, restore $500 billion in funding for Medicare, and lift this burden from the shoulders of taxpayers and small businesses."

U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt, R-MO

"The three questions about the President's health care plan that have needed to be answered from day one are: Is it constitutional, is it a good idea, and can we afford it? The Court, in a 5-4 decision, answered the first question. The American people now will decide if the President's health care takeover is the right thing to do and whether we can afford it.

"In 2010, Missourians overwhelmingly rejected the individual mandate and sent a clear signal to Washington that Americans oppose ObamaCare. Elections matter, and this decision underscores the fact that we need new leadership in the White House and the Senate.

"This decision does not change the fact that ObamaCare will lead to higher health care premiums, increased federal spending, and greater uncertainty for small business owners nationwide. That's why Congress must repeal this deeply flawed law in its entirety and replace it with thoughtful, common-sense reforms that put patients and doctors in control of health care -- not Washington bureaucrats.

Gov. Jay Nixon, D-MO

"We're just now beginning to review this ruling so that we can understand exactly what it means for Missouri. This ruling has significant complexities and implications for families, health care providers and insurers in our state. Here in Missouri, I'm committed to working collaboratively with citizens, businesses, medical providers and the legislature to move forward in a way that works best for families in our state."

Attorney General Chris Koster, D-MO

"Missouri's brief before the Supreme Court argued a simple, but important, principle: the individual mandate was not constitutional under the Commerce Clause, but could conceivably be upheld, if the Court saw fit, under the taxing power," Koster said. "A majority of justices agreed with Missouri's analysis that the Commerce Clause could not be used to force citizens to purchase health insurance, but found that the ACA was constitutional under Congress' taxing power.

"The complexity of the decision raises a host of pressing issues for our state, including the need to establish our own health care exchange, and Missouri's future options regarding Medicaid expansion," Koster said. "We will be carefully reviewing the Court's decision in the coming days to determine the best way to protect Missourians, including the decision's impact on Proposition C, passed in 2010 by more than 70 percent of the vote."

Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder, R-MO

"I have just begun to fight for Missouri families. I will not relent in my efforts to repeal this unconscionable tax on Missourians and all Americans.

"Today the nation's highest court recognized that President Obama and his fellow Democrats attempted to justify the individual mandate with a bogus argument. The Supreme Court acknowledged the mandate for what it is -- a huge job-killing tax burden imposed on the American people and particularly the struggling middle class. Missourians spoke loud and clear on this issue in 2010 and I will continue to stand with the people of Missouri.

"President Obama emphatically and repeatedly denied that this law was a tax, yet this is the only basis on which the Court is upholding the law. This is a tax imposed on every citizen just for existing, and it hits the low-income and middle class the worst. Today's 5-4 decision now essentially gives Congress unlimited and unreviewable taxing power.

"The Court's ruling that Obamacare's Medicaid expansion provision violates the Constitution is a victory for Missourians. However, the portion of the decision striking down the state Medicaid mandates did NOT eliminate Obamacare's additional 3.8% Medicaid tax. This is yet another reason we must work to repeal this horrendous and unprecedented law.

"Today's decision underscores the dire importance of pending lawsuits such as my own, the November election and the need for full repeal of this monstrous job-killing tax on Americans."

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