WASHINGTON DC (WAVY) — With the announcement that the Supreme Court has upheld President Obamaâ€™s healthcare law, several local and state officials are reacting.
Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli made the following statement, expressing his disappointment in the decision:
â€śThis is a dark day for the American people, the Constitution, and the rule of law. This is a dark day for American liberty.
This decision goes against the very principle that America has a federal government of limited powers; a principle that the Founding Fathers clearly wrote into the Constitution, the supreme law of the land. The Constitution was meant to restrict the power of government precisely for the purpose of protecting your liberty and mine from the overreaching hand of the federal government.
This unprecedented decision says that Congress has the authority to force citizens to buy private goods or face fines - a power it has never had in American history, and a power King George III and Parliament didn't have over us when we were mere subjects of Great Britain. Since the federal government itself could never articulate to the court a constitutional limit to this power, Congress has gained an unlimited power to force citizens to buy anything.
I am disappointed with the court's ruling and with the unprecedented attack on American liberty the president and the previous Congress have created with this law.â€ť
Soon after, Senate candidate and former Virginia governor George Allen released the following statement, also expressing his disappointment:
â€śWhile disappointed in the Supreme Court's decision on President Obama's health care law, I believe it reinforces what is truly at stake during this pivotal election. This November the American people have an opportunity to choose new leadership in Washington who will listen to their voices and repeal this costly, harmful government health care law.My opponent believes this health care law is a 'great achievement,' but I believe it's an infringement on individual liberty and free enterprise. As I have traveled throughout Virginia, I have heard from families, small business owners and seniors seriously concerned about the harmful impact of this health care law and how it is increasing costs, discouraging businesses from hiring, and trespassing on religious freedom.I want to be the deciding vote to repeal this health care law. Virginians and Americans would be better served by reforms that deliver on the promise of reducing costs, increasing access to quality care, and put people - not government - in control of their health care. We need health care reforms that provide Americans with affordable, portable, and personal market-based health care solutions including Health Savings Accounts. I also support allowing small businesses to join together across State lines in larger risk pools for lower insurance costs and more competition and greater choice. And the States should be allowed the flexibility to manage Medicaid more smartly and efficiently.Virginia has proven that historic reforms can be achieved if leaders are willing to work together. As Governor, I worked with a Democrat-controlled legislature to pass major reforms including welfare reform, abolition of parole and Standards of Learning - now Washington needs the leadership and political will to achieve real health care reform.â€ť
Covernor Bob McDonnell also expressed his disappointment on the matter, stating Virginia will evaluate the steps necessary to comply with the law:
â€śTodayâ€™s Supreme Court ruling is extremely disappointing for Virginia and for America. The PPACA will create a costly and cumbersome system that will impair our countryâ€™s ability to recover from these challenging economic times, infringes on our citizenâ€™s liberties, will harm small businesses, and will impose dramatic unfunded mandates on Virginia and all states. Simply put, this is a blow to freedom. America needs market-based solutions that give patients more choice, not less.Virginia will evaluate the steps necessary to comply with the law. While we have awaited this decision, planners have been working to identify necessary resources and issues to be addressed to ensure Virginia implements this flawed law in the most effective and least costly and burdensome way possible. In coming months, Virginiaâ€™s healthcare leaders will work to develop the best possible system to meet the healthcare needs of our citizens. It remains my hope that we will elect a new President and Senate so that the existing law will be repealed and states will be given the freedom they need to implement healthcare solutions that work best for their citizens. We will evaluate the opinion in detail in the days ahead and determine what policies are proper for the people of Virginia.â€ť
Senate candidate and former governor of Virginia Tim Kaine is the only official who has released a statement in support of the Supreme Court and its decision at this time:
"The Affordable Care Act is an important first step in curbing discriminatory insurance company practices and increasing access to health care, but more needs to be done to bring down costs. Our government, businesses, and citizens cannot continue to spend more than any other nation on health care while getting second-rate results. As Senator, I am committed to working with all stakeholders to find additional improvements to the Affordable Care Act that give all Americans affordable access to high quality services.
While there is more work to do, it is worth noting what has already been accomplished under the Affordable Care Act. Nearly 63,000 more young people in Virginia have health coverage, more than 800,000 Virginia seniors have received free preventive care, millions of small businesses are now eligible for tax credits, and twenty million American women have access to cancer screenings and contraception without co-pays. And we've put an end to the egregious abuses by insurance companies that denied coverage to children with preexisting conditions, charged women higher premiums for the same coverage, and dropped folks when they got sick.
My opponent regularly calls for a full repeal of this law, despite the positive results itâ€™s already delivering for Virginia. In the decade encompassing George Allenâ€™s six years as a U.S. Senator, the average insurance premium for families more than doubled and over 12 million more Americans were uninsured. Clearly, inaction was not a solution, and neither are continued calls for repeal. Instead we must work together to strengthen this existing program and improve cost controls."
Congressman Eric Cantor issued the following statement, mentioning the House will repeal ObamaCare during the week of July 9.
"The Supreme Courtâ€™s decision to uphold ObamaCare is a crushing blow to patients throughout the country. ObamaCare has failed to keep the Presidentâ€™s basic promise of allowing those who like their health care to keep it, while increasing costs and reducing access to quality care for patients. In this tough economy, jobs and economic growth are on the minds of most Americans, but ObamaCare has increased uncertainty for small businessmen and women and forced them to put their hiring decisions on hold.
â€śDuring the week of July 9th, the House will once again repeal ObamaCare, clearing the way for patient-centered reforms that lower costs and increase choice. We support an approach that offers simpler, more affordable and more accessible health care that allows people to keep the health care that they like.
â€śThe Courtâ€™s decision brings into focus the choice the American people have about the direction of our country. The President and his party believe in massive government intrusions that increase costs and take decisions away from patients. In contrast, Republicans believe in patient-centered, affordable care where health care decisions are made by patients, their families and their doctors, not by the federal government."
Sentara Healthcare CEO David L. Bernd released the following statement:
"We are witnessing history with the U.S. Supreme Court making this monumental ruling today on the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA).The law as it currently exists will continue to be fully implemented in the next couple of years. The law was upheld in a 5-4 vote with the deciding vote cast by Chief Justice Roberts. The individual mandate requiring all Americans who can afford it to purchase health insurance is viewed by the Supreme Court as a tax, falling under the provisions of the tax code.Starting in 2014, health care coverage may be possible for 32 million Americans without health insurance today including nearly 880,000 Virginians.Itâ€™s difficult to predict the far reaching results of todayâ€™s ruling. But what the U.S. Supreme Court decision doesnâ€™t change is our strategic direction. Sentara is well positioned for the ripples of this decision because of our vision and strength as an integrated system.With changes coming with how payments are made to providers, having Optima Health puts us at an incredible advantage. This team gives us in-house skills, software, and know-how to better predict and manage health needs of large groups efficiently.The Supreme Court Decision also doesnâ€™t change that we will continue following the imperatives set forth in our Strategic Plan: To be in the Top 10% for quality, patient safety and customer service, To Transform Care, and To Pursue Growth.Growth is still an imperative giving us scale to afford the infrastructure demands weâ€™ve envisioned to improve care and patient experiences. Regardless of the decision, progressive systems like Sentara continue to be focused on providing the Institute of Medicineâ€™s Triple Aim of Careâ€”
Better Health ,
Better Care (including patient experience, quality and access), and at
Lower Costs. Achieving our strategic imperatives will help provide better health, better care at improved costs for our patients now and in the future.As an integrated system, weâ€™re on a path to meet steeper challenges now facing all providers like aging baby boomers, increased health care providers retiring, advent of costly technology, and calls for more coordinated care with payment based on health outcomes rather than number of procedures performed.Our strategic vision is now bearing fruit. Because of work already underway, weâ€™re ready for what is coming. From primary care offices and urgent care centers to inpatient hospital stays and long-term care, teams are improving how care is delivered. Using a component of smart room technology, we are starting to schedule inpatient procedures taking more than 30 minutes to improve customer service and efficiencies. We are tackling chronic disease management and having incredible success keeping cardiac patients from being readmitted unnecessarily. We are improving hospital care through clinical effectiveness councils, and multidisciplinary teams are improving end of life care across numerous care settings through Advance Care Planning efforts.Before electronic medical records were a national priority, we launched the Sentara eCare Network to improve quality and communications across all care settings and that system continues to stimulate countless new ways of improving care and quality.I donâ€™t know about you, but I couldnâ€™t be more pleased with the strategic vision Sentara has taken over the years, and your exceptional teamwork has contributed to making these visions a reality. We know we continue to improve care and processes no matter what the fallout of this decision is. And most importantly, Sentara will continue to provide exceptional health care to those who need it most, regardless of their ability to pay."
Virginia House of Delegates Speaker William J. Howell joins the list of those disappointed in the decision:
"I was very disappointed to hear of the Supreme Court's decision today that the individual mandate and the PPACA at large are constitutional," said Howell. "Republicans in Virginia have been among the most vocal opponents of President Obama's healthcare law, which will cost an estimated $1.76 trillion over the next ten years, a truly unaffordable cost with the national deficit already precariously high."
During the 2010 General Assembly Session, Republicans in Virginia passed
House Bill 10, which provided that no citizen of the Commonwealth could be compelled to purchase health insurance. That legislation provided a legal basis for Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli's lawsuit to stop the PPACA, an effort nearly three years in the making that ends with today's decision.
"Today's decision really is a terrible disappointed," commented Majority Leader M. Kirkland Cox (R - Colonial Heights). "The President's legislation undermines our economic liberties, increases regulations and notwithstanding its name is anything but affordable."
Congressman Bobby Scott also supports the decision:
"I am pleased that todayâ€™s U.S. Supreme Court decision leaves intact nearly all of the provisions of the Affordable Care Act, most importantly the "individual mandate." This law is a milestone towards expanding affordable health coverage to all Americans, regardless of age, income, or preexisting condition. Young Americans can continue to stay on their parent's polices until they are twenty-six, seniors will not be pushed back into the 'donut-hole', and health insurance companies will not be able to put a lifetime limit on your health coverage.
"This is a win for Americans across the country. While the debate over the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act has been divisive, as we begin seeing more of the provisions come into effect, more Americans will realize how important this law is and how it helps them, their families, and their neighbors.
"Due to the Affordable Care Act, 7,200 young adults in my district now have health insurance. In addition, 6,000 seniors in my district are currently receiving prescription drug discounts worth a total of $3.5 million, an average discount of $580 per senior. The law banned insurance companies from establishing lifetime coverage limits for 200,000 residents. These are all forward-thinking and necessary reforms. The United States currently spends more money on health care than any industrialized nation; it is imperative that we continue to improve the quality of the health care that we provide in this country."The legal challenges have focused primarily on the "individual mandate" provision. During the past 2 years, I have maintained that this "mandate" is in fact simply a tax measure. This is the same differential that occurs when someone receives a tax credit for having a solar panel â€“ those with a solar panel get a tax credit and pay slightly lower taxes than those without. This is not a "mandate" to get a solar panel. The so-called "individual mandate" is the equivalent of not receiving a tax credit for having insurance. If you carry insurance, you will pay less in taxes. If you don't have insurance, your tax liability will slightly increase. Today, the Supreme Court, using the same logic, ruled that this tax measure is constitutional. If, on the other hand, the Court had ruled it unconstitutional, the same logic would have put Social Security and Medicare in jeopardy.
"I will continue to fight efforts to repeal this legislation, which provides access to affordable health coverage not only to those in Virginia's 3rd Congressional District, but to all Americans."
Stay with WAVY.com as more officials release statements.
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