Local Reaction to Supreme Court Ruling on Health Care

We examine the local fallout from the Supreme Court's health care ruling. What's next for Illinois, and how does it impact statewide races? Paris Schutz has the latest on Chicago Tonight at 7:00 pm. Read some official statements on the decision below.

Statement from Cook County Board President Preckwinkle:

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“I applaud today’s decision by the United States Supreme Court upholding the Affordable Care Act. 

"In accordance with this historic ruling, the Cook County Health and Hospitals System will continue to seek a 1115 Medicaid Waiver from the work Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. This waiver, if approved by the federal government, would permit CCHHS to receive federal reimbursement for the costs of treatment provided to the tens of thousands of our patients who currently have no medical coverage but will gain access to Medicaid on January 1, 2014.

"CCHHS is the foundation of the safety-net health network in northeastern Illinois.  Today’s decision by the Supreme Court will allow our system to proactively prepare for Affordable Care Act implementation in 2014.”

Statement from Sen. Mark Kirk:

"While I respect the Court’s decision, the health care law threatens our economic recovery by raising taxes, imposing new regulations and creating a drag on the economy. Congress should repeal the health care law and replace it with common sense, centrist reforms that give Americans the right to buy insurance across state lines and expand coverage without raising taxes, while blocking the government from coming between patients and their doctors."

Statement from U.S. Rep. Adam Kinzinger:

The United States Supreme Court (SCOTUS) ruled that the individual mandate violates the Commerce Clause.  However, the Court ruled that the individual mandate is constitutional under the taxing power.

U.S. Representative Adam Kinzinger (R-IL), a member of the Energy and Commerce Committee, issued the following statement on today’s Supreme Court decision on the constitutionality of President Obama’s health care law:

"Since its passage, the Affordable Care Act has caused deep divisions over its constitutionality.  While I respect the ruling of the U.S. Supreme Court, I am extremely disappointed that the Court has given unrestricted authority to the federal government to interfere in the personal lives of American families.  This ruling upholds an additional 2.5 percent tax on hardworking Americans on top of the tax increases that already exist in this health care law.

"I have voted 40 times to fully repeal the government takeover of health care, block the individual provisions, or defund certain programs.  The question we must ask ourselves now is whether President Obama's newly designed health care system is feasible. The Administration promised that the legislation, if passed, would control rising health care costs while deficit neutral.  However, we now know those claims were false.

"The path toward affordable health care starts with allowing Americans to buy insurance across state lines; providing reduced premiums for individuals and small businesses; protecting seniors and those with pre-existing conditions; allowing younger Americans to remain on their parent's insurance; enacting real medical liability reform, which is a key element to lowering costs; and creating reforms that will protect the doctor-patient relationship.

"We must work expeditiously to enact real reforms that reduce bureaucracy, does not bypass free market principles, and provide Americans with improved and affordable options when choosing their health care."

Statement from Illinois Republican Party Chairman Pat Brady:

“ObamaCare will lead to the implosion of our health care system, an explosion of our national debt and economic uncertainty for millions of job creators. This comes as no surprise since Barack Obama spent his formative political years in Springfield being trained by Illinois Democrats like Michael Madigan, who through years of mismanagement, have led Illinois to having the worst budget deficit, credit rating, pension debt and business climate in the nation.”

Statement from Congressman Joe Walsh:

"Today, I, along with most Americans, am disappointed with the Supreme Court decision. It is now clear that the only way to repeal this law is legislatively," Walsh said. "Today's decision only affirms what we have known all along - the President's health care plan is a massive tax increase. The President insisted that his health care plan would not cost the American people anything, but that is just untrue. To be clear, this is not a tax on wealthy Americans who already have insurance. This tax hits the 44 million uninsured Americans, who are already struggling and cannot afford to pay more hard-earned income in taxes.

"The American people deserve a choice in their health care plans, not government mandates. The President's health care plan is an unworkable mega-bill that will destroy small businesses, kill jobs, stunt economic growth, and bankrupt the nation.

"My opponent, Tammy Duckworth, a true tax-and-spend liberal, supports this new tax on the Middle Class. In fact, not only does Tammy support the President's current tax and spend health care plan, but she is on record supporting a single-payer socialized system. I, however, will make it my top priority to repeal this massive tax increase and the President's entire health care plan.

"As a new member of Congress, I turned down my gold-plated Congressional health care plan. Instead, I chose to buy my insurance on the open market, and I know firsthand how difficult it is to find affordable, quality health insurance. The Supreme Court's decision has finally ended the debate in Washington. The American people will decide where we get from here."

Statement from Congressman Tim Johnson:

"The Supreme Court of the United States has now spoken and declared that the Affordable Health Care Act is constitutional under the taxing power of the United States Constitution. The Supreme Court was established as the final arbiter of the constitutionality of laws over 200 years ago in the case of Marbury v. Madison in 1803. The decision, while I disagree with it, therefore must be respected by all.

"Notwithstanding its constitutionality, the Affordable Care Act remains ill-conceived, overly broad and burdensome for American taxpayers. The goal was to lower health care costs and expand access and I believe it does neither. Indeed, many private employers have already dropped coverage for individuals. Nor does the law do anything to incentivize preventive health care, one of the most important ways to lower health care costs. Further, the taxing provisions will act as another disincentive to job creation at a time we are already on the brink of recession.

"The goal of health care reform is something most of us can agree on. The process, however, has been deeply flawed from the point of passing a 2,000-page behemoth of a law in the dead of night, a law we had less than 24 hours to digest and on which we were not allowed to offer amendments.

"Next month we will again have the opportunity to repeal this law and clear the way for a patient-centered, market-driven reform that lowers costs, increases choice and lets people keep the health care they want.

"While time and the American people will provide the final judgment on the Affordable Care Act, I fear the precedent this ruling makes. I fear this continuing pattern of intrusiveness, the invasion of what should be our private choices and the erosion of personal responsibility that is the inevitable result. I will continue to work for laws and reforms that will reverse those trends."

Statement from Congressman Don Manzullo:

“The President’s health care law is wreaking havoc on our economy by surging health insurance costs for Americans, hiking taxes, and hurting the efforts of small employers to put Americans back to work. In fact, I have already heard from small business owners in northern Illinois who will either lay off workers or forgo new hires in order to stay below the 50-employee threshold that would require them to purchase costly insurance for their employees.

“Americans are rightfully concerned that their employer-provided health insurance is threatened with this new law, and they don’t want it. I will join with our leaders in the House and support full repeal of the President’s health care law and instead pursue reforms that will truly make health care more affordable and accessible for all Americans without destroying our economy and stifling job creation in America.”

Statement from Bill Foster:

"An independent Supreme Court majority appointed by Presidents of both parties have come together to uphold a law that says children with pre-existing conditions cannot be denied health insurance, insurance companies cannot drop your coverage if you get sick, and seniors can pay less for their medicine.

Congress should come together on a bipartisan basis to do more to reduce the cost of health care for small businesses and middle-class families, but mostly, it's time for Congress to get back to the business of growing and investing in an economy that is built to last for middle-class Illinoisans, not spending another year re-litigating the new health care law."

Statement from Illinois Policy Institute CEO John Tillman:

"The Supreme Court’s decision to uphold ObamaCare – and specifically the individual mandate – was a severe blow to restoring Constitutional limits on federal power. Although other provisions are already being challenged in federal court, now more than ever, we need states to take the lead and protect taxpayers and consumers from this overreaching law. Congress must repeal all of ObamaCare and replace it with reforms that put patients first.

For evidence of how ObamaCare will fail, look no further than Illinois' Medicaid program. This broken program already fails to meet the needs of Illinois' most vulnerable. Chicago children with throat cancer have only a one-in-three chance of seeing a specialist while on Medicaid (New England Journal of Medicine). Under ObamaCare, total Medicaid enrollment in Illinois will reach nearly 4.5 million people in 2019 – three times the enrollment of only a decade ago. A program that was created as a temporary safety net for America’s most vulnerable population soon will serve more than one-third of the state’s population. And the end result is the president’s signature law will make children with throat cancer or other serious conditions compete with even more people for fewer and fewer doctors willing to see them.

We urge Congress to repeal and replace ObamaCare with patient-centered reforms that empower the patient and offer real choice."

Statement from Illinois Chamber:

"While the Illinois Chamber was not supportive of the law prior to enactment, we are and will remain committed to working closely with state policymakers and other stakeholders to ensure the Affordable Care Act in Illinois is implemented with the best interests of employers and consumers in mind," said Doug Whitley, President and CEO of the Illinois Chamber.

"The Supreme Court's decision allows employers, consumers, and states to resume planning and implementation efforts with greater certainty, but we also know the enormity of this law presents ongoing challenges and questions for the employer community that we look forward to working with state and federal lawmakers to address."

The Chamber supported legislation enacted last year that authorized the state to move forward with the implementation of its own health insurance exchange and has been actively involved in ongoing negotiations to craft legislation fully implementing the Illinois Health Benefits Exchange. These negotiations stalled in the face of the pending Supreme Court decision, but are expected to resume now that the Court has upheld the law.

"The Court's ruling ultimately has no bearing on the Chamber's commitment to addressing the very real struggles of our employers, particularly our small employers, their employees and families when it comes to accessibility and affordability issues," said Mr. Whitley. "We stand ready to re-engage in negotiations on the implementation of the exchange and help lawmakers, employers, and their employees navigate the new healthcare landscape."

The Chamber did not weigh in on the constitutionality of the law, but did join with 14 other state chambers and business organizations from across the nation to file an amicus brief with the Supreme Court on February 13 that argued against the applicability of the Anti-Injunction Act, claiming that the Act does not bar the Supreme Court from ruling on the constitutionality of the individual mandate. The amicus brief also argued that any delay in ruling would create a costly and harmful burden for the nation's employers.

Statement from President & CEO of Illinois Hospital Association:

The Illinois Hospital Association (IHA) applauds the United States Supreme Court decision to uphold the Affordable Care Act. Illinois hospitals have long supported the expansion of coverage for the uninsured and reforms to eliminate exclusions for pre-existing conditions and coverage caps to improve the health and well-being of Illinoisans.

Strong communities start with healthy communities. Because of this legislation, people in Illinois will no longer have a diminished quality of life, be at risk of dying merely because they lack health insurance, or be forced into bankruptcy because of a devastating diagnosis.

While many organizations have been waiting for this ruling to act on health care reform initiatives, Illinois hospitals already have been working to transform health care by being more accountable and transparent. Through the IHA Quality Care Institute, Illinois hospitals are implementing quality improvement programs, improving patient safety and infection control, and reducing unnecessary utilization and readmissions. The goal is to create new and efficient models of health care delivery to improve outcomes and lower costs.

In partnership with Governor Quinn and the General Assembly, IHA will continue to help guide Illinois hospitals through the intricacies of health care reform including the implementation of the Illinois Health Insurance Exchange. With the health care reform law upheld, we urge the General Assembly to pass legislation authorizing and establishing the insurance exchange.

Check back here later to read more reaction to the historic ruling on health care.

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