CT Lawmakers Get Candid After Supreme Court Upholds Affordable Care Act

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There were mixed reactions across the state to the 5 to 4 U.S. Supreme Court decision upholding President Barack Obama’s healthcare reform. Gov. Dannel P. Malloy and Lieut. Gov. Nancy Wyman echoed the praise of fellow state Democrats for the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision.

In a joint statement on Thursday they called it a tremendous day for all Americans. “The Supreme Court has taken a historic stand with the Affordable Care Act. This decision demonstrates that the nation will do the right thing in ensuring accessible, affordable health care for all Americans.”

With the Supreme Court Of the United States (SCOTUS) validating the law, Republicans in Congress were advised to halt attempts to repeal the reforms and instead join President Obama in focusing on job creation.

“In Connecticut, we’ve been leading the way on this issue,” they said. “We never stopped working, and today’s decision is an affirmation of everything we’ve worked so hard to prepare. Now let’s make sure we continue to implement this historic, positive change.”

Attorney General George Jepsen, a Democrat, called the Supreme Court ruling a victory for the millions in this country without health care, as well as for individuals with pre-existing conditions who would otherwise be denied coverage. Parents wanting keep their children on their insurance plan until age 26 and seniors currently struggling to make all the payments for medical bills and prescription medications will also see relief, he said in a press release on Thursday.

“Tens of thousands of Connecticut residents have already benefitted from health care reform, and tens of thousands more will benefit as more provisions of the law take effect,” Jepsen said.

“While I am still reviewing the Court’s legal analysis and the details of the decision,” he said,” I applaud the Court for making the correct decision upholding the individual mandate and ensuring access to health care in our state and our country.”

Jim Himes ‏@jahimesSCOTUS stands with children w/pre-existing conditions, women, would-be entrepreneurs, seniors and progress for the American people.

U.S. Rep. Jim Himes (CT-D4) foresees positive changes ahead for both individuals and for the future business climate in the country. “Would-be entrepreneurs can now start their own businesses without fearing they won’t be able to purchase insurance for their families and employees, and recent graduates can take jobs at a startup or a nonprofit that doesn’t provide insurance—because they will be able to purchase it themselves,” he said in a statement to the media.

Himes said the ruling would also help cease health insurance inequities like loss of insurance when employment ends and women being charged more than men for coverage, as well as lack of coverage for “kids with asthma and moms who survived cancer” and others with pre-existing conditions.

“We can now move forward with the Affordable Care Act’s reforms, which will lower costs, better coordinate our health care, and provide more financial stability for families and businesses that purchase health insurance,” he said.

“Because of healthcare reform, for the first time in over a decade, we saw a decrease in the growth of healthcare costs,” Himes added. “I look forward to seeing continued progress as the remainder of the new law goes into effect, and we tweak the law to continue to slow the growth of health care spending.”

Susan Bysiewicz ‪@SusanforCT: Today’s ruling was a victory for families and insures every American will get the care they need even if they can’t afford health insurance

On Thursday, Susan Bysiewicz, Democratic U.S. Senate candidate, released a statement, in which she heralded the ruling as a “victory for families.” She identified the Affordable Care Act (ACA) as the “single largest step forward for health care in a generation.”

Bysiewicz said the ACA guarantees every American will get necessary health care even if they can’t afford insurance. “The law brings 30 million Americans into a health care system that provides preventative health services, lower health care costs, and no longer treats pregnancy as a pre-existing condition.”

However, she said the work to provide affordable and accessible health to all Americans is not over. “Over the next few months Republicans will use every tool they have to take apart the Affordable Care Act,” she said. “I will stand with the millions of American families and 300,000 Connecticut families who desperately need the quality and affordable care which is provided by this law.

Christopher Shays @CShays: SCOTUS decision disappointing. Reaffirms need to send someone to US Senate who can repeal this destructive law. ‪#ctsen‬

Bysiewicz might have to face Republican detractors like Former U.S. Rep. Christopher Shays, the Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate. In a statement, he said that The Supreme Court’s decision reaffirms the need to “send someone to the United States Senate who has the ability to repeal this destructive law.” If elected, Shays is determined to do so, saying he has the experience and knowledge to do so.

Christopher Shays @CShays: Obamacare = single greatest infringement on individual liberties and personal freedoms in my generation ‪#ctsen‬

src: thehealthcareblog.com

“The Supreme Court ruled that the President’s healthcare plan is constitutional based on the fact that the individual mandate is a tax, in spite of the fact that the Democrat-controlled Congress and the Administration repeatedly insisted it was not a tax,” he said. Americans should be fed up with this type of hypocrisy from Washington, he asserted.

According to Shays, “Obamacare” increases health insurance premiums, reduces patient choice, threatens the quality of care, and impedes medical progress. He claimed that six years of these health plan benefits are to be paid with 10 years of taxes.

“Obamacare takes $500 billion away from Medicare, a vital program for our senior citizens that was already heading for insolvency, and uses it for other purposes,” Shays said.

At a Trumbull Chamber of Commerce breakfast meeting on Thursday, Shays said that he felt healthcare programs need to be decided on the state level, according to Trumbell Patch. Shays said state law is easier to change than federal law.

“The federal government does have a role in healthcare, such as Medicare, Medicaid, community-based healthcare programs, and providing healthcare to veterans, and active military. But a federal mandate was always the wrong approach,” he said in his media release.

“We need a patient/doctor approach that promotes both quality care and cost savings and allows citizens within each state to determine the kind of healthcare programs they want. The right direction for healthcare reform includes tort reform, healthcare pooling and purchase across state lines.”

Chris Murphy @ChrisMurphyCT: Whew! Supreme Court does the right thing. This is a good day for health care in America.

Chris Murphy @ChrisMurphyCT: Dear John Roberts: sick kids, seniors, small businesses, and the Constitution thank you.

On Thursday, Rep. Chris Murphy (D-CT-5) made a Facebook statement on the “SCOTUS decision to uphold health care reform.” He said he supported the bill so strongly because he felt it was the right approach to begin fixing a “very broken health care system.” While this was a split decision by the court, he echoed Malloy’s call for Republicans to “stop their attempts to repeal this bill, so that we can come together to implement it in way that benefits patients and taxpayers.”

With the law upheld, Murphy is certain that “seniors will pay less for their drugs at the pharmacy, sick people will never be denied health insurance, small businesses will pay less to insure their employees, and the quality of health care will increase over time for all Americans.”

According to Murphy, The Supreme Court made the right ruling. “Today, Connecticut residents can have confidence that they will get better and more affordable care in the years to come.”

Linda McMahon @Linda_McMahon: The tax increases that finance ACA will devastate small businesses and middle class families. http://ow.ly/bTbW9

Linda McMahon, Republican candidate for U.S. Senate, issued her own statement, expressing disappointment in the High Court’s decision.

“The American people were told that this legislation would lower costs. It hasn’t. They were told that it would not increase taxes. It does,” she said. “The tax increases that finance this will devastate small businesses and middle class families.”

McMahon said she opposed the ACA because of the negative impact the state’s small business owners said it would have on their ability to create jobs. She feels the majority of Americans share her opposition to the plan, because “it raises taxes on small businesses, cuts Medicare by $500 billion and increases costs.”

She said market-based solutions that increase patient choice, expand access to coverage for all Americans and control costs are the best direction for the country moving forward.

“As we reform our health care system, we should always remember those Americans, including many here in Connecticut, who every day face the uncertainty and fear of being without insurance or access to quality care,” said McMahon.

Rep. John Larson @RepJohnLarson: Today’s decision is a victory for children w/pre-existing conditions, women facing discrimination & country as a whole http://larson.house.gov/index.php?opt

Rep. John B. Larson (D-CT1), who represents towns including Cromwell, Glastonbury, Granby, Hartford, Manchester, Middletown and West Hartford, acknowledged that a lot of work still needs to be done to make healthcare affordable and accessible to all, but he said, “Hopefully today’s ruling means we can set the partisan fights aside and move forward as a nation.”

He declared The Supreme Court’s decision a great victory and “the start to providing a solid groundwork for ensuring that all Americans can get the care they need.”

Rep. Joe Courtney @RepJoeCourtneyToday’s ruling is a landmark moment in the fight for stable, secure health coverage for all Americans. ‪#ACA‬ ‪#HCR‬

Rep. Joe Courtney (CT-D2), who represents diverse towns including Andover, East Haddam, Colchester, Ellington, Madison, Tolland, Stonington and Woodstock released a statement that said while the ruling was, in his estimation, a landmark moment, he recognized the ACA is not the final word on health care.

“This Congress and future Congresses can make commonsense amendments in response to real-life problems. For example, we already repealed the onerous 1099 filing requirement last year, and extended age 26 coverage to military families after ACA’s enactment,” he said.

Courtney said that in eastern Connecticut, 4,600 young people were able to remain on their parents’ health policy last year until the age of 26 while transitioning into the workforce. ”That benefit is protected permanently,” he said.

Courtney said under the ACA, the more than $5 million in prescription drug discounts in 2011 received by seniors in his district will grow enough to close the Medicare Part D “donut hole” entirely.

Seniors in the district are also already taking advantage of free preventative care benefits.
“If you become gravely ill, battling a costly condition like hemophilia, there are no longer lifetime caps on benefits. And beginning in 2014, if you lose your job, you will not lose your health coverage,” said Courtney.

“Already, 470 small businesses have received tax credits to provide health insurance for their employees,” he added.

According to Courtney’s web site, the ACA law will be fully implemented in Eastern Connecticut by 2014. You can get a more detailed account of what the law has already done and will do by next year here.


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