The Supreme Court ruling on national health care reform Thursday reaffirmed the ambitious direction President Obama and fellow Democrats took when he signed the Affordable Care Act into law on March 23, 2010.
The Court's 5-4 decision let the mandate requiring all Americans purchase health insurance stand. But the debate is far from over, as Republicans vow to fight on. Party leaders throughout Nassau, Long Island and statewide weighed in:
Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-New York: “I am pleased the Supreme Court reaffirmed the hard fought progress that was made to ensure that no one can be denied coverage for a pre-existing condition, being a woman will no longer be a pre-existing condition, young adults will be covered, prescription drug costs for seniors will be reduced, preventive care including life-saving mammograms will be accessible and that insurance companies can’t cancel their coverage when you get sick. It is time to get beyond scoring political points and get back to finding common core values and passing legislation that will help grow our economy and get more people back to work.”
Gov. Andrew Cuomo: "Thanks to the leadership of President Obama and his administration, particularly Secretary Sebelius, the Affordable Care Act will provide access to health care to millions of Americans nationwide and more than one million New Yorkers, and I am pleased the Supreme Court upheld this law. We will continue to move forward with implementing the health exchange that will lower coverage costs for New York's businesses and help ensure that uninsured New Yorkers have access to health care. We look forward to continuing to work together with the Obama administration to ensure accessible, quality care for all New Yorkers."
State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli: "The Supreme Court's decision to uphold the Affordable Care Act is a victory for New Yorkers and all Americans. The law has significant fiscal implications for our state, providing more than $1 billion annually in new Medicaid assistance and delivering affordable health coverage for New Yorkers. While we have not yet solved the challenge of balancing health care access and cost, today's decision moves us one step closer to reforming our nation's costly health care system."
Jay S. Jacobs, state and Nassau Democratic Party Chairman: "Millions of Americans have already benefitted from Obamacare. Millions more will begin to benefit when the entire program takes effect in 2014. Today, the United States Supreme Court took a major step forward in affirming an important piece of legislation that affects everyone in this country. Led by Chief Justice Roberts, it also took a major step forward in validating the Court's historic place in the American system of government as the fair arbiter of our political process."
Rep. Gary Ackerman, D-Roslyn Heights: "Republicans were expecting to high five each other today. But fortunately, the highest court in the land ko’d that plan, and quashed their ridiculous claims that providing quality, affordable healthcare to all Americans was unconstitutional. The court’s ruling is a huge win for the American people and a resounding victory for President Obama. This decision finally ends the practice of insurance companies making health care decisions for Americans, and puts consumers in control of their coverage."
Rep. Peter King, R-Seaford: “I oppose today’s ruling, which upheld a sweeping government takeover of our health care sector. I believe the strongest response is to repeal Obamacare and implement incremental reforms, such as ensuring coverage regardless of pre-existing conditions, allowing portability of insurance from one job to another and allowing small businesses to band together to buy insurance. Most importantly, we must work towards reducing insurance premiums and co-pays—which this law does not do. I will continue to fight to repeal this law and to enact measures that empower patients while simultaneously reducing costs.”
Rep. Steve Israel, D-Dix Hills: “Today’s ruling isn’t a political victory for Democrats, it’s a victory for America’s middle class and seniors, and now House Republicans need to drop their partisan obstruction and move on. Insurance companies are not back in control of a patient’s care. Insurance companies can’t again deny coverage to people with asthma, cancer or heart disease, or block women from getting cancer screenings. Republicans have wasted the last 18 months on a misguided, partisan crusade to put insurance companies back in charge of health care, instead of getting the economy back on track and strengthening the middle class.”
Challenger Stephen Labate, R-Deer Park: "The American people were clearly misled by President Obama and Congressman Steve Israel by insisting the individual mandate was not a tax. The Supreme Court saw through this and upheld the individual mandate for what it really was a tax. Elections have consequences and today we witnessed the disastrous outcome of electing officials who are willing to be so blatantly untruthful to the American people."
Sen. Kemp Hannon, R-Garden City: “The Supreme Court’s decision on the Affordable Care Act represents both challenges and opportunities for New York State. Since the Governor has already issued an executive order for creating a statewide health-insurance exchange program, we now must continue forward with implementing an exchange which will lower costs for New York’s businesses. We must ensure the exchange is established without harming job creators or small business owners. The issue of health insurance should be a people issue, not a partisan one."
Legis. Judy Jacobs, D-Woodbury: "I have always been a supporter of the Obama healthcare initiative. In a country as great as ours it is unconscionable that poor people could go without health care. I am happy to see that the majority of those on the Supreme Court found a way to get together on an issue that is so vital and important to our country."
Editor’s Note: Patch will update as more statements come in throughout the day.