Last updateTue, 15 Apr 2014 6am

Alabama Healthcare Exchange, the Way Forward

By Bill Britt

Alabama Political Reporter

MONTGOMERY—Yesterday's Supreme Court ruling on the Affordable Care Act (ACA) has left the large majority of the law in place. One of the centerpieces of the legislation is the Healthcare Exchange portion. Perhaps no one in Alabama is more knowledgable on the subject of the law surrounding these exchanges than Representative Greg Wren (R-Montgomery). 

Now that the court has made the creation of these exchanges a necessity Wren fulminate against what he says has been Governor Robert Bentley’s unwillingness to work with state lawmakers to form a governing body for the exchange.

“I have tried for over two years to work with the governor to create a healthcare exchange commission by statute, but he has resisted on every turn," Wren said. 

Wren is the National Chairman of the Healthcare Reform Committee for the National Conference of State Legislatures. 

“I have also worked very hard to protect the citizen from the coercive interference of the Federal government in the affairs of our state,” says Wren. 

Wren has over two legislative session tried to implement safeguards against a federal takeover of what will now become Alabama’s healthcare insurance exchange. 

“The governor has worked against those efforts, wanting to establish the exchange by executive order,” said Wren. Only of late has the governor seemed to understand or at least admit publicly that at some point he will need the legislature to enact an Alabama exchange. 

Wren says, “This needs to be done by a legislative act with everyone at the table to make it work.” Wren says that “it is time to wipe the slate clean between the Governor’s office and the Legislature and 'Do what is right for the people of Alabama.'”

The governor has been very busy creating an health insurance exchange for Alabama within the State Department of Insurance, while his spokespersons have spun a different story for public consumption. 

Now that the SCOTUS has upheld all but the Medicaid portion of the ACA, Wren says he is willing to sit with the Administration to set plans and priorities—that loom in the not to distant future for implementations that must adhere to federal timelines for the exchange. 

“This could be handle in the special in September if the constitutional amendment fails,” said Wren or it can be dealt with in February at the start of the new regular session “but that will be cutting it close.”

Wren says he hopes the governor’s office will see the wisdom of including legislators now, rather than later.  



MITT ROMNEY: “What the Court did not do on its last day in session, I will do on my first day if elected President of the United States. And that is I will act to repeal Obamacare.

“Let’s make clear that we understand what the Court did and did not do. What the Court did today was say that Obamacare does not violate the Constitution. What they did not do was say that Obamacare is good law or that it's good policy.

“Obamacare was bad policy yesterday. It's bad policy today. Obamacare was bad law yesterday. It’s bad law today. Let me tell you why I say that. Obamacare raises taxes on the American people by approximately $500 billion. Obamacare cuts Medicare, cuts Medicare, by approximately $500 billion. And even with those cuts, and tax increases, Obamacare adds trillions to our deficits and to our national debt and pushes those obligations on to coming generations. Obamacare also means that for up to 20 million Americans, they will lose the insurance they currently have, the insurance that they like and they want to keep. Obamacare is a job killer. Businesses across the country have been asked what the impact is of Obamacare. Three quarters of those surveyed by the Chamber of Commerce said Obamacare makes it less likely for them to hire people. And perhaps most troubling of all, Obamacare puts the federal government between you and your doctor.

“For all those reasons, it's important for us to repeal and replace Obamacare. What are some of the things that we'll keep in place, and must be in place, in a reform, a real reform, of our healthcare system? One, we have to make sure that people who want to keep their current insurance will be able to do so. Having 20 million people, up to that number of people, lose the insurance they want, is simply unacceptable. Number two, got to make sure that those people who have pre-existing conditions know that they will be able to be insured and they will not lose their insurance. We also have to assure that we do our very best to help each state in their effort to assure that every American has access to affordable healthcare. And something that Obamacare does not do that must be done in real reform is helping lower the cost of healthcare and health insurance. It’s becoming prohibitively expensive.

“And so this is now a time for the American people to make a choice. You can choose whether you want to have a larger and larger government, more and more intrusive in your life—separating you and your doctor—whether you're comfortable with more deficits, higher debt that we pass onto the coming generations. Whether you're willing to have the government put in place a plan that potentially causes you to lose the insurance that you like or whether instead you want to return to a time when the American people will have their own choice in healthcare. Where consumers will be able to make their choices as to what kind of health insurance they want.

“This is the time of choice for the American people. Our mission is clear: If we want to get rid of Obamacare, we're going to have to replace President Obama. My mission is to make sure we do exactly that. That we return to the American people the privilege they've always had to live their lives in the way they feel most appropriate. Where we don't pass on to coming generations massive deficits and debt, where we don't have a setting where jobs are lost. If we want good jobs and a bright economic future, for ourselves and for our kids, we must replace Obamacare. That is my mission. That is our work. And I’m asking the people of America to join me. If you don't want the course that President Obama has put us on, if you want instead a course that the Founders envisioned, then join me in this effort. Help us. Help us defeat Obamacare. Help us defeat the liberal agenda that makes government too big, too intrusive, and is killing jobs across this great country.”

More Republican Reaction to President Obama’s Victory in Supreme Court

By Brandon Moseley

Alabama Political Reporter

The Supreme Court upheld most of President Obama’s landmark legislation, The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (Obamacare).  Politicians and elected officials have both rushed to release statements about what has been billed as the biggest Supreme Court decision in forty years.

Congressman Jo Bonner (R) from Mobile said, "While I am deeply disappointed over the Supreme Court's failure to strike down the heart of Obamacare by allowing the individual mandate to stand as a giant new tax, I have always believed that the controversial law could only be stopped by Congress and a new president.  This is a sad day for individual freedom, but it is a big day for bigger government and higher taxes.”

Alabama Lieutenant Governor Kay Ivey said, “The Supreme Court’s ruling today, upholding major portions of Obamacare,  perpetuates the illusion that taxpayers can and should provide healthcare for every citizen, in spite of the fact that the country is broke!”  Ivey said that adding new entitlements threatens to “bring America down.”  “America will spend and tax itself into weakness and, God forbid, collapse.  The President’s trillion dollar takeover of the American healthcare system is wrong for the federal budget, is in opposition of our constitutional principles and wrong for Alabama.”  

Congressman Mike Roger (R) from Anniston said, “I am deeply disappointed with the Supreme Court’s ruling today on the healthcare law.  In a time where our national debt is growing and our economy is struggling to add jobs, President Obama’s healthcare law is currently estimated by CBO to cost almost double what the President promised. I believe this law threatens American jobs by imposing steep taxes and mandates on small businesses, and am deeply concerned the ruling gives Washington even greater power to intrude on personal freedoms. Congress must work to repeal it and find solutions that provide better, more fiscally sound healthcare options for our nation.”

The National Chairman of the College Republican National Committee Alex Schriver from Alabama said, “The Supreme Court’s decision to uphold the individual mandate as constitutional under the basis that it is a tax delivers a debilitating blow to the Obama Administration.”…..”Considering that the latest polling data shows the majority of Americans (54 percent) oppose Obamacare, imagine what that margin will grow to knowing the backbone of the policy was nothing more than a new tax on consumers?  Since its passage, insurance premiums are up 9 percent. The policy itself will cost an estimated $500 billion - and that is among the most modest estimates.”

Alabama Senate President Del Marsh (R) from Anniston said, “Today’s Supreme Court ruling confirms that Obamacare is in fact one of the biggest tax increases in our nation’s history. While the federal government increases bureaucracy and red tape that cripples small business, Alabama Republicans will continue fighting this intrusion by working to make state government more efficient and boost private-sector economic growth/”

Lt. Gov. Ivey said, “This continues to be a state and national emergency with major tax implications.  Citizens, we must be vigilant, active and passionate about our deep concern over this unfunded, non-sustainable mandate from those in Washington who would tax us into oblivion.  We must begin the process to repeal and replace Obamacare.”   

"Absent a Supreme Court ruling to directly strike down or dismantle Obamacare, the House of Representatives is pursuing a full repeal of the unpopular new health care law which has already driven up health care premiums, forced religious institutions to violate their beliefs and will likely add $1.7 trillion to the federal debt over ten years according to the Congressional Budget Office.

Rep. Bonner said, "I voted against the passage of President Obama's health care law in 2009 and 2010 and I have joined the House in voting more than two dozen times since January 2011 to both fully repeal and dismantle the costly and unpopular health care law.  Obamacare remains widely unpopular with the American people who want health care reform without losing their choice of doctors, quality of coverage or facing higher premiums.  I support House efforts to fully repeal the president's health care law and instead pass market-based reforms that help to lower health care costs while extending coverage to those with preexisting conditions."

Chairman Schriver said, “Mark my words; financial and grassroots support will be pouring into Gov. Mitt Romney’s campaign in the coming weeks because of this decision.  Since the Supreme Court upheld President Obama’s invasive new tax, the decision to overturn this policy is now in the hands of the American people this November.”


McClendon Sees Ruling as Erosion of Freedom

By Bill Britt

Alabama Political Reporter

SPRINGVILLE—"If you think we live in a free country, today’s Supreme Court ruling should change your mind.” Strong words from the Chairman of the Alabama State House of Representative Health Committee Jim McClendon (R-Springville).

McClendon says “This is the greatest leap toward socialism since the Johnson administrations’ Great Society.”  

Early today the SCOTUS ruled that The Affordable Care Act, including its individual mandate that virtually all Americans buy health insurance, is constitutional. 

In the face of this ruling McClendon believes that the only hope for the country is to, “elect a congress that will have the courage to overturn Obamacare and a president that will encourage them to do so.”

McClendon continues,  “As long as we stay under the thumb of Obama and the left-wingers we will continue to see the erosion of individual responsibility. I am very disappointed in this ruling and can’t frankly understand how the Federal government expects Alabama to come up with more money from our taxpayers to fill the gap on Medicaid that they have left open.”

McClendon says that he and all conservative republicans must join in the fight to push back against this socialist agenda and save the country from those who would feel the last vestiges of freedom fall to the radical left. 



WASHINGTON – Congressman Spencer Bachus (AL-6) issued the following statement on today’s Supreme Court ruling on the President’s health care law.

“The ruling allows President Obama to impose massive new taxes to pay for his government takeover of health care.  It remains bad policy that is raising health care costs and making it harder for small businesses to provide health insurance and hire workers.  My position continues to be that the best public policy is to repeal and replace the President’s health care takeover with common sense reforms that will truly make health care more affordable and accessible.  Ultimately, is it the American people who will make the final decision and they will have the opportunity to do that.”


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