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Alabama’s Leaders Respond to Supreme Court’s Decision on Obamacare

Brandon Moseley

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By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter

Thursday June 25, the Supreme Court of the United States issued a 6-3 ruling to uphold the nationwide tax subsidies included in the Affordable Care Act, even in states like Alabama that elected not to implement the costly state insurance exchanges.  The subsidies are a core component of the Affordable Care Act and allow persons of limited means, but not low income enough to qualify for expanded Medicaid (in states that agreed to expand Medicaid).  A number of Alabama officials have commented on the decision. 

Alabama Governor Robert Bentley released a statement on the King v. Burwell Supreme Court decision:  

“Today’s decision by the United States Supreme Court is disappointing. As the law is clearly written, subsidies do not apply to states that did not establish a state-based health insurance exchange. With today’s decision, the Supreme Court became an activist court by rewriting the law, clearly overstepping the role of the Judicial Branch to interpret the law.”

US Senator Richard Shelby (R-Alabama) wrote, “Today’s Supreme Court decision does not change the fact that Obamacare is an unworkable, deeply flawed, and damaging law.  The problems with Obamacare go far beyond the issue debated in King v. Burwell and continue to harm American families and small businesses.  Obamacare’s long list of broken promises has already caused Americans to struggle with higher premiums, to lose their preferred health insurance and doctors, and to be left with fewer choices.  Despite this ruling, I remain committed to working with my colleagues to put an end to the negative impacts of this disastrous law.”

US Senator Jeff Sessions (R-Alabama) released this statement: 

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“The Supreme Court’s Obamacare acrobatics should dispel for good the comforting illusion that we can rely on judges to save us. Whether on socialized medicine, executive amnesty, or any other action which erodes our Constitution and the authority of Congress, conservatives will have to rally the everyday voting citizen. There is no greater power than winning the trust and loyalty of the American people. We will need to put down the donor agenda, pick up the banner of the American worker, and carry it to victory.”

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Congressman Bradley Byrne (R-Montrose) issued the following statement regarding today’s King v. Burwell Supreme Court decision: 

“Today’s ruling does not change the fact that Obamacare is an unworkable law that is hurting far too many families across Southwest Alabama and the United States. I will continue to push for a full repeal of the law and work toward patient-centered health care solutions that aren’t run by the federal government.”

Congressman Byrne has introduced legislation that would repeal Obamacare in its entirety.  Byrne’s legislation passed the House and is now pending action in the Senate.

Alabama Republican Party Chair Terry Lathan wrote, “The nightmare continues for America with the United States Supreme Court upholding parts of the wildly unpopular Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare.” This destructive legislation forced upon Americans pertaining to their health care and health insurance is an abomination and a plight on our nation. America is the most loving country in the world and our citizens should have access to superb health care, but this legislation is an albatross of government intervention and bureaucracy. It has little to do with care and mostly to do with more legislative strangleholds and controlling our daily lives.”

Alabama Congresswoman Terri Sewell (D-Selma) said the decision was, “A victory for access to quality and affordable healthcare. Millions of Americans can finally breathe a sigh of relief. An estimated 6.4 million Americans will be able to keep their health insurance, including 17,000 people in my district.”

Congressman Gary Palmer (R-Hoover) commented, “I’ve long been an advocate for repealing this unworkable and unaffordable law. Today’s decision by SCOTUS makes it even more imperative that Congress work to fully repeal it.  As far as the opinion is concerned, I agree with Justice Scalia when he writes in dissent, ‘The Court holds that when the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act says, ‘Exchange established by the State’ it means, ‘Exchange established by the State or the Federal Government.’ That is of course quite absurd, and the Court’s 21 pages of explanation make it no less so …. This Court, however, concludes that this limitation would prevent the rest of the Act from working as well as hoped. So it rewrites the law to make tax credits available everywhere. We should start calling this law SCOTUScare.”

Congressman Robert Aderholt (R-Haleyville) said, “I am extremely disappointed with the Supreme Court’s decision today concerning Obamacare subsidies. The Supreme Court continues to see gray when it comes to the black letter of the law as written in Obamacare’s base text in the Affordable Care Act. If you look at the way the Democrats actually wrote the law, it seems to be very clear that subsidies were not available for those in the federal exchanges. This was not a typo. The language was written as it was written.”

Congressman Mike Rogers (R-Saks) wrote, “Obamacare may have passed the legal test but it still fails East Alabama families and job creators. This flawed law increases costs and limits choices in healthcare. I will continue to fight for its full repeal and to replace it with common sense solutions.” 

Congresswoman Martha Roby (R-Montgomery) wrote, “So many people across the nation and throughout Alabama have been negatively affected by this law. Under Obamacare, many lost the health plans they liked. Many were forced to go to different doctors, to say nothing of the doctors who stopped practicing altogether. Premiums skyrocketed, and many middle class families are now impacted by new taxes, fees and penalties.” 

Republican presidential candidate and former US Senator Rick Santorum (R-Pennsylvania) said: “Today’s ruling by the Supreme Court is yet another reminder that if we are to rid our nation of Obamacare once and for all, we need to elected a conservative President prepared to lead on day one.  As President, I will be committed to repealing the monstrosity of Obamacare and replacing it with a patient-centered program that puts people first, not the government.”

Republican presidential candidate and former Florida Governor Jeb Bush said, “I am disappointed in the Burwell decision, but this is not the end of the fight against ObamaCare.”

State Representative Tim Wadsworth (R-Winston County) said, “Alabamians will continue to receive Federal subsidiaries even though Alabama has Federal exchange as opposed to State exchange.”

State Representative Mack Butler (R-Rainbow City) said, “Supreme Court upholds Obamacare subsides. Our Founding Fathers are rolling over in their graves.”

Gov. Bentley said, “The Supreme Court had an opportunity to repair what I, as a physician, have always believed, that the Affordable Care Act is deeply flawed and does little to help improve the health of our citizens. As a physician and Governor of one of the 34 states that did not establish a state-based healthcare exchange, I agree with Justice Scalia in his dissent that states are clearly not the federal government and that definition of a state shouldn’t be rewritten for the purpose of this law. I believe the ACA is, at its core, enormously expensive for families and businesses and does little to address the health care issues we face in our State and Nation.”

Chair Lathan said, “No American should be forced to sign up or buy health insurance that is not their choice. This alone is enough to remind us all how important the elections of 2016 will be to America. We must reverse this course, starting by removing Democrats from the White House all the way down to our county courthouses. Let us never forget the words of Barack Obama when he and the Democrats forced their will on all of America: ‘If you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor. If you like your health care plan, you can keep your health care plan.’ America now knows this was a prescription for disaster and a blatant falsehood.” 

Rep. Roby said, “I have repeatedly voted to repeal Obamacare and replace it with patient-centered health care that isn’t run by the government. This ruling does not change my commitment to working to replace the president’s health care law with policies that make sense.  It does show how important it is for us to elect a president who will uphold the rule of law and appoint Supreme Court justices who will do the same.”

Santorum continued, “I am the one candidate in this race who has taken on the Clinton Machine on the issue of healthcare and won.  In my first race for the United States Senate, I defeated the author of HillaryCare in a campaign that was led by Paul Begala and James Carville.  I am not afraid to debate Hillary Clinton on the issue of healthcare because I know that when the American people are given the choice, they will choose freedom and opportunity over a government-knows-best approach to the most personal decision in their lives.”

Jeb Bush said, “The idea that Washington, DC knows best, has been proven wrong over and over and over again. And ObamaCare is the best example of it in modern times.” 

Chairwoman Lathan said, “The Affordable Care Act is neither affordable nor about care and today’s ruling by the United States Supreme Court ensures that this bureaucratic overreach will continue to inflict harm to the free market and keep the federal government between you and your doctor.”

Bush concluded, “I don’t believe we should have employer mandates, employee mandates, or health care mandates that make health care insurance so extraordinarily expensive.  Any family will tell you that the premiums have gone up. What we need to have is more choices for people, empowering them to make decisions; rewarding better health care outcomes; more flexibility; less mandates – where they’re empowered to make more decisions for themselves.  So fixing this is a huge, huge challenge. And we have a duty to begin to solve these problems.” 

Lathan stated, “Obamacare can, and will, be removed from our health care system and a market-based solution to reform skyrocketing costs and focus on the individual can heal the broken system if we elect a Republican President in 2016. That is why, as Chairman of the Alabama Republican Party, I will continue to work tirelessly with all Republicans in Alabama and America towards that goal.” 

Following the decision from the Supreme Court, American Health Insurance Plans (AHIP) Interim CEO Dan Durham issued a statement: “With the certainty provided by the Supreme Court’s decision, now is the time to focus on what matters most to consumers – ensuring access to affordable coverage and high-quality health care. Health plans will continue to lead in advancing this goal.”

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