Below is a collection of reactions to Thursday’s ruling by the United States Supreme Court that the national health care legislation was, indeed, a massive tax imposed universally (unless waivers were/are granted) on the poor, middle class and wealthy alike. This feature will be updated throughout the day.
Brett Healy, MacIver Institute President
“Today can be a turning point. We do not want, nor need a society where more people are more dependent on an ever growing, ever more expensive government. Today’s decison now sets the stage for repeal and the subsequent advancement of new policies, grounded in free market principles, that can help make more affordable, higher quality care available to all Wisconsinites and all Americans.”
President Barack Obama
“The highest Court in the land has now spoken. We will continue to implement this law. And we’ll work together to improve on it where we can. But what we won’t do — what the country can’t afford to do — is refight the political battles of two years ago, or go back to the way things were.
“With today’s announcement, it’s time for us to move forward — to implement and, where necessary, improve on this law. And now is the time to keep our focus on the most urgent challenge of our time: putting people back to work, paying down our debt, and building an economy where people can have confidence that if they work hard, they can get ahead.
“But today, I’m as confident as ever that when we look back five years from now, or 10 years from now, or 20 years from now, we’ll be better off because we had the courage to pass this law and keep moving forward.”
Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker
“I continue to oppose ObamaCare.
“One of my first acts as Governor was to authorize Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen to add Wisconsin to the federal lawsuit opposing ObamaCare.
“Wisconsin will not take any action to implement ObamaCare. I am hopeful that political changes in Washington D.C. later this year ultimately end the implementation of this law at the federal level.
“If there is no political remedy from Washington and the law moves forward, it would require the majority of people in Wisconsin to pay more money for less healthcare. Additionally, it would increase the size and cost of government, decrease the quality of healthcare and, in our state, reduce access for those truly in need of assistance.
“The federal government should not tell individuals and families what to do with healthcare. The alternative is more transparency and a more active role by consumers, so we can truly control costs.”
Congressman Paul Ryan (R-WI-01)
“The federal government is tasked with protecting our cherished liberties – not infringing upon them with mandates and intrusions into our lives. Today’s ruling affirms another broken promise by President Obama, who misled the American people in selling the law by insisting that the federal mandate was not a tax.
“Despite today’s disappointing decision on the law’s constitutionality, there is no question that the law remains terrible policy. It is bad news for individuals, whose personal health care decisions are threatened by greater government control. It is bad news for workers, whose paychecks and jobs are threatened by the hundreds of billions of dollars of new tax hikes and crippling uncertainty from the massive law. It is bad news for seniors, whose health security is threatened by the bureaucratic restrictions to access from the law’s changes to Medicare. It is bad news for future generations, whose prospects for greater opportunity are stifled by the trillions of dollars of new debt that will result from this law.
“It is incumbent upon citizens and their elected leaders to clear this partisan roadblock with full repeal, and advance common-sense, patient-centered solutions. We can still ensure universal access to quality, affordable health coverage without a budget-busting federal government power grab. I remain committed to advancing reforms that realign incentives so that individuals and their doctors – not government bureaucrats or insurance company bureaucrats – are the nucleus of our health care system. This requires reforms to equalize the tax treatment of health insurance, invite true choice and competition, and ensure critical programs like Medicare and Medicaid can deliver on their promise in the 21st century.
“Today’s decision strengthens the case for repeal and replace. With the right leadership in place, I am confident we can advance real health care solutions for the American people. It is now in the hands of the American people to determine whether this disastrous law will stand.”
United States Senator Ron Johnson
“Today’s Obamacare decision establishes that there is no area of Americans’ private lives that is off limits to federal intrusion and control. Freedom took a real body blow. It is now up to Congress – and hopefully a new President – to repeal this unpopular monstrosity and replace it with free market reforms that will actually improve the quality and restrain the cost of health care in America.”
Wisconsin Department of Health Secretary Dennis Smith
“Today’s decision does not end the controversy over PPACA. It is the beginning of another chapter that will continue through the November elections. PPACA is now revealed as an enormous and aggressive tax on Americans. It will increase taxes especially on the poor. It will increase the cost of insurance on working middle class families. It will not keep the promises made by the Administration in respect to expanding health insurance coverage.
“While we will be reviewing the decision carefully to determine its full impact, Wisconsin’s health insurance market remains robust and the state has one of the highest levels of people with health insurance coverage. These achievements were made without federal mandates. Governor Walker, our Department and the Commissioner of Insurance will await the results of the November elections before taking action specific to today’s U.S. Supreme Court ruling on PPACA.”
Wisconsin Insurance Commissioner Ted Nickel
“PPACA takes a top-down approach that focuses on the federal government controlling the insurance markets in each state. From our experience in working with the federal government on this law, we know this approach is unworkable. Hopefully, this disappointing decision will help galvanize support to overturn the law in Congress.”
Wisconsin Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen
“My fundamental reason in joining this lawsuit on behalf of the State of Wisconsin was that the federal government was unconstitutionally expanding its powers, and in doing so, it was eroding the states’ sovereign ability to self govern.
“On this issue, we as states have registered a resounding victory. The Court has very clearly stated, once again, that the federal government has limits to its use of the commerce clause and that it cannot be used by the federal government to force a citizen to purchase something.
“As well, we argued that mandating the states to participate in this law or risk losing all prior Medicaid funding, was unconstitutional under the spending clause as coercive. The Court agreed. States will now have much greater latitude to determine the scope of their Medicaid program.
“While the decision upholds the Affordable Care Act, it is a tremendous victory for re-establishing Constitutional limits on the power of the federal government. It should be clear that this ruling vindicates the states’ legal arguments. This will be studied for years to come as a landmark decision that promotes federalism and limited government.”
State Congresswoman Tammy Baldwin (D-WI-02)
“Today’s ruling by justices appointed by Presidents of both parties is an independent legal judgment. It is now time to come together and make this work. I disagree with those who want to rip up the decision of an independent court and start over.
“I am committed to continuing my work across party lines to make reform work and if there are bipartisan solutions that strengthen reform, we should work together to move them forward.
“I have previously authored bipartisan, health care reform legislation with Congressman Tom Price (R-GA) that earned broad co-sponsorship from 36 Republicans and 44 Democrats. I remain a willing partner to work across the political divide to advance bi-partisan solutions and protect the gains we have made for the people of Wisconsin.
“I believe middle class families should have the peace of mind knowing they will have access to quality, affordable health care, regardless of any pre-existing condition. I believe Wisconsin small business owners should receive assistance to provide health coverage to their employees, allowing them to be more competitive in the global marketplace.
“I believe seniors should continue to have access to free preventive care, as well as affordable access to prescription drugs under Medicare.
“And I believe that it is the right thing to do to allow over 6 million young people who now have health care to stay on their parents’ health care coverage.”
State Representatives Scott Suder (R-Abbotsford) and Robin Vos (R- Rochester)
“At a time when we are finally creating jobs and moving Wisconsin forward economically, the last thing we need are additional taxes and more government. We should be encouraging companies to expand and create jobs, not adding uncertainty,
massive tax increases and job-killing rules and regulations.
“Assembly Republicans will continue to do everything we can to oppose this flawed law and support our colleagues in Washington who are fighting to repeal and replace it. We also stand by Governor Walker’s decision to stay any action to implement Obamacare before the November election.”
State Senator Mark MIller (D- Monona)
“This ruling is a huge victory for the people of Wisconsin. It means insurance companies can no longer deny people coverage for pre-existing conditions or stop covering someone when they get sick. Under this law the hundreds of thousands of Wisconsin residents without health care coverage will soon have access to affordable care.
“Now that we know this is the law of the land, it is time for our state to put together a health care exchange. It’s unfortunate that so far Governor Walker has said he will not immediately start planning for a Wisconsin health care exchange. I am hopeful he will change his mind and start working with the legislature soon on a plan.
“Waiting for the November elections is nothing more than another irresponsible political game. How many times will Governor Walker kick the can down the road with the future of Wisconsin’s health care system on the line? Just how long does Governor Walker intend to make the people of Wisconsin and the health care industry in Wisconsin wait for a plan?
“The Chief Justice of the Supreme Court has said this law is constitutional and should go forward. It’s time for Wisconsin to act.”
NFIB Wisconsin State Director Bill Smith
“The tragedy in this ruling is that Wisconsin residents are now at the mercy of politicians from other states and bureaucrats in Washington whose decisions won’t be based on what is best for Wisconsin. Small businesses here will be overwhelmed by mandates, taxes and burdens imposed on them by people whom we cannot as easily hold accountable.”
Speaker of the House of Representatives John Bohner (R-OH)
“The president’s health care law is hurting our economy by driving up health costs and making it harder for small businesses to hire. Today’s ruling underscores the urgency of repealing this harmful law in its entirety. What Americans want is a common-sense, step-by-step approach to health care reform that will protect Americans’ access to the care they need, from the doctor they choose, at a lower cost. Republicans stand ready to work with a president who will listen to the people and will not repeat the mistakes that gave our country ObamaCare.”
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA)
“This decision is a victory for the American people. With this ruling, Americans will benefit from critical patient protections, lower costs for the middle class, more coverage for families, and greater accountability for the insurance industry.”