* 9:37 am - As you’re probably seeing around the Web, the US Supreme Court has upheld most of the “Obamacare” law. From the SCOTUS Blog…
In Plain English: The Affordable Care Act, including its individual mandate that virtually all Americans buy health insurance, is constitutional.
There were not five votes to uphold it on the ground that Congress could use its power to regulate commerce between the states to require everyone to buy health insurance. However, five Justices agreed that the penalty that someone must pay if he refuses to buy insurance is a kind of tax that Congress can impose using its taxing power. That is all that matters.
Because the mandate survives, the Court did not need to decide what other parts of the statute were constitutional, except for a provision that required states to comply with new eligibility requirements for Medicaid or risk losing their funding. On that question, the Court held that the provision is constitutional as long as states would only lose new funds if they didn’t comply with the new requirements, rather than all of their funding.
The full opinion is here. [Fixed link.]
* 10:33 am - State react is coming in. Sen. Bill Brady…
State Senator Bill Brady issued the following statement following the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to uphold key provisions of the federal Affordable Health Care Act, commonly referred to as “Obamacare”:
“Unfortunately, the court’s ruling will have tragic consequences that will spread well beyond the issue of mandatory insurance and health care services. It will drive up health care costs and put yet another financial burden on our already struggling small businesses. We in Illinois will be exploring avenues available for implementing this sweeping law and still providing the greatest options and lowest cost for our families and businesses.”
Brady (R., Bloomington) co-chaired a legislative study committee on the formation of a state health insurance exchange as part of Illinois’ implementation of the law.
* 10:39 am - Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle…
“I applaud today’s decision by the United States Supreme Court upholding the Affordable Care Act.
“In accordance with this historic ruling, the Cook County Health and Hospitals System will continue to seek a 1115 Medicaid Waiver from the work Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. This waiver, if approved by the federal government, would permit CCHHS to receive federal reimbursement for the costs of treatment provided to the tens of thousands of our patients who currently have no medical coverage but will gain access to Medicaid on January 1, 2014.
“CCHHS is the foundation of the safety-net health network in northeastern Illinois. Today’s decision by the Supreme Court will allow our system to proactively prepare for Affordable Care Act implementation in 2014.”
* Illinois Hospital Association…
The Illinois Hospital Association (IHA) applauds the United States Supreme Court decision to uphold the Affordable Care Act. Illinois hospitals have long supported the expansion of coverage for the uninsured and reforms to eliminate exclusions for pre-existing conditions and coverage caps to improve the health and well-being of Illinoisans.
Strong communities start with healthy communities. Because of this legislation, people in Illinois will no longer have a diminished quality of life, be at risk of dying merely because they lack health insurance, or be forced into bankruptcy because of a devastating diagnosis.
While many organizations have been waiting for this ruling to act on health care reform initiatives, Illinois hospitals already have been working to transform health care by being more accountable and transparent. Through the IHA Quality Care Institute, Illinois hospitals are implementing quality improvement programs, improving patient safety and infection control, and reducing unnecessary utilization and readmissions. The goal is to create new and efficient models of health care delivery to improve outcomes and lower costs.
In partnership with Governor Quinn and the General Assembly, IHA will continue to help guide Illinois hospitals through the intricacies of health care reform including the implementation of the Illinois Health Insurance Exchange. With the health care reform law upheld, we urge the General Assembly to pass legislation authorizing and establishing the insurance exchange.
* Congressman Quigley…
“I applaud the Supreme Court’s decision to uphold health care reform and protect millions of our most vulnerable Americans. Now it’s time to put labels and political rhetoric aside and remember what this is about. An insurance company can no longer deny coverage to the 17 million children with a preexisting condition. Seniors no longer have to choose between paying the rent or buying their prescriptions. And college students will no longer lose their insurance on graduation day. It is our responsibility to provide access to affordable health care to Americans, and today’s victory should bring peace of mind to families across our country.”
* Campaign for Better Health Care…
“Today’s Supreme Court decision helps to strengthen our nation’s tattered social fabric and provides hope that constitutional law and democracy matters,” commented Jim Duffett, Executive Director of the Campaign for Better Health Care.
Duffett continues, “It is time for the obstructionists in the Republican Party in Congress and in Springfield, and a handful of insurance industry backed Democrats in Springfield to stop their crusade against Obamacare. It is time to put America and Illinois first, act like adults, and do something positive for a change that will help small businesses and hard working Americans by implementing Obamacare. Meanwhile, we are urging Governor Quinn to immediately sign an Executive Order and begin implementing the new insurance Marketplace (exchange) so Illinois’ hard working families and small businesses will continue to enjoy the benefits of access to affordable, quality health care.”
Duffett concludes, “Thank you Obamacare and thank you President Obama for keeping your word and delivering for the American people. The United States can now join the rest of the sane western industrial world that provides affordable, accessible and quality health care to its people.”
* 10th CD Democratic nominee Brad Schneider…
“Today’s decision affirmed that all Americans should and will have access to quality and affordable healthcare. After nearly two decades working with family-owned companies, I know we still need to improve the law, working to lower costs for small businesses and their employees. But we can’t afford to go backwards as some Tea Party Republicans in Washington are threatening to repeal the health care law and give insurance companies free reign to abuse consumers. In Congress, I will work to ensure that small businesses can receive tax credits for covering their employees, that young adults can stay on their parent’s health plan, and that denial of coverage for preexisting conditions is a thing of the past.”
* Congressman Schilling…
“Like many folks throughout Illinois’ 17th Congressional District I’m disappointed by today’s ruling, but the fact is that the President’s health care law will cost trillions of dollars while doing absolutely nothing to address the rising cost of health care,” Schilling said. “The opportunity remains for folks in Washington to come together in support of policies that address the rising cost of health care and put patients and their doctors back in charge of health care decisions, without this tax. I will continue working to roll back the harmful parts of this law so we can get health care reform done right. We can start over and in a transparent fashion work to enact bipartisan, step-by-step reforms that guarantee folks in Illinois and throughout the country are able to access health care that is affordable, convenient, and high quality.”
* 10:55 am - Illinois State Medical Society…
After months of uncertainty the U.S. Supreme Court has today affirmed the Affordable Care Act. It is good news that Illinoisans will have the responsibility and tools for obtaining health insurance coverage. It is also positive to note that important coverage provisions, such as the protection against denial for pre-existing conditions, remain in place. However, much work is needed before we can truly call our health system “reformed.”
Among the significant remaining challenges are:
Medicare Payment Reform – Our Medicare program’s financial health edges closer to a cliff each day Congress fails to enact reform. Currently, physicians face an across-the-board reimbursement cut of about 30% on January 1, 2013. Without Medicare payment reform, our Medicare patients’ access to care is in peril.
Medicaid Reform – We are still reviewing the section of the opinion that deals with Medicaid. The Affordable Care Act builds coverage through significant Medicaid expansion. This is not a sensible policy in states such as Illinois with struggling Medicaid programs. Patients already receiving care through Medicaid face hurdles that those with other forms of insurance do not. Illinois’ current Medicaid reimbursement levels rank behind 40 states when compared to the Medicare fee schedule. The ACA provides for a temporary and limited Medicaid reimbursement increase, but more must be done to fix this program.
Medical Liability Reform – Despite a dire need for reform, Illinois courts have struck down strong medical liability protections here on more than one occasion. Federal reform is needed to help Illinois with our medical workforce recruiting. Currently, half of physicians who train here leave after residency. Two-thirds of those who depart cite our liability climate among their chief reasons for leaving. National physician supply projections suggest we will soon have an inadequate number of doctors to meet the needs of our patients. Illinois needs medical liability reform as a component of a comprehensive policy to address our medical workforce needs.
Until we address these issues, our journey toward a sensible and cost-effective health care system is far from over. ISMS has developed our Health Care Reform Principles to assist Congress in crossing the finish line with health reform. We urge them to roll up their sleeves and finish the job.
* Congressman Dold…
“While this ruling speaks to the constitutionality of the ACA, the real question is whether the 2010 law makes for good public policy,” said Congressman Dold. “The American people missed a golden opportunity with health care reform when Congress rushed it through on a partisan basis. I believe that properly confronting the big issues and challenges in this country requires input from both sides and bipartisan support. There are positive provisions in the ACA that should remain as law, but there is more we can do to increase quality and access to care, while reining in skyrocketing costs to the health care system. As health care reform continues to take shape, I am committed to working in a bipartisan way to find positive solutions to the rising costs of health care.”
* Where the states stand, via the AP…
NUMBER OF UNINSURED: 1,914,000 state residents are uninsured, or about 15 percent.
WHERE THE STATE STANDS: Illinois has received three federal grants to study and start building its health insurance exchange, but the Legislature has failed to pass a law establishing it. Gov. Pat Quinn, a Democrat, has considered an executive order to do that, but now may pursue a federal-state partnership instead.
* 11:20 am - US Sen. Mark Kirk…
“While I respect the Court’s decision, the health care law threatens our economic recovery by raising taxes, imposing new regulations and creating a drag on the economy,” said Senator Kirk. “Congress should repeal the health care law and replace it with common sense, centrist reforms that give Americans the right to buy insurance across state lines and expand coverage without raising taxes, while blocking the government from coming between patients and their doctors.”
* 12th CD Republican candidate Jason Plummer…
“The Supreme Court’s decision today does not change the fact that Obamacare is an unworkable and unaffordable piece of legislation that is not right for the American people,” Plummer said. “The Court’s ruling that the individual mandate is unconstitutional and a tax goes against everything the President and his allies said as they were trying to pass the law, and puts an increased burden on working families.
“This bill must be repealed before it causes any more damage to the economy. Not only does it cut $500 billion from the Medicare program, but it also raises taxes on the middle class in the midst of a recession,” Plummer added. “Estimates from the Congressional Budget Office have even shown that the legislation could reduce employment by 800,000 workers.
“The American people need true healthcare reform, not government-run healthcare. Doctors and families need to be in charge of making healthcare decisions, not unelected bureaucrats. We need to continue the fight to repeal this law and then work together to pass true healthcare reform in a transparent manner than helps improve individuals’ coverage and gets costs under control for all Americans.” [Emphasis added.]
* 11:26 am - The NCSL has a great summary of the decision. Click here to see it.
Gov. Quinn is “thrilled” with the Supreme Court’s ruling upholding President Obama’s health care law, his aides said Thursday.
The governor is expected to hold a news conference this afternoon and provide further reaction.
* Congressman Roskam…
“The Supreme Court’s ruling examined the Constitutionality of the health care law, but the Justices could not take into account the practicality or effectiveness of a government takeover of our health care system and one-sixth of our economy—on that score, the verdict was in long ago.
“The American people are disappointed in this law and fearful of its full effects because so far, the rhetoric does not match up to the reality. Remember when the president said, ‘If you like what you have, you can keep it?’ Some estimates say up to 30 percent of employers will definitely drop their employee health coverage, forcing many into state exchanges.
“Remember when we were promised the law would lower costs? Family premiums have already increased by 9 percent, with costs predicted to rise for years to come. And what of the promise that the law would bend the cost curve down? Recent studies show that government spending is expected to explode to half of all health care spending in the United States. One of the few promises that came true was when then Speaker Nancy Pelosi said, ‘We have to pass the law to find out what’s in it.’
“President Obama’s takeover not only made our health care system more complex and expensive, but stalled our already tepid economic recovery by creating tremendous uncertainty for job creators and small businesses.
“The House of Representatives is as committed as ever to full repeal of the disastrous health care law, and replacing it with common-sense, patient-centered solutions that families can afford. The American people deserve better than what President Obama’s health care law provides. We can do better and we will do better.”
* More from the Right…
John Tillman, executive director of the Illinois Policy Institute, a right-leaning think tank, disagreed, saying the Affordable Care Act will strain the health-care system as the federal government struggles to come up with the money to pay for it. Tillman said the law as is will force “children with throat cancer or other serious conditions to compete with even more people for fewer and fewer doctors.” […]
“The Supreme Court’s decision to uphold ObamaCare – and specifically the individual mandate – was a severe blow to restoring Constitutional limits on federal power,” Tillman said. “Congress must repeal all of ObamaCare and replace it with reforms that put patients first.”
Even if the law survives additional attacks, Thursday’s ruling was only the start.
“It is impossible to enact the act as written,” Robert Slayton, president of the Illinois State Association of Health Underwriters, which lobbies on behalf of health insurers, said. Congress “will spend the next 10 years modifying the act to make it work the way it needs to work.”
* Excerpted from an SEIU Healthcare release…
Now that the court – in an opinion authored by its conservative Chief Justice – has given its seal of approval to this law, the time has come for Republicans to put the economic interests of working families ahead of the political interest of their party. The time has come for a bipartisan commitment in Washington to fully implement the Affordable Care Act, so we can help cure the ailing U.S. economy.
We call on Illinois’ Republican Congressional delegation to join in that commitment. Any energy spent on a futile and time-consuming effort to repeal the Affordable Care Act will only divert attention away from the issue foremost on the minds of Illinois residents: our state’s economic recovery.
And the Affordable Care Act will be instrumental in aiding the state’s economy by making health care more affordable and accessible. For instance, in Illinois alone, the law as already generated the following rewards:
Ø More than 3.6 million residents became entitled to preventative medical services, such as mammograms and colonoscopies, without having to pay deductibles or co-pays.
Ø More than 100,000 uninsured young adults under the age of 26 became eligible for coverage under the parents’ health insurance.
Ø More than 150,000 seniors with Medicare received a $250 rebate to cover the cost of their prescription drugs once they hit the so-called donut hole.
* 11:56 am - Congressman Joe Walsh…
“Today, I, along with most Americans, am disappointed with the Supreme Court decision. It is now clear that the only way to repeal this law is legislatively,” Walsh said. “Today’s decision only affirms what we have known all along - the President’s health care plan is a massive tax increase. The President insisted that his health care plan would not cost the American people anything, but that is just untrue. To be clear, this is not a tax on wealthy Americans who already have insurance. This tax hits the 44 million uninsured Americans, who are already struggling and cannot afford to pay more hard-earned income in taxes.
“The American people deserve a choice in their health care plans, not government mandates. The President’s health care plan is an unworkable mega-bill that will destroy small businesses, kill jobs, stunt economic growth, and bankrupt the nation.
“My opponent, Tammy Duckworth, a true tax-and-spend liberal, supports this new tax on the Middle Class. In fact, not only does Tammy support the President’s current tax and spend health care plan, but she is on record supporting a single-payer socialized system. I, however, will make it my top priority to repeal this massive tax increase and the President’s entire health care plan.
“As a new member of Congress, I turned down my gold-plated Congressional health care plan. Instead, I chose to buy my insurance on the open market, and I know firsthand how difficult it is to find affordable, quality health insurance. The Supreme Court’s decision has finally ended the debate in Washington. The American people will decide where we get from here.”
* 12:36 pm - Comptroller Topinka…
Illinois Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka warned lawmakers on Thursday that the Supreme Court’s ruling on the federal Affordable Care Act could lead to hundreds of thousands of new residents enrolling for Medicaid coverage, and cost the state up to $2.4 billion over the next six years.
The forewarning from the state Fiscal Officer comes after the Court ruled that the federal government can tax residents that do not have health insurance. Given the decision, uninsured residents that qualify for Medicaid are expected to increasingly enroll in the program, and cost the state up to $2.4 billion over six years in the process.
“There is no doubt that this will cost the state, the only question is how much?” Topinka said. “We have thousands of residents around the state that are eligible for Medicaid but have never enrolled for one reason or another. We expect they will increasingly come forward, and I urge lawmakers to start saving now for those added costs.”
Medicaid currently accounts for more than 20 percent of the state budget and continues to grow. Underfunded, the program will end the fiscal year June 30 with an estimated $2 billion in unpaid bills. In an attempt to address those realities, members of the General Assembly this Spring voted to limit services and cut an estimated $2 billion from the program.
“Illinois is a textbook example of what can happen if financial challenges are not proactively addressed,” Topinka said. “The state needs to learn from experience, and take steps today to address the increased Medicaid costs that will occur in coming months and years.”
* 2:23 pm - I’m just getting back from a late lunch, but this came in around 1:30. Democratic congressional candidate Tammy Duckworth…
“As someone who survived a serious health crisis I understand how important it is to have affordable and quality healthcare. The ruling today is a victory for children with preexisting conditions who can’t be denied coverage, women who can’t be charged a higher premium, seniors who won’t suddenly find themselves without coverage, and young adults who will be covered under their parents until they are 26. However, I’m still concerned that ACA places an unfair burden on employers, especially our small businesses. We will need to evaluate these provisions as we move forward. I look forward to getting to Washington, rolling up my sleeves and getting to work.”
* Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky…
“Today is a historic day when the Supreme Court declared that the Affordable Care Act and the health security it brings is the law of the land. With President Obama’s leadership, Congress enacted the most significant law in half a century. The law ends insurance industry abuses in the health system, improves Medicare and Medicaid for seniors and the disabled, and covers millions of uninsured Americans. Today, Republicans need to finally put to rest the relentless, partisan attacks against a landmark law that is already working to provide affordable, high-quality care.
Over 86 million Americans have already received one or more free preventive services because of Obamacare, while 6.6 million young adults up to age 26 have taken advantage of the law to obtain health insurance through their parents’ plan. This positive decision by the nation’s highest court in the land should resolve any doubts that Congress can and should act to ensure that Americans get the health care they need at a price they can afford. It will allow us to move forward and maintain our commitment to real health care security.
Today’s Supreme Court decision is a victory for Illinoisans like 11-year old Olivia, who suffered a stroke at birth and no longer endures private insurance company abuses like pre-existing condition exclusions. Thanks to Obamacare, up to 17 million children nationwide with pre-existing conditions are no longer denied coverage by insurers and being a woman is no longer a pre-existing condition. Today is a victory for Illinois seniors like Ann, who is saving about $1200 this year because Obamacare is lowering her drug costs and closing the Medicare donut hole. Over 5 million American seniors in the ‘donut hole’ have saved $3.7 billion on their prescription drugs, including 152,170 Illinois seniors.
When Obamacare is fully implemented, exclusions for pre-existing conditions like cancer, heart disease, and AIDS will be a thing of the past. No longer will families be bankrupt because someone gets sick. People with mental illness will get the care they need.
Today is a day for celebration. Tomorrow we will get back to work ensuring that every American can take advantage of the benefits of Obamacare and have access to affordable, comprehensive and high quality health care. ”
* State Rep. ason Barickman (R-Champaign)…
“I stand with my colleagues at the Congressional level and here in Illinois in support of repealing Obamacare. The American people have in large part rejected the components of Obamacare and have repeatedly stated that they do not want their personal healthcare decisions to be dictated by Washington politicians. We need responsible health care reform that allows families to choose their own physician and have access to the care they need.
Obamacare has only acted to make our economic problems worse. The President’s health care initiative imposed burdensome regulations on our jobs providers, making it more difficult for small businesses to hire workers. We continue to see health care costs rise at unaffordable levels for Illinois families under Obamacare. This law will drastically limit our ability to manage state finances and implement the necessary cost controls to our health care programs that are needed to erase our multi-billion dollar budget deficit.
Today’s decision is another reminder that the best way to insure a limited and fiscally responsible government is at the ballot box this November.”
When Barack Obama ran for President, he promised no tax increases on the middle class. But the only way he could convince the Supreme Court to approve ObamaCare was to call it a new “tax.” Promise made – Promise Broken.
This comes as no surprise since Barack Obama spent his formative political years in Springfield being trained by Illinois Democrats like Mike Madigan, who through years of mismanagement, have led Illinois to having the worst budget deficit, credit rating, pension debt and business climate in the nation – and last year a 67% Tax Hike in the middle of the night on the last day of a lame duck session of the state legislature after many of his party members promised to oppose any such tax hike. Promise Made – Promise Broken.
It’s now up to us, the voters, to stop these reckless tax hikes and spending schemes that will lead to the implosion of our health care system, an explosion of our national and state debt and economic uncertainty for millions of job creators.
Here in Illinois, we are leading the fight by opening victory centers throughout the state to help elect more anti-tax Republicans to Washington and Springfield to keep Nancy Pelosi from becoming Speaker again and to end the decades-long rule of Mike Madigan, who is more interested in raising taxes and lining his pockets from his campaign contributors and law firm clients than he is in turning around our economy through fiscally conservative, pro-economic growth policies.
Our Victory Centers in 2010 led the nation in calls made and doors knocked on to reverse the Democratic tide right in Barack Obama’s own home state and we can continue the momentum in 2012 – with your help.
Please go to ILGOPDonate.com to make a quick, secure online donation to help stop the ObamaCare/Madigan Tax Hikes. For a long-term, sustaining commitment, you can become a member at ILGOPMember.com
Please give whatever you can afford – every donation helps our cause!
* House GOP Leader Tom Cross…
“We have made tremendous efforts this year in Illinois to reduce our state run healthcare program, because we could no longer afford to provide the services that were once promised. Today’s Supreme Court decision affirms a federal law that has the potential to pile billions of dollars of additional expenses into our state budget that we cannot afford. We are encouraging Congress to repeal Obamacare at the federal level as soon as possible, and provide Illinois the ability to administer an efficient Medicaid program.”
* Senate Republican Leader Christine Radogno…
“While the U.S. Supreme Court has settled the legal argument, the debate over whether it is good policy or not will continue for months. We will be very carefully reviewing the decision for opportunities to reduce any negative impact of the Affordable Care Act and its tax on Illinois citizens. The Senate Republican Caucus has worked to cut costs in the state’s Medicaid program – targeting the waste, fraud and abuse that costs taxpayers hundreds of millions each year.”
* Gov. Pat Quinn…
“Today is a great day for Illinois and a great day for our country. This decision means that millions of working families across Illinois will continue to receive better healthcare.
“These historic reforms that are strengthening our healthcare system will continue to benefit young people, those with pre-existing conditions and care providers.
“We took a big step forward today as a nation and state, and I will continue to work with President Obama to help working families get the healthcare coverage they need.”