Congressional reaction to Supreme Court ruling

Congressional reaction to Supreme Court ruling

Illinois Republicans already in Congress or hoping to get there vowed Thursday to repeal the Affordable Care Act upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court, while one Democratic candidate said the law doesn't go far enough.

Opponents of the health care reform law said they were surprised and disappointed by the court's decision, which upheld major provisions, including the mandate requiring individuals to buy health insurance.

"This law takes away our rights as individuals to make choices about our finances and personal freedoms, like whether or not to buy insurance," said U.S. Rep. John Shimkus, R-Collinsville, a member of the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health.

He said the plan will raise premiums and taxes. Shimkus said legislators were "deceitful" when they argued during congressional debate that the bill wasn't a tax but later defended it based on the government's power to tax, the basis of the court's ruling.

His Democratic opponent for the newly redrawn 15th Congressional District, Angela Michael, could not be reached for comment Thursday.

But Dr. David Gill, a Democrat running for the 13th Congressional District seat now held by Republican Rep. Timothy Johnson, said the ruling ensures that important health care gains will be preserved. Those include prohibiting insurance companies from denying coverage to patients with pre-existing conditions, allowing parents to keep their children insured until age 26, and ending lifetime caps on insurance coverage.

He saluted Obama for getting Washington to focus on the issue but pledged to fix "flaws" in the act if elected.

Gill, an emergency room and family practice physician, supports expanding Medicare — the government insurance program for older Americans — to people of any age.

He said it was a mistake to design a plan that forces Americans to buy insurance from for-profit insurance companies. Medicare is more cost-efficient than private insurance companies, doesn't profit by denying care, and ensures a secure retirement for millions of seniors, Gill said.

Rodney Davis, the Republican candidate for Johnson's congressional seat, said he would try to repeal the act if elected, calling it "a $2.6 trillion boondoggle" that represents a massive tax increase on middle-class Americans.

"Nothing has changed. In fact, this issue defines the importance of this election," Davis said.

Johnson, R-Champaign, issued a statement saying the court's ruling must be respected but called the Affordable Care Act "ill-conceived, overly broad and burdensome for American taxpayers."

"The goal was to lower health care costs and expand access, and I believe it does neither," he said.

The law contains no incentives for preventive care, the best way to lower health costs, he said.

"Further, the taxing provisions will act as another disincentive to job creation at a time we are already on the brink of recession," he said.

Republicans said they prefer market-based reforms to lower costs, increase choice, expand the number of insured Americans and let people "keep the health care they want," as Johnson put it.

Shimkus said he would support allowing individuals to deduct the cost of insurance like businesses do, allowing insurance to be sold across state lines, creating state and regional high-risk pools, and passing medical liability reform.

Davis called for a "market-based health care safety net" to address those who are uninsured or underinsured, and increased use of health savings accounts so that patients become better health care consumers rather than letting doctors and insurance companies set rates.

"The solution is not to create a government-run HMO," he said.

Davis said he has a friend with a high insurance deductible who needed knee surgery but couldn't find a doctor who'd tell him how much it would cost.

But Gill said a market-based system is what the U.S. has had for decades, arguing that health care is a different kind of commodity.

"When I'm seeing a patient whose appendix is inflamed, he doesn't have time to call around pricing appendectomies. Even if he did, it would be hard to get a straight answer" because of all the providers involved, from the hospital to the surgeon and radiologist, he said.

"It just doesn't lend itself to market policies. It never has, and it never will," he said.

Republicans in the House plan to call another vote on the law after the July Fourth recess to try overturning it, but Shimkus acknowledged that's unlikely in the Democrat-controlled Senate. He's hopeful voters will respond on Election Day.

Gill said any talk of repealing the law is "obstructionism" at this point. He believes voters care more about the economy and jobs, though health care is intertwined with the country's economy.

"Until you finally enact meaningful health care reform, in which we don't bow down before a private health insurance industry whose main mission is not the provision of health care but the maximization of investor return ... we're missing a golden opportunity to make a big step forward," Gill said.

Comments embraces discussion of both community and world issues. We welcome you to contribute your ideas, opinions and comments, but we ask that you avoid personal attacks, vulgarity and hate speech. We reserve the right to remove any comment at our discretion, and we will block repeat offenders' accounts. To post comments, you must first be a registered user, and your username will appear with any comment you post. Happy posting.

Login or register to post comments

cbrads334 wrote on June 29, 2012 at 9:06 am
Profile Picture

I find it odd that so many people are against the health care act.  You are required to buy homeowner's insurance, as well as vehicle insurance.  How is this really any different?

There will be a tax credit to offset the expense of purchasing a policy, for both individuals and small businesses.

It will keep those of us who are already paying for a policy from having to absorb the costs of the uninsured.

I'm sorry if you'd rather spend your money on toys and entertainment.  It isn't fair to the taxpayers who do carry insurance to have to pay (rolled in to hospital/doctor costs) for YOU simply because you seem to feel you're invincible.  I'm glad many people are in good health, but one never knows when an accident will happen, or a life-threatening illness will occur.

You say you can't afford it?  Perhaps you should check your expenses to see what you are spending your money on.  Cable t.v., eating out, alcohol or tobacco?  Time to see what the priorities really are.  If you're truly in a state of not being able to afford insurance, apply for Medicaid.

I wish they had initiated a single-payer plan, like virtually all of the other first world countries have, rather than a plan where you are paying a for-profit company to insure your health needs.  However, it is much better than nothing at all.

Also, don't forget, this plan was modelled after MITT ROMNEY'S Massachusetts plan when he was governor.  He did do one good thing for the country with that.

billyh23 wrote on June 29, 2012 at 10:06 am

see, this is how uninformed people really are!!

You don't need home owners insurance if you don't OWN a home!!!

Furthermore, if you don't owe anything on your mortgage ( house paid for )

you are NOT required to have insurance !!!!!!!!


rsp wrote on June 29, 2012 at 11:06 am

If you pay rent? You're paying for the insurance for someone else. It's one of the expenses you add up that help you decide how much to charge.

billyh23 wrote on June 29, 2012 at 11:06 am

if you don't have a car, you don't have to have auto insurance!!!!

Sid Saltfork wrote on June 29, 2012 at 1:06 pm

You have a life.  Is that worth insuring through health insurance?  If you don't have insurance, it means that the rest of us pay higher premiums to cover your health care when you need it.

billyh23 wrote on June 29, 2012 at 4:06 pm

it would be great if that were a choice !!

I could make my own decision. now the government

has decided what is best for me. Next the president will tell me that

i need to eat certain foods, and drink certain drinks .

Wake up America, your freedoms are being taken away bit by bit.

Lostinspace wrote on July 05, 2012 at 10:07 am

The government requires drivers to stop for a stop sign.  If you don't drive, you don't have to stop. But you're probably glad that people do stop.  It is enforced civility.  In most cases, one can choose to be civil or not.  In some, it is imposed.

The problems with universal coverage are (1) that, as with taxes, the burden will fall on the middle class and (2) there hasn't been much discussion about controlling ridiculous medical costs. 

Mark Taylor wrote on July 05, 2012 at 6:07 pm

That's ding dang right. The govermint is just days away from coming into your home and telling you what you can and cannot eat. I read it online, so I know it's true.

While I can't list a single 'freedom' I've lost, I just know in my gut I've lost freedom after freedom after freedom since ObaMAO stole that dang election. We've lost so many freedoms, nevermind that I can't actually name one.


natebaux wrote on June 29, 2012 at 5:06 pm

actually, you pay higher premiums because of the truckloads of cash thats dumped on the legislature to give the insurance companies control of us all. the costs for service has skyrocketed, which leads into the root of the problem, which is a fiat monetary system. we all get poorer and poorer, while the goverment siphons away our wealth. find a way to smash the dollar and return to a sound system back by something other than bombers. every time someone tries that(muammar gaddafi) they wind up with a revolution and a stick up their butt.

but wait, i thought social security and medicad were bankrupt? and we are about to double its size? yea! more money to be borrowed from the federal reserve, sending the hooks of the irs further into our necks. we are quickly approaching a tipping point to where we have no money to give the government, none of us, because we tried to adapt to a system that was designed to run us all into the ground.

vcponsardin wrote on June 29, 2012 at 10:06 am

Republicans are now vowing to repeal a health care act that their own party has been trying to get passed for over 30 years?!  Obamacare is just another version of Romneycare, which was based on Gingrich's health care plan of the early 90s, which was based on GWH Bush's health care proposal, etc., etc., etc.  And now it's  an evil/socialist/commie health care plan?  Makes no sense.  Are Republicans completely unaware of what their own party has proposed over the years?  Apparently so.  Gingrich and other GOP leaders endorsed the individual mandate up until 4 years ago.  Hmm... gee, I wonder what happened to change their minds?

Sid Saltfork wrote on June 29, 2012 at 1:06 pm

The memory, and intelligence of the majority of Americans.  They know that most cannot remember their previous address, or put two and two together.  If Obama automatically solved the economic depression, brought about world peace, and gave out free ice cream to the masses; they still would want him out of office.  They are running for office spending millions to get a job that pays a pitenance of what they are currently earning.  They just want to be in charge for more payoffs, and to protect their wealth.

natebaux wrote on June 29, 2012 at 5:06 pm

Hmm... gee, I wonder what happened to change their minds?

hopefully this shows you that there is no difference between the two parties. their only job is to appear to hate each other. the agenda is the same, the actors and the script change slightly. both actively work to push us further into a cornor so we are dependant to accept whatever "help" they deem necessary/appropriate.

im afraid it will take safety checkpoint/toll booths every 20 miles to get the point across.

Sid Saltfork wrote on June 29, 2012 at 7:06 pm

I agree with you about the two parties.  Both are corrupt.  Both parties had members legally benefiting from insider trading.  It had been going on for years.  Once it came out in the news, they passed legislation to sort of stop it.  We all know that they are corrupt; but we keep voting for them because of one maybe being less corrupt than the other one.  One group pushes for something.  The other one passes it, and takes credit.  The first one denounces it; and promises to repeal it.  And the game goes on, and on.......  We are just the pawns in the game.