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The Scoop

Associated Press
A proponent of President Barack Obama's health care law, at left, argues with opponent on the issue at right, outside the Supreme Court on Thursday.

Verbatim: Reaction to health care ruling

Statements as issued after the high court ruling

Alliance Defense Fund Senior Counsel Steven H. Aden:

"ObamaCare treats American citizens like subjects. This administration has used health care law to become a dictator of conscience. The court's decision is alarming and deeply wrong. ObamaCare holds your health care hostage and offers no real choice. Either comply and abandon your religious freedom and conscience, or resist and be fined for your faith. All current ADF legal challenges to the Obama administration's abortion pill mandate will proceed, and we are confident that the Supreme Court will strike it down as unconstitutional."

American Cancer Society and American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, CEO John R. Seffrin:

"The U.S. Supreme Court today upheld the constitutionality of provisions of the Affordable Care Act that are critical to ensuring that people with cancer and other life-threatening chronic diseases can access quality, affordable health care.

"The ruling is a victory for people with cancer and their families nationwide, who for decades have been denied health coverage, charged far more than they can afford for lifesaving care and forced to spend their life savings on necessary treatment, simply because they have a pre-existing condition.

"The decision ensures that critical patient protections benefitting cancer patients and survivors will be implemented, such as those prohibiting insurance companies from denying coverage to people with a pre-existing condition, requiring insurers to provide consumers with easy-to-understand summaries about their coverage and requiring health plans in the individual market to offer essential benefits needed to prevent and treat a serious condition such as cancer.

"The ruling also preserves vital provisions that are already improving the ability of people with cancer and their families to access needed care by ensuring that proven preventive services such as mammograms and colonoscopies are offered at no cost to patients, eliminating arbitrary dollar limits on coverage that can suddenly terminate care and prohibiting insurance companies from unfairly revoking coverage when a person gets sick.

"The decision ensures that patients in every state will have access to an online marketplace where they can easily compare quality health plans and choose the one that is best for them and their families. The ruling also will sustain comprehensive nationwide efforts to refocus the health care system on disease prevention by encouraging people to get screened for cancer and other serious diseases and adopt healthier lifestyles.

"ACS CAN is reviewing the Court's ruling on Medicaid, but we are concerned that the decision may limit the expansion of quality coverage to some of our nation's most vulnerable citizens. We hope that ultimately, the decision will ensure access to quality health coverage through Medicaid for all low-income and disabled Americans with cancer or at risk for cancer. For many hard-working Americans who have lost their health insurance because they are too ill to work or who have exhausted their savings, Medicaid coverage will provide critical access to proven preventive services and lifesaving treatments.

"Access to care saves lives. Scientific research from the American Cancer Society has shown that people without health coverage are more likely than those with private insurance to be diagnosed with cancer at its more advanced stages and less likely to survive the disease.

"Now that the Supreme Court has ruled, it is time for all of our elected officials to work together in a bipartisan effort to implement the health care law as strongly as possible for cancer patients, survivors, and their families."

American Conservative Union, Chairman Al Cardenas:

"Today's Supreme Court decision on the health care bill was a win for the liberals and a loss for American taxpayers. The Supreme Court called this mandatory insurance a tax, so let's be clear – it's one of the largest tax increases in our country's history. We have only one course available to prevent this disastrous mandate from taking place: big wins in November in Congress and the White House.

Conservatives can no longer depend on the Supreme Court to do our work for us, so we need a president and Congress who will repeal this law in the first 100 days of 2013. Indeed, this will be our most significant rallying cry for a November victory. At the end of the day the Supreme Court clarified the mission and made its success that much more important."

Kevin Boyd, Democratic 3rd District Congressional candidate:

"The Supreme Court today let stand a law that is a positive step forward in providing necessary health care to all Americans. The Affordable Care Act has already helped many, and will soon provide health insurance rebate checks to 12.8 million people. The court's action today will allow the positive movement of health care reform to continue."

Rep. Dan Burton, R-5:

"Today, the Supreme Court handed down its ruling on the President's health care law, upholding Obama's signature legislation as a tax increase on the American people. This decision, while extremely disappointing, reminds us that while the Supreme Court can rule whether a law is constitutional or not, it cannot rule on whether it is good policy.

"Simply put, this law is bad for our struggling economy. We must work towards full repeal and replace it with a common-sense, step-by-step approach to health care reform that reduces costs and puts care in the hands of the patient and their doctor."

Catholic League, President Bill Donohue:

"The only way Catholic non-profits could have survived the encroachment of the federal government on their right not to buy insurance for services they deem immoral was if the entire ObamaCare legislation had been struck down. That did not happen.

"The Supreme Court did not rule today on the constitutionality of the right of the Obama administration to force Catholic non-profits to pay for abortion-inducing drugs, contraception, and sterilization in their insurance plans; this Health and Human Services (HHS) edict was issued after the high court accepted the ObamaCare bill. Eventually, this particular issue will reach the Supreme Court.

"If the Supreme Court decision lacks clarity, the Catholic response will be anything but ambiguous: the battle lines between the bishops and the Obama administration are now brighter than ever. Fortunately, not only do practicing Catholics overwhelmingly support the bishops, tens of millions of non-Catholics also do.

"ObamaCare may have survived, but it is by no means a lock that the HHS mandate will. It is one thing to levy a tax, quite another to level the First Amendment."

Christian Medical Association, CEO Dr. David Stevens:

"The high court unfortunately could not muster enough justices willing to uphold the Constitutional principles of limited government and separation of powers that have guided our nation since its founding. This ruling sounds an alarm across the country to people with faith-based and pro-life convictions, to poor patients who depend on physicians with these values and to all patients who value choosing their own health care.

"Who will stop U.S. Health and Human Services political appointees from forcing employers and individuals with faith-based convictions to subsidize abortion or life-ending contraceptives and imposing huge 'faith fines' on those of us who resist? What will stop this administration, with its radical pro-abortion agenda, from further undermining conscience rights and pursuing policies that effectively force out of medicine physicians with life-honoring convictions? Who will keep government panels from effectively denying physicians and patients choice about what are the most effective and appropriate medicines, surgeries and treatments?

"While court battles will continue over other aspects of the Affordable Care Act not addressed in today's decision, we have learned that we cannot simply rest in the hope that our courts will uphold Constitutional principles. We call on Congress to turn back this law's assault on our freedoms and restore American values and Constitutional principles in health care. Repeal this overreaching law and enact bipartisan, targeted health care reforms.

"Congress should demonstrate a new respect for the proper limits of government power, listen to the people and pursue a careful, measured approach of targeted reforms, including:

  • protecting patient access to care by enacting strong conscience protections;
  • providing a safety net for the poor and patients with preexisting conditions;
  • containing the cost of health insurance by opening up competition across state lines;
  • reducing cost and keeping physicians in medicine by reforming malpractice lawsuits and reducing bureaucracy; and by rooting out and prosecuting Medicare and Medicaid fraud."

Sen. Dan Coats, R-Ind.:

"The president's health care law remains an unpopular, massive intrusion of the federal government into the individual lives of Americans. The Supreme Court's decision today confirms that President Obama broke his promise to Americans that his law would not raise taxes on the middle class.

"Obamacare has made the nation's health care system worse, not better. Hoosier families and businesses will be faced with higher taxes, increased costs and burdensome mandates under this law.

"The work to reform our health care system is far from over. I am committed to working with my colleagues to repeal the president's health care law and give Hoosiers – not Washington – the power to make their own health care decisions."

"The American people will have the opportunity to decide if they want a Congress and White House committed to more taxing, more spending and more federal mandates or one that will work to reduce spending, empower individuals and give states greater flexibility.", Chairman Richard A. Viguerie:

"The 2010 Tea Party wave election was all about the repeal of Obamacare and the individual mandate. If millions of Americans were enraged by the passage of Obamacare before the Supreme Court decision upholding the individual mandate was announced, their outrage will reach revolutionary fervor now that the mandate has been upheld.

"Conservatives believe with every fiber of our being that the plain language of the Constitution and our other founding documents, to say nothing of American history, demanded that the Supreme Court strike down Obamacare as unconstitutional.

"Today, a 5-4 majority of the Supreme Court of the United States – the body the Framers of the Constitution created to protect the citizenry from tyranny – has chosen to join infamous courts of the past, such as the Taney Court that made the Dred Scott v. Sandford decision finding that slaves had no rights and the Fuller Court that ruled to institutionalize Jim Crow discrimination in Plessy v. Ferguson in stripping Americans of their freedom.

"Those infamous decisions were eventually reversed, as this one should be.

"The Supreme Court's decision is a stark reminder that one presidential appointment to the Supreme Court is all that stood between our freedom and the tyranny that will grow ever greater now that the individual mandate has been upheld. "If there was any reminder needed of what is at stake in this presidential election, the fractured vote upholding the mandate is it.

"There are now 130 days until Election Day. The Supreme Court has spoken, and the real work of protecting America from tyranny is now in the hands of Mitt Romney and the Republican Party."

Families USA:

"Today's Supreme Court ruling is a clear, unambiguous, and complete victory for long-overdue health care reform. It sends an unmistakable message that the building of a better, fairer health care system will continue to move forward.

"Implementing health reform will provide peace of mind for our families – the peace of mind that only comes when our loved ones are sure to receive the health care they need when they need it.

"The Affordable Care Act provides such peace of mind by ensuring that:

* No one will be denied health coverage or charged a discriminatory premium due to a pre-existing condition, such as children with asthma or diabetes;

* People with major health problems, like those in car accidents, will be protected against arbitrary lifetime or annual limits in how much insurance companies will pay for needed care;

* Young adults can stay in their parents' health plans until they turn 26;

* Tens of millions of uninsured people will gain health care coverage;

* Seniors will receive significant Medicare improvements, such as preventive care with no deductibles or co-pays, and the big prescription drug coverage gap will close;

* Women will no longer be charged discriminatory premiums; and

* Moderate- and middle-income families will receive tax-credit subsidies so that insurance premiums are affordable.

"It has taken close to a century to enact meaningful health care reform. Now that the Supreme Court has upheld the law, it will become a living reality for all Americans very soon."

John Gregg, from Gregg for Governor campaign:

“As someone who beat cancer and as the father of a son with Type 1 diabetes, John Gregg knows first hand how unexpected healthcare costs affect Hoosier families and our economy. Today’s ruling answers questions for the thousands of Hoosiers who are currently covered under this law. Insurance companies cannot cut your insurance because you get sick. They cannot deny your coverage because you have a pre-existing condition. Young adults can stay on their parents’ policy while they look for a job. Finally, senior citizens will continue to get a break on their prescription drug costs.

We are currently examining the ruling to determine its effect on Indiana. As Governor, John will bring Indiana patients, physicians, stakeholders and insurance companies together to discuss how to implement this law in the most cost effective and consumer friendly way for Indiana while also focusing on important issues like preventative healthcare and wellness that can lower healthcare costs for all Hoosiers.

For the last dozen years, Congressman Pence has been part of the problem in Washington, siding with big insurance companies over Indiana families. He has voted against guaranteeing Hoosiers access to health insurance, voted against health insurance for sick children, voted against prescription drug coverage for seniors and voted to let insurance companies take away coverage if Hoosiers get sick. Indiana families deserve better.”

Indiana Attorney General, Greg Zoeller:

"I would encourage everyone to maintain civility and respect the United States Supreme Court whether you agree or disagree with the Court's opinion, which is being studied to discern its impact on Indiana Medicaid and the rights of patients concerning their health conditions and procedures. My office's legal advice will be provided to state agencies and federal and state policymakers so they may decide how best to address specific circumstances families face.

"Congress imposed an unprecedented mandate on individuals to buy a commercial health insurance product or face a penalty. Bringing a legal challenge was therefore the only appropriate way for the states to raise this constitutional question to the Supreme Court to decide with finality, and it was important and worthwhile for Indiana to join in this challenge."

Indiana Chamber of Commerce, President and CEO Kevin Brinegar:

"Conventional wisdom and national polls showed many Americans favored repeal of the measure, so we are surprised by the Court's decision.

"Our concern is the impact the health care law – now that it's going forward – will have on Hoosier businesses and their workers. Mandating coverage for pre-existing conditions and extending coverage for dependent children to age 26 will cause increases in health care costs; there is no way around it.

"That will force many employers to make the difficult decision to stop offering coverage and push employees into the federal plan. It puts the nation on the road to universal health care."

Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels:

"The immediate implications for Indiana are a huge increase in health insurance rates, especially for young people, and the need to decide whether to try to construct a so-called "exchange" or let the federal government do so.

The Court's ruling that the federal government has the constitutional power to do what it has done must be respected. But many actions that are constitutional are still unwise. The now undisputed facts that this federal takeover of one-fifth of our economy will worsen deficits, increase the national debt, raise health care costs, and force Americans off insurance coverage they have chosen, still argues for repeal of a dangerously misguided law and its replacement by major reforms based on individual freedom and consumerism."

Indiana Republican Party, Chairman Eric Holcomb:

"Constitutionality should not be mistaken for good public policy. Although the Supreme Court today ruled that ObamaCare is constitutional, that does not change the fact that it will drive up the cost of health care, add to our already exploding debt and hurt job creation, including within our vibrant medical device manufacturing sector.

"Standing outside the Supreme Court in our Nation's Capitol today as the ruling was handed down I was reminded of the passion this legislation has ignited among an overwhelming and consistent majority of Hoosiers who have rejected ObamaCare from the very start.

"The stakes are too high. Our economy, our future, depends on us electing Mitt Romney this November."

Richard Mourdock, Indiana state treasurer and U.S. senate candidate:

"I am disappointed in the Court's ruling today that ObamaCare can stand as a massive tax on Americans. ObamaCare will add trillions to our national debt, deter future job growth, and force thousands of individuals out of their existing health care coverage. The choice in the upcoming election couldn't be clearer.

"Congressman Joe Donnelly voted to pass ObamaCare and continues to support it. I will vote to repeal ObamaCare and replace it with real reforms that put patients and doctors in charge, create more choices for consumers and actually drive down the cost of health care."

National Prolife Center, the Rev. Paul Schenck:

"This opinion may allow the government to compel people to pay into the system, but it can't compel any of us to abandon our most deeply held convictions. This is a moral, spiritual and ethical crisis. People of conscience will need to make difficult decisions, including engaging in conscientious objection or even respectful civil disobedience, which may bring painful penalties with it. It's time to be prayerful, brave, and strong. From here on we will need help from God and from one another." – PRNewswire

National Right to Life, President Carol Tobias:

"All voters who care about the value and dignity of human life must do everything they can to elect Mitt Romney and a Congress who are committed to repeal of ObamaCare."

"If President Obama wins re-election, it will mean massive abortion subsidies and it will put the lives of millions at risk through systematic government-imposed rationing of lifesaving medical care."

Mike Pence, Indiana gubernatorial candidate:

"I am deeply disappointed in the Supreme Court's decision to uphold ObamaCare. This ruling erodes the freedom of every American, opening the door for the federal government to legislate, regulate, and mandate nearly every aspect of our daily lives under the guise of its taxing power. Today's decision affirms a massive tax increase on Hoosiers and is wholly inconsistent with the principles of personal responsibility and limited government that are enshrined in the U.S. Constitution. Congress must act immediately to fully repeal ObamaCare and protect Hoosier families, small businesses and family farms from its tax increases and mandates.

"If ObamaCare is not repealed in full, Hoosiers will face higher health care costs and increased taxes. It is estimated that the ObamaCare tax on medical devices will cost Indiana more than 2,000 jobs in the medical device sector. While the changes in the punitive measures included in ObamaCare appear to give Indiana more options, that is small compensation for higher taxes and a government mandate that reduces the freedom of every Hoosier.

"This national debate is far from over. Indiana and other states need the freedom and flexibility to develop health care solutions that best meet the needs of our citizens, without interference from Washington. We must face our challenges in health care with the belief in more freedom, not more government.

"The Supreme Court may have had its say on the last Thursday in June, but the American people will have their say on the first Tuesday in November."

Planned Parenthood of Indiana, President and CEO Betty Cockrum:

"We are pleased with the Court's decision today to uphold the Affordable Care Act. This decision means that hundreds of thousands of Hoosiers will have access to affordable, quality health care and that more Hoosiers will have access to health insurance.

In addition, the law provides guaranteed direct access to OB/GYN providers without referrals, and an end to discriminatory practices against women, such as charging women higher premiums and denying coverage for "pre-existing conditions."

And equally as important, millions of women across the nation will soon have access to birth control without a co-pay. This is critical because contraception protects women's health, saves them money, and preserves their personal freedom to decide when, or whether or not, they want to start their families.

Nearly half of all pregnancies are unintended in Indiana, and more than half of all births are publicly funded at a cost to taxpayers of nearly $500 million annually. Too many families and children in Indiana are caught in the cycle of poverty and our state has one of the highest teen birth rates in the nation.

These factors carry an enormous cost, both to our economy and our society. By preventing unintended pregnancy, we ensure that more of the children who are already among us have the opportunity to thrive.

The Affordable Care Act is vital to the health of the Hoosiers we serve and Americans across the nation and we applaud the decision."

Rep. Marlin Stutzman, R-3rd:

"Like many Hoosiers, I respect the court but strongly disagree with this decision. I will work to completely repeal this harmful law. I think the law's government control board, the Independent Payment Advisory Board, gives unelected bureaucrats far too much power. This is the largest tax hike in American history and will only harm families and small businesses during the weakest recovery since the Great Depression. My colleagues and I in the House will vote to repeal the entirety of the President's regulatory nightmare and then offer patient-centered solutions in the full light of day. Our Founding Fathers created a system that allows the American people, acting through their representatives in Congress, to set this right."

U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops:

Today the United States Supreme Court issued a decision upholding as a tax the provision of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) that requires individuals to purchase a health plan—the so-called "individual mandate."

For nearly a century, the Catholic bishops of the United States have been and continue to be consistent advocates for comprehensive health care reform to ensure access to life-affirming health care for all, especially the poorest and the most vulnerable. Although the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) did not participate in these cases and took no position on the specific questions presented to the Court, USCCB's position on health care reform generally and on ACA particularly is a matter of public record. The bishops ultimately opposed final passage of ACA for several reasons.

First, ACA allows use of federal funds to pay for elective abortions and for plans that cover such abortions, contradicting longstanding federal policy. The risk we identified in this area has already materialized, particularly in the initial approval by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) of "high risk" insurance pools that would have covered abortion.

Second, the Act fails to include necessary language to provide essential conscience protection, both within and beyond the abortion context. We have provided extensive analyses

of ACA's defects with respect to both abortion and conscience. The lack of statutory conscience protections applicable to ACA's new mandates has been illustrated in dramatic fashion by HHS's "preventive services" mandate, which forces religious and other employers to cover sterilization and contraception, including abortifacient drugs.

Third, ACA fails to treat immigrant workers and their families fairly. ACA leaves them worse off by not allowing them to purchase health coverage in the new exchanges created under the law, even if they use their own money. This undermines the Act's stated goal of promoting access to basic life-affirming health care for everyone, especially for those most in need.

Following enactment of ACA, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) has not joined in efforts to repeal the law in its entirety, and we do not do so today. The decision of the Supreme Court neither diminishes the moral imperative to ensure decent health care for all, nor eliminates the need to correct the fundamental flaws described above. We therefore continue to urge Congress to pass, and the Administration to sign, legislation to fix those flaws.

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