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Fincher responds to health care decision

Fincher responds to health care decision

From AP, staff reports
Republicans and Democrats alike across the nation held their breaths Thursday morning as they waited for the Supreme Court ruling on the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, the president’s signature piece of leglislation.
The Supreme Court on Thursday upheld the vast majority of President Obama’s historic health care overhaul, including the hotly debated core requirement that virtually all Americans have health insurance.
The 5-4 decision means the huge overhaul, still taking effect, will proceed and pick up momentum over the next several years, affecting the way that countless Americans receive and pay for their personal medical care.
The ruling hands Obama a campaign-season victory in rejecting arguments that Congress went too far in approving the plan. However, Republicans quickly indicated they will try to use the decision to rally their supporters against what they call “Obamacare.”
“This is exactly what the American people have said they do not want — Washington bureaucrats between them and their doctors,” Congressman Stephen Fincher said in a statement issued late Thursday afternoon.
“The president repeatedly told the American people he would not raise taxes on middle class families, only on those families making $250,000 or more a year.  Today, the American people received confirmation from the Supreme Court of what we have always known— this is a massive tax increase,” he said.
“Not only is this the largest tax increase in American history, but it expands the scope of federal power to every area of our lives. This simply must not stand. I will continue to work to repeal, defund and replace the Obamacare with real reforms that increase access and affordability.
Breaking with the court’s other conservative justices, Chief Justice John Roberts announced the judgment that allows the law to go forward with its aim of covering more than 30 million uninsured Americans.
The justices rejected two of the administration’s three arguments in support of the insurance requirement. But the court said the mandate can be construed as a tax. “Because the Constitution permits such a tax, it is not our role to forbid it, or to pass upon its wisdom or fairness,” Roberts said.
The court found problems with the law’s expansion of Medicaid, but even there said the expansion could proceed as long as the federal government does not threaten to withhold states’ entire Medicaid allotment if they don’t take part in the law’s extension.
The court’s four liberal justices, Stephen Breyer, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Elena Kagan and Sonia Sotomayor, joined Roberts in the outcome.
Justices Samuel Alito, Anthony Kennedy, Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas dissented.
Kennedy summarized the dissent in court. “In our view, the act before us is invalid in its entirety,” he said.
The dissenters said in a joint statement that the law “exceeds federal power both in mandating the purchase of health insurance and in denying non-consenting states all Medicaid funding.”
“Obamacare not only increases healthcare costs for small businesses and families, but it also pushes the country further into debt,” Fincher said. “According to the latest projection by the Congressional Budget Office, President Obama’s national health care law will cost $1.76 trillion over a decade, rather than the $940 billion forecast when it was signed into law.
“I’ve said before, our healthcare decisions should not be left up to the government. If Washington can tell Americans what healthcare coverage to purchase, what will they decide for us next? Simply put, this law is a massive tax increase and an attack on our personal freedoms, which cuts at the core foundation of our country. The only way to ensure the future of Americans’ healthcare is to completely dismantle and repeal Obamacare.”
The court’s ruling on the Affordable Health Care Plan has broad implications for Tennessee. An estimated 930,000 uninsured people reside in Tennessee, or 15 percent. Tennessee has laid the groundwork for a health insurance exchange but will have to wait until the Legislature returns in January 2013 to complete it.

Published in The Messenger 6.29.12

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