Legislators, health care providers react to SCOTUS Obamacare decision

Written by Larry Lee, WSAU News/Talk



UNDATED (WSAU) -- Thursday's Supreme Court decision on subsidies for Affordable Health Care Act policy holders in states without their own insurance exchange drew reaction from politicians and health care advocates almost immediately. As you may have expected, Democrats were pleased with the decision and Republicans were disappointed in the high court's ruling. The health care industry is also pleased with the Supreme Court's decision.
Wisconsin Senator Ron Johnson says the King vs. Burwell decision is incredibly disappointing. He said this decision upholds legislation that was falsely marketed and forced through Congress in a completely partisan fashion and that has harmed millions of Americans.  "The court’s decision cements a system costing millions of Americans the health plans they chose and liked and access to doctors they knew and trusted. The Supreme Court is sustaining higher health care costs for patients and taxpayers, a law that makes it costlier for employers to hire and harder for workers to keep full-time jobs."
Senator Johnson says Obamacare has never been accepted by the American people. “Obamacare has never been accepted by the American people. The harm that the law inflicts shows that the people were right. Congress must move America past this unaffordable, destructive law.”
8th District Congressman Reid Ribble issued a statement after the court announced their decision, saying, "I believe all Americans should have access to high-quality, affordable healthcare. I want our children to grow up strong and healthy and for those with chronic diseases to receive the ongoing care that keeps them productive and happy.  However, I do not believe that the Affordable Care Act is the correct path for improving our healthcare system, and I have supported a number of measures that would address what I believe are some of the most damaging parts of the law. These include restoring the workweek to its traditional 40-hour definition, delaying the individual mandate, and repealing the damaging medical device tax. Today's Supreme Court ruling does nothing to change our commitment to securing a healthcare solution that will lower costs, increase the quality of care, and fix this flawed law so that everyone can truly have access to quality care at an affordable price."
State Representative and Assistant Minority Leader Katrina Shankland of Stevens Point was one of many Democrats that believe the court got it right. "I think this is an awesome victory for Wisconsin families, as well as people across our country who deserve access to affordable health care. I'm very thrilled with this decision."  Shankland says now that the Affordable Care Act has been ruled constitutional two times, it's time for her Republican colleagues to accept federal dollars to expand BadgerCare.  "There are thousands of people right now who were previously on BadgerCare, who were kicked off and are not enrolled in any health insurance, and it's time to cover those people."
Shankland says the people and organizations that rely on the Affordable Care Act or treat patients covered by it were watching closely. "Just about every group that has a stake in health care, whether it's the hospitals, medical care providers, insurers, they were all watching this very carefully and I think it's safe to say most people in the state are very thrilled that the Affordable Care (Act) is here to stay."
Medical care providers have also been watching for this court decision. Ministry Health Care President and CEO Daniel Neufelder says they are relieved to see the act upheld because it would have left over 180-thousand Wisconsinites in doubt about their coverage.  Neufelder says, "Probably the first thing we would have been impacted by though, is the questions of, around the state, 160-thousand people would have been asking, 'What does this mean about my health insurance? Is my health insurance still good?'"  Neufelder says health care providers everywhere were concerned about this case, and are relieved it turned out this way.  "I sit on both the Wisconsin Hospitals Association Board, and I'm involved at a national level with policy for the American Hospital Association. I can tell you this issue was at the top of everyone's list, and we're very relieved by this finding."
One of Wisconsin's elderly advocates is applauding the Supreme Court Decision. AARP, or the American Association of Retired Persons, says many of their members rely on Obamacare for their health coverage, and they are pleased with the decision. AARP State Director Sam Wilson says, “The ACA has benefited millions of Americans and our economy by prohibiting insurance companies from denying coverage due to a pre-existing health condition, by closing the Medicare Part D ‘doughnut hole’, by limiting how much more insurers can charge older Americans, and by allowing adult children to stay on their parents’ health plan until age 26." He says, “AARP will continue working with members of Congress on both sides of the aisle to strengthen and improve the ACA and with state officials to implement the law’s provisions so that Americans of all ages have access to affordable health care,”
Wilson says, “One of those protections is limiting the amount older Americans can be charged for insurance to no more than three times what the youngest pay. When you add to that all the other benefits of the ACA mentioned above, this court decision is a win-win for Wisconsin and all those across the country who have struggled for so many years trying to receive quality, affordable health care coverage,” Wilson said.


Wisconsin Medical Society President Jerry Halverson, MD, says with this decision, it's time to move forward and make the Affordable Care Act better. He says, “Now that the United States Supreme Court has ruled in King v. Burwell, it’s time to focus on the “The challenge before all of us is to maintain the provisions within the Affordable Care Act that are working and improve those provisions that are not. Our collective goal always must be to have a health care delivery system that provides the highest quality, most cost-efficient care to all “The Wisconsin Medical Society looks forward to working with federal and state policymakers, our health care colleagues and the public to achieve this crucial goal.”