Statements from SC leaders on Supreme Court health care ruling

Published: June 28, 2012

By Staff Reports — The Herald

South Carolina political and business leaders released statements today after the Supreme Court ruled on the constitutionality of the President’s Health Care Law.

Congressman Mick Mulvaney: “I am disappointed to see the Supreme Court has upheld the provisions of Obamacare. This is truly a sad day. The idea that you must purchase health insurance was upheld as constitutional based on the idea that you will be taxed if you do not comply – not fined or penalized – but taxed.

The Supreme Court’s precedent in this case will far exceed health care. In short, government is now able to make you do anything by penalizing you with a tax. If future governments don’t like marriage it will be able to tax you if you want to get married. That goes both ways – for traditional and gay marriage. If future governments want to limit the size of families it can tax second and third children. We know there are governments around the world who do this. The Supreme Court today has ruled we are just like them.

It’s time for us to repeal Obamacare in its entirety and replace it with common sense, step-by-step, reforms that reduce costs for health care and ensure that patients, not Washington bureaucrats, are in control of their own decisions. Just because the Supreme Court says the government can control our health care does not mean it should. I will continue to fight to repeal and replace Obamacare.”

Gov. Nikki Haley: “Regardless of the decision that came down, what was bad policy yesterday is bad policy today. The fact that the Supreme Court upheld the individual mandate means we are looking at one of the largest tax increases on the American people we have ever seen. This is a tax increase for the people of South Carolina, it’s a job killer – and it is the government getting in the way of physicians and the patients. So with that, what does this mean for South Carolina? It continues to keep us from doing what we know we need…We know best what the people of South Carolina need. We know best how to help the people in the rural areas as well as in the cities. If D.C. would let us do our job, we would spend less money and be more effective in the way we do that…There is only one solution and that is new leadership in Washington. We have to have a new Senate, and we have to have a new president. We can no longer have any sort of mandates like this that continue to put tax hikes on the people of South Carolina….We need to repeal this law, I’ve said that from the beginning. We need to not only repeal the law, then we need to go to Washington and say all governors need block granting. We need you to give us the money and let us decide what the people of South Carolina need. We will spend less money. We will be more effective in the way we target it, and we will be able to return that money – if it’s unused.” (SEE VIDEO BELOW)

Senator Lindsey Graham: “To our Democratic colleagues, stand by your tax increase or stand with us to Repeal and Replace Obamacare. During the entire congressional debate over Obamcare, Democrats vehemently denied this was a tax on the American people. The Obama Administration also denied it was a tax. However, when the case went to Court, they argued, for constitutional purposes, it was a tax.

I have always believed the individual mandate would not be upheld under the Commerce Clause because you cannot compel someone to enter into commerce. However, I have always been afraid the broad power to tax could be used by the Court to justify Obamacare.

The problem for the American people is this is a massive tax increase at a time they can least afford it and Obamacare will jeopardize the quality and accessibility of health care. Now Congress has a chance to Repeal and Replace Obamacare, one of the largest tax increases on the American people, with common-sense health care reform we can afford. I am glad I voted against one of the largest tax increases on the American people in modern history for the purpose of creating government-controlled health care.

The question for Congress is — Did you intend to tax the American people by hundreds of billions of dollars to create a government-controlled health care system or not?

I am urging the Republican leadership to immediately insist on debating whether or not Obamacare is in fact a tax in the eyes of the politicians who proposed the legislation. If it was never meant to be a tax, they should immediately Repeal and Replace this bill.”

Senator Jim DeMint: “The Supreme Court may have failed to stop this government takeover of health care, but the American people will not. Since the day this law was rammed through Congress, the American people have demanded repeal, and today’s ruling doesn’t make Obamacare any less dangerous to our nation’s health. Freedom-loving Americans are disappointed, but we cannot be discouraged. The President’s health care law must be fully repealed as all of its promises have proven false. We were told it was not a tax hike, but this ruling confirms it is an unprecedented and enormous tax on the poor and middle class Americans. President Obama needs to explain why he is enacting this middle class tax hike over the objections of the American people during the worst economic recovery since the Great Depression.

We were told it would lower health costs, but health care premiums are exploding. We were told that Americans could keep their personal health plans, but millions will now lose it. We were told it would improve our economy, but it is now the largest obstacle to employers hiring new workers.

This government takeover of health care remains as destructive, unsustainable, and unconstitutional as it was the day it was passed, unread, by a since-fired congressional majority. Now as then, our first step toward real health care reform and economic renewal remains Obamacare’s full repeal, down to the last letter and punctuation mark. I urge every governor to stop implementing the health care exchanges that would help implement the harmful effects of this misguided law. Americans have loudly rejected this federal takeover of health care, and governors should join with the people and reject its implementation.

The President’s health care law will not reform anything, but is already undermining what does still work in America’s health care system. We cannot build a free market health care system on this flawed structure of centralized government control, we must repeal all of it and start over with commonsense solutions that make health care more affordable and accessible for every American. We can allow Americans to purchase lower cost plans from other states, support state high-risk pools to cover those with pre-existing conditions, medical-malpractice reform to end frivolous lawsuits, and tax equity so Americans who don’t get their health insurance from an employer are not penalized.

Today’s decision, however unfortunate, nonetheless represents an opportunity to all Americans, to claim their right to create a health care system of, for, and by the people, not government or special interests. The American people now have the chance and Congress has the responsibility to fully repeal this Washington takeover and reform health care ourselves, together, around the principles of individual liberty, not government mandates. The same freedom that made America strong and prosperous will make us healthier, too, so long as politicians remember that the health care system is supposed to serve our people, and not the other way around.”

Tony Keck, director of SC Department of Health and Human Services: “What this does for Medicaid is it takes us back to the status quo. We spent two years to get back to where we are, or where we were two years ago, which is working with an inflexible program that, as the governor said, tries to put a one size fits all approach on every state. As we know, the health problems that we have here in South Carolina, the challenges that we face, are completely different than states around the country. We need the flexibility to make those changes. This decision does not give us that flexibility, and we’re going to continue to fight for that flexibility. We’ve had great effort over the past year and a half working with stakeholders to make changes on the ground to improve the health of South Carolinians – to reduce costs, we’ve changed the way we pay providers, and we’re working on critical issues in South Carolina. None of that has anything to do with the Affordable Care Act. That’s people on the ground making things better in South Carolina.”

South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson: “While the Supreme Court agreed with the states that the Act violates the Commerce Clause of the Constitution, it carved out new authority to accomplish the same goal under Congress’ taxing power – despite the Obama Adminstration and Congress’ own efforts to avoid calling the Individual Mandate a tax on Americans.

The Obama Administration, through Congress, has now been allowed to pass this tax on all Americans. It was, and is, a wolf in sheep’s clothing. Congress must now repeal this tax and draft a solution that will actually help the health care problems this country faces.

Further, for states like South Carolina, a catastrophic new reality emerges. Under the Act, the states will be forced to expand their Medicaid rolls to unprecedented levels. While the Court ruled today that existing federal money used to fund Medicaid cannot be cut, any new money necessary to fund this explosion of new recipients could be withheld from any state that does not fall in line with Congress’ wishes. Many states will simply not be able to afford this new onerous mandate.”

Frank Knapp Jr., president and CEO SC Small Business Chamber of Commerce: “Today marks an extraordinary day for American small businesses. The positive measures under the Affordable Care Act that began in 2010 will continue to benefit our small businesses, the engine of America’s economy. The new law has already helped hundreds of thousands of small businesses, many of which are based here in South Carolina, through healthcare tax credits. 2014 will bring an insurance marketplace that will create more competition among insurance companies to drive down premiums. Fewer people without insurance will curtail cost shifting that results in those with health insurance paying higher premiums. When the ACA is fully implemented, small businesses will finally be paying the same rates as big corporations. Today is a great day for small businesses in the United States. The only concern with the Supreme Court ruling is that each state now has the option of not expanding Medicaid to 133 percent of the federal poverty level. Small business will benefit from the expansion because to do so will reduce the number of employees needing to be covered by a company’s healthcare plan and thus reducing the cost to the business. But that fight is for tomorrow.”

Todd Atwater, CEO, South Carolina Medical Association: “The SCMA is extremely disappointed with the Supreme Court’s decision to uphold the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act in its current, flawed form, which lacks key components for successful health care reform.

The SCMA has opposed Federal health reform legislation since its beginning and believes we have missed a critical opportunity to start afresh with a more sustainable law. The SCMA will continue to advocate for health reform that is both fiscally sound and, most importantly, places a priority on the physician-patient relationship.”

Ben Homeyer, state director of National Federation of Independent Business in South Carolina: “While we’re certainly disappointed, NFIB respects the decision to uphold the individual mandate by the Supreme Court. Clearly, this mandate has now become a tax on all Americans and a broken campaign promise from President Obama not to raise taxes.

We are concerned about the precedent that this will set in Congress’ ability to mandate other aspects of our lives, but we will move forward from today to continue to fight, harder than ever, for real health-care reform for our membership. Under the health-care law, small-business owners are going to face an onslaught of taxes and mandates, resulting in job loss and closed businesses. NFIB will continue to fight for the repeal of health-care in the halls of Congress. Only with a full repeal of the law will Congress have the ability to go back to the drawing board to craft real reform that makes reducing costs a number one priority. The power and control of health-care decisions should be in the hands of the consumer, not the government.”

David Pankau, president and CEO of BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina: “We recognize that the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is the law of the land and we have adhered to the law even as its constitutionality has been debated. We continue to move forward in operationalizing our organization so that we can implement its requirements in a timely manner.

However, prior to its passage in March 2010, we have consistently expressed our concern that the law does not address underlying root causes of rising health care cost, which affects our nation’s ability to be competitive in a global economy, stymies the enterprise of small business owners, and restricts the very access to care supported by this legislation.

Our long-term focus remains as it was prior to the creation of national health care reform—working locally to find innovative and collaborative solutions to improve the delivery of quality health care and thus, mitigate rising health care expense.”

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