The Supreme Court's decision on Thursday to uphold the entire Affordable Care Act is sending tidal waves through Texas — particularly the state's GOP leadership, which has overwhelmingly opposed "Obamacare." Here's a look at what Texas politicos and pundits are saying on both sides of the aisle:
Gov. Rick Perry: “This ruling will be a stomach punch to the American economy. It is a shocking disappointment to freedom-loving Americans desperate to get our country back on track. Obamacare is bad for the economy, bad for health care, bad for freedom. Americans have made clear their overwhelming opposition to its convoluted, burdensome and overreaching mandates.Freedom was frontally attacked by passage of this monstrosity – and the Court utterly failed in its duty to uphold the Constitutional limits placed on Washington. Now that the Supreme Court has abandoned us, we citizens must take action at every level of government and demand real reform, done with respect for our Constitution and our liberty.”
Attorney General Greg Abbott: "This is an historic victory for individual liberty, states’ rights, and limited government. Today the Supreme Court made crystal clear that the federal government is more restrained than yesterday and yet, through a novel application of the facts, the Court did what Congress was afraid to do--called ObamaCare a tax on all Americans. This is particularly ironic since President Obama, himself, insisted this was not a tax. The decision marks a turning point in constitutional history. The Supreme Court rebuked a runaway federal government that tried to hijack the Constitution by imposing an unprecedented requirement forcing Americans to buy a product against their will. In doing so, the Court dismantled the centerpiece of ObamaCare—the federal government’s authority to compel Americans to purchase a product. The Court also agreed that States are individual sovereigns that cannot be commandeered by the federal government. In this instance, by forcing States to expand Medicaid, the federal government tried to hold States hostage. Our challenge to ObamaCare was never about healthcare or insurance – it was about the rule of law and a fight against a federal government that continues to expand. In this respect, today’s decision was a total victory. As the federal government seeks to impose the remainder of ObamaCare, it must do so within the limits prescribed by the Constitution. Although the individual mandate was ruled unconstitutional, the remainder of ObamaCare may be on life support—and we will continue our work to pull the plug on this unworkable and unpopular law. It is time for Congress to step in and end the ObamaCare nightmare by repealing an unprecedented tax on all Americans."
Comptroller Susan Combs: “I am very disappointed with the Supreme Court’s decision to uphold the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. It is a bad law and bad policy. The mandate to purchase individual health insurance through a brand new tax is an attack on personal liberty. This law is a reminder of President Ronald Reagan’s warning from a quarter century ago when he said, ‘Government's view of the economy could be summed up in a few short phrases: If it moves, tax it. If it keeps moving, regulate it. And if it stops moving, subsidize it. In addition, the law will place an enormous burden on Texas taxpayers and place a huge constraint on our budget. The Supreme Court has left open the possibility that states could opt out of Medicaid expansion without losing money for the existing Medicaid program. Opting out to slow the projected growth of Medicaid is something the Legislature may have to consider once we’ve had time to further assess this decision.”
HHSC Commissioner Tom Suehs: "We’ll work closely with Gov. Perry, state leaders and the Attorney to fully analyze the ruling, but I’m pleased that it gives states more ability to push back against a forced expansion of Medicaid. The court clearly recognized that the Affordable Care Act put states in the no-win situation of losing all their Medicaid funding or expanding their programs knowing that they would face billions of dollars in extra costs down the road. I remain concerned that expanding Medicaid without reforming it only multiplies the tremendous budget pressure the program puts on states. Medicaid already consumes a quarter of the state budget in Texas, and enrollment and costs would mushroom under the Affordable Care Act. We’ll continue to work with the Legislature to improve the Texas Medicaid program so that it delivers better results at a lower cost. The reforms we’re putting into place through our new transformation waiver will replace an archaic federalMedicaid funding system with one built around local solutions that rewards hospitals for patient care and innovation. This will lay the foundation for true Medicaid reform in Texas and allow us to use existing funding to improve access to care. The best long-term solution is for Congress to grant states more flexibility to tailor solutions that best meet their needs."
Lt. Gov. (and U.S. Sen. candidate) David Dewhurst: “Today’s decision by the Supreme Court to uphold Obamacare as constitutional is reason number one why we need a Republican majority in the U.S. Senate to repeal this monstrous law. As I have said from the start of my campaign, my top priority on day one in Washington will be to file legislation to repeal every word of Obamacare and throw the law in the trash can. Whether the individual mandate is characterized by the court as a mandate, or a tax, it is most certainly a disaster for America."
Former Texas Solicitor General (and U.S. Sen. candidate) Ted Cruz: "This is a sad day for liberty. The Supreme Court has abdicated its responsibility to safeguard the Constitution, and it has rewritten Obamacare in an ill-advised attempt to save it. Today's decision underscores what we have been saying all along: the solution to Obamacare will come from the people. All across America, citizens are rising up to take back our country, to defend liberty, and to roll back the out-of-control federal government.Today's decision makes this Senate race in Texas all the more important. My opponent is, by nature and by over a decade of political office, a conciliator. Now is not a time for conciliation. The Senate will be the battleground on Obamacare, and I intend to lead the fight to repeal every word of it. Today's decision will only strengthen the Tea Party movement – a great awakening that is sweeping the nation. Five federal judges have had their say. Now it's the American people's turn.”
U.S. Sen. John Cornyn: “The Supreme Court made clear today that the American people will be the ultimate judge of ObamaCare. As Republicans, we will redouble our efforts to repeal this job-killing law. We must replace it with reforms that expand access and enhance care without adding trillions of dollars to the national debt and inserting Washington bureaucrats between Americans and their doctors. While I am disappointed in the outcome, there will be plenty of time to debate the Court’s decision; now we must focus on electing Republicans in November who will end ObamaCare and put Americans back to work.”
U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison: "The Supreme Court has declared the health care law constitutional, but that doesn't make it good policy. In fact, the majority said it was not ruling on fairness or wisdom of health care policy, but instead on the power of Congress to levy taxes. The court's ruling confirms the president's health care law is nothing more than a massive tax on the American people. When the health care law is fully implemented, most Americans won't be able to keep the coverage they have now. Their health insurance coverage choices will be decided in Washington, D.C., and there will also be new regulations to disrupt the doctor-patient relationship. $500 billion will be cut from Medicare to pay for full implementation of the health care law, plus $500 billion in higher taxes on individual Americans and businesses."
U.S. Rep. Michael Burgess R-Lewisville: “The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is detrimental to our society, our economy, and to the future of health care in America. Since its inception we have seen the strain it has placed on our economy through its ever increasing price tag, provisions which discourage small businesses to hire, and higher costs, and excessive government regulations. President Obama stated multiple times that the penalty associated with the individual mandate was not a tax; however, the Supreme Court today affirmed that indeed it was a tax. In fact, it is a tax increase and a very large tax on middle-class America. When millions are unemployed the last thing America needs is another tax.This decision by the Supreme Court is paramount and signals to the House of Representatives that it is our responsibility to repeal this over burdensome law which increases taxes on middle class families, and replace it with common-sense policies that encourage economic growth and protect American’s access to care. The House has voted to repeal the legislation and will do so again next month.”
U.S. Rep. Lloyd Doggett D-Austin: “This is a significant victory for every family and small business denied insurance or overcharged or mistreated by an insurer. And it is a victory for seniors who gain better Medicare coverage. Now we must continue our struggle to overcome the naysayers and obstructionists to assure each family has access to a family doctor.”
U.S. Rep. Gene Green D-Houston: “I am very pleased by the decision from the Supreme Court today. The Affordable Care Act has already benefited millions of Americans and will continue to help those who are in greatest need of health insurance: children, young adults, people with pre-existing conditions, and people who are financially constrained. Coming from the 29th Congressional District of Texas, this is particularly important because we have one of the highest rates of uninsured individuals in the country. It’s good to be able to move past the question of constitutionality and continue implementing the bill.”
U.S. Rep. Joe Barton R-Arlington/Ennis: “I’m shocked. I’m stunned. And I’m extremely disappointed. This is a sad day for the Constitution. The government can now tax not only your income, but also tax your behavior. Where does it stop? If the government can use taxation to force you to obtain health insurance, they can force you to obtain anything. This is a dangerous precedent which could fundamentally change the direction of our nation. The Supreme Court’s ruling doesn’t alter the facts of ObamaCare. It only confirms what I have been saying since this 2,700 page bill was passed in the dark of night - it raises taxes on EVERYONE, hurts the economy and limits Americans’ health care choices. Republicans in the House will soon vote again to repeal this law and this effort will have my full support. I believe it must be thrown out and replaced with market based solutions that give patients more choice – not less. This decision clearly raises the stakes in November. The choice has never been more clear. The fate of ObamaCare will ultimately be decided at the ballot box by you.”
U.S. Rep. Blake Farenthold, R-Corpus Christi: “The Supreme Court’s decision will have devastating effect on our economy, small business owners, and the American taxpayer. After repeated assurances by the Administration that this was not a tax, the American public is left with yet another empty promise from their President.The Constitution sets limits on the powers of the federal government. Unfortunately, the Supreme Court has greatly broadened the definition of a tax. The decision gives the legislature virtually unlimited taxing power, Americans should hold on to their wallets and be wary of how the government will use this new found power. I believe a vast majority of Americans disagree with this decision, which is why I have voted, and will continue to vote, to repeal this bad law. In November, Americans will have the opportunity to express their objections at their voting machine.”
U.S. Rep. Jeb Hensarling, R-Dallas: “Like many Americans, I am extremely disappointed by today’s decision. The president’s health care law was essentially and regrettably upheld. While I respect the Court’s ruling, I do believe it was wrongly decided. I do not believe the federal government is empowered by the Constitution to mandate the purchase of health insurance and I continue to believe that the president’s health care law is bad for our nation’s health and bad for our nation’s future. We must never forget that the president’s health care law increases health care costs, cuts more than $500 billion from Medicare, forces people who like their current private insurance into exchanges, threatens quality of care, and assaults religious freedom, while also making it harder for small businesses to hire more workers during the weakest recovery since the Great Depression. Instead of spending two years engineering a government takeover of health care, the president should have worked with Congress – both Democrats and Republicans – to enact policies that will grow our economy and create wealth and jobs for all Americans. For these reasons, House Republicans have already voted 30 times to repeal, defund, or dismantle parts of the law. I stand ready to once again vote to repeal what the Supreme Court left standing. For the sake of our freedom, our health care, our families, and our economy, the president’s health care law must be eliminated in its entirety. I look forward to the next Congress, where Republicans can work with a new president to enact step-by-step reforms that are patient-centered and will make health care more affordable for Americans.”
U.S. Rep. Silvestre Reyes D-El Paso: “I am proud to see that the Supreme Court upheld the individual mandate in this historic Act. The long overdue and dramatic changes within the Affordable Care Act are fundamental to the improvement of the health care system. The Supreme Court affirmed our progress and protected that right, securing a future of health and economic security for the middle class and for every American. This historic legislation came at a crucial time for our city with over 230,000 people uninsured in 2009. When the new law is fully implemented, in just a few years, El Pasoans who now lack health insurance will receive coverage – many for the first time. Under the Affordable Care Act, insurance companies cover recommended preventive services, including mammograms, colonoscopies, immunizations, and pre-natal and new baby care, without charging deductibles, co-payments or co-insurance. So far 90,000 El Pasoans have benefited from this change, including 26,000 children and 33,000 women. This legislation has also provided new tax credits to approximately 360 small businesses in El Paso to help maintain or expand health care coverage to their employees. The Affordable Care Act was a major victory for Texas and the El Paso community, and I will continue to work hard to ensure that the health of border residents is a top priority in Congress."
U.S. Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson D-Dallas: "The Supreme Court ruling is a victory for the American people and a defining moment for our country. The Affordable Care Act is already benefiting Texans. In the Act’s first year alone, Texans saved more than $1.3 million in health care costs, an average of $639.36 per beneficiary. In my district, 18,000 children and 80,000 adults now have health insurance that covers preventive services without paying any co-pays, coinsurance, or deductibles. By 2014, 181,000 residents who now lack health care coverage will have access to affordable coverage for the first time, and everyone in the 30th district will be protected from discrimination by insurers based on a preexisting health condition. Texas has the highest number of uninsured in the entire Nation. With full implementation of the Affordable Care Act, Texas will hopefully no longer lead the Nation in uninsured individuals. As a non-practicing registered nurse, I understand first-hand how important this ruling is to women, children, families and seniors. Americans will benefit from lower health care and prescription drug costs, insurance companies will be held accountable, and millions of Americans will have the opportunity to receive quality and affordable health care. It has taken most of my lifetime for the enactment of a comprehensive and inclusive form of health care. I am proud to stand with my colleagues and the President to support a system that provides security, accountability, and peace of mind to the people whom we serve. The American people now have the security of knowing that their health care system has the ability to move forward, by providing this right for all and not for the select few."
Former Texas Secretary of State (and U.S. Congress candidate) Roger Williams: “Today we learned again why this election is so important. I am ENORMOUSLY DISGUSTED in the Supreme Court's ruling to uphold Obamacare as a tax that the Pelosi-led Congress was allowed to pass. Don't forget, this is a tax and a forced mandate that takes our freedom, cedes control of our lives to government, and weakens our nation. I simply cannot be more disgusted. This should serve as a reminder to all of us and teach a very important lesson: conservatives cannot and should not expect judges to save us from the Obama Social Justice Agenda. The only way we can overturn Obamacare is to elect conservative Members of Congress. As your representative in Congress, I will fight on Day One to repeal Obamacare. We must rip up every part of this law and replace it with a health care policy that puts doctors and patients in charge, not bureaucrats, federal panels, and career politicians.”
State Sen. Rodney Ellis D-Houston: "I am extremely thankful that the U.S. Supreme Court did the right thing and upheld the Affordable Care Act. While not perfect, this law was passed overwhelmingly by both chambers of Congress after months of deliberation and was supported by virtually every major health organization in the nation. It is the greatest step toward universal access to affordable health care since the passage of Medicare and Medicaid, and it will help millions of uninsured Americans receive the care they need and deserve. People may disagree on the law, but one fact is indisputable - many people have and will benefit from the Affordable Care Act."
State Sen. Brian Birdwell R-Granbury: "The ruling of the Supreme Court today was clear: the federal government
has no direct constitutional authority to force the purchase of health insurance on individual Americans. Unfortunately, the Court also ruled that the federal government will be allowed to tax people for not having that insurance. This ruling so clearly highlights both the continued political deceptions of the Obama administration and our critical need within the judicial, legislative and executive branches of government to be served by those who share the Founders original intent of the limits imposed upon the federal government by the Constitution. Now more than ever, we must remember that we are the masters of our own individual liberties. Not the federal government, not the Supreme Court—but We the People. Those who we elect to represent us in Washington must be charged not only with correcting this travesty, but also with preventing similar failures in the future. We've heard that old saying so many times: ‘This is the most important election of our lifetime.’ In light of today's decision and for so many other clear reasons, I think we are all too aware that the November election will, in fact, be the most pivotal in our history—for us, for our children and for the keeping of this republic."
State Sen. Carlos Uresti D-San Antonio: "The Supreme Court ruling is great news for working Americans who have struggled to provide health care for their families. By laying the constitutionality question to rest, the high court has cleared the way for this historic law to be fully implemented. It is a great day for the rule of law and the future of health care in America."
State Sen. Jane Nelson R-Flower Mound: “"This ruling underscores what is at stake in November. Taxpayers cannot afford the astronomic price tag of this ill-conceived plan, which will hurt employers and weaken our economy. The health care system is nowhere near ready for the massive influx of patients who will be forced to buy coverage, especially given our existing health care workforce shortages. The future of this law is now in the hands of voters. This provision represents the number one budget driver in the Act, and we will schedule hearings soon to digest how this and other aspects of the ruling will impact our state. We will continue to advance Texas solutions to our health care challenges."
State Sen. Jose Rodriguez D-El Paso: "This is a great day for the future health of our community, our nation, and our state. Today's decision is an incredible victory for the nearly 30% of El Pasoans, the 5 million statewide, and the 1.2 million Texas children who lack health insurance. I applaud Chief Justice Roberts for making the right decision to uphold the individual mandate and putting the Constitution above partisan politics. As a member of the Senate Committee on Health and Human Services, I look forward to working with my colleagues to help shape the policies needed to meet the requirements and provide the benefits laid out in the law.”
State Sen. Leticia Van de Putte D-San Antonio: "I'm extremely pleased that the Affordable Care Act, which has already benefited so many Texans, will continue to bring care to people who otherwise would not have health insurance. Today, 32 million have the promise of healthcare, including 9 million Latinos and 6 million Texans.As a pharmacist, I swear an oath that reads, I will consider the welfare of humanity and relief of human suffering my primary concerns. I am so proud that President Obama and the federal government will do so as well."
Texas House Speaker Joe Straus R-San Antonio: “The battle to overturn the burdens this law places on American citizens by our elected leaders in Washington is not done. I will continue to urge the Texas Congressional delegation to dismantle this legislation and find real solutions to improve our health care system so Texans can have access to quality, affordable care. The Texas House will do its part during the next session by attempting to limit any negative impact the law might have on our state.”
State Rep. Eric Johnson D-Dallas: "Today the Supreme Court of the United States upheld the Affordable Care Act (ACA). This important decision settled all of the major questions concerning the constitutionality of the ACA and means that the time for political posturing is over. It is now time for the Texas Legislature and Governor Rick Perry to begin planning for implementation of this much needed law. During the last session, Governor Perry declared several "emergency items" that we, as state legislators, had to address early in the session. I am calling upon Governor Perry to treat implementation of all facets of the ACA with this same level of urgency by declaring implementation of the ACA an emergency item next session, so that Texas' uninsured can reap the benefits of the ACA without undue delay. Join me in encouraging Governor Perry to put politics aside, acknowledge the decision of the highest court in the country, and begin making plans to implement the ACA in Texas!"
State Rep. Carol Alvarado, D-Houston: "Today is a great day for health care in Texas. The Supreme Court's ruling on health care reform reflects the continued need to ensure that every one regardless of age, gender, or financial status is provided access to health care.In a state like Texas, which has the highest uninsured rate in the nation, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) has already made huge differences in helping individuals and families receive life-saving health care services. Hundreds of thousands of young adults have already gained health care coverage and seniors are already seeing savings on their prescription medications. Texans can only continue to benefit from additional provisions of the law that focus on improving access, quality, and preventative care services. Being the number one uninsured state in the nation is unacceptable. The ACA has provided a guide to help Texas move in the right direction. This is not the time for the state to look for ways to prohibit or delay many of the great benefits this law will provide to millions of Texans. We as legislators need to be proactive and ensure that this constitutional law is adhered to because Texans are counting on us."
State Rep. Rafael Anchia D-Dallas: "While many will view today’s decision through a political prism, and try to predict winners and losers in our electoral polls. I see the big winners today as the American people. In a state where one out of every four residents does not have health insurance, the Supreme Court ruling today will provide health security for millions of Texans. I hope that Congress and the Texas legislature can now put aside the animosity that has kept them from focusing on what is best for the American people, which is getting the economy back on track and putting people back to work.”
State Rep. Joe Deshotel D-Beaumont: "Today our conservative-leaning Supreme Court made the right decision in upholding the constitutionality of the Affordable Healthcare Act -reiterating that healthcare is a right for every American and not just a privilege for the well to do. Texas will be the nation's greatest beneficiary. Currently we have the highest percentage of uninsured persons and our legislature continues to cut funding for public health services. Because of today's outcome our healthcare system will now embrace preventative measures that will save countless lives and dollars in the future. I applaud this landmark decision and look forward to working with our state leaders to ensure that the right of healthcare access becomes a reality for all Texans."
State Rep. Chuck Hopson R-Jacksonville: "As a local pharmacist whose job is to help people make the right choices when it comes to their medication and healthcare, I strongly disagree with the Supreme Court’s ruling on Obamacare. The ruling not only has disastrous consequences for our healthcare system and imposes new taxes on millions of Americans, but it also confirms that there are no limitations on the powers of Congress and the Obama administration. Today’s ruling sets a dangerous precedent for Congress to mandate how we deal with important issues like taxes, immigration, water, and transportation. I reject the notion of absolute power, and as State Representative, I will continue to fight against federal government intrusion into our daily lives. That’s why I helped pass states’ rights legislation last session and joined with Governor Perry to pass the Health Care Compact which allows Texas to create its own healthcare policies instead of conforming to a one-size-fits all federal plan. We now have the opportunity to defeat President Obama this November and send a clear message that we demand the repeal of Obamacare and reject Washington’s assault on our Constitution and individual liberties.”
State Rep. Roberto Alonzo D-Dallas: "Today's US Supreme court decision on the nation's health care reform law is a significant victory for families, children and the elderly - particularly those from average, hard-working households that do not typically have access to adequate medical health care. It is no secret that since it passage, millions of Texans have already benefited from the federal law because of their families' inability to pay the high costs of health insurance, coupled with the escalating costs of prescription drugs. As a result of the federal law, Texas seniors have been able to pay lower drug costs, and people with pre-existing conditions have also received coverage. Additionally, young adults have been able to stay on their parents’ insurance plans, and insurance no longer has lifetime limits, covering preventive care with no out-of-pocket costs. And after today’s decision, many of these same families, children, and the elderly alike - particularly those from poor and middle-income levels, can rest assured and in better comfort, knowing that the law’s changes will remain in place. Once again, I applaud today's right decision by the US Supreme Court which will help millions of Americans and Texans alike gain access to affordable health care for their families."
State Rep. Armando Walle D-Houston: “I applaud today’s landmark decision by the U.S. Supreme Court to uphold the Affordable Care Act. This ruling is important for millions of Americans and Texans, but even more so for the section of Houston I represent where there are high levels of uninsured individuals. Texas must now move forward and do its part to ensure these provisions are implemented properly so these folks get the health care they need.”
State Rep. Garnet Coleman D-Houston: “Today’s decision upholding the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is a victory for the American people and particularly for Texans. We currently have the highest uninsured rate in the country; about a quarter of all Texans lack health insurance. Thanks to President Obama’s leadership in finally passing comprehensive health reform, our state’s situation is about to improve dramatically. In just a few years, the Affordable Care Act will bring our record high uninsured rate down to single digits, no one will be denied care due to a pre-existing condition, and lifetime limits will be a thing of the past. The law is already working. In Texas, 357,000 young adults gained insurance coverage as a result of the health care law, 22,1395 people with Medicare received a $250 rebate to help pay for their prescription drugs, and 2,208,969 people with Medicare received free preventive services such as cancer screenings and annual wellness visits. All Texans, regardless of party, income, or health status, should be thrilled by the Supreme Court’s ruling today. After two decades of working to help Texans get access to better healthcare and just recently having served on President Obama’s Working Group of State Legislators for Health Reform, I cannot tell you how fulfilling this is for me personally. Most importantly, I am pleased that we can all finally put this behind us and move forward together to work for a better Texas. The Affordable Care Act is now unquestionably the law of the land.”
State Rep. Dawnna Dukes D-Austin: "The Supreme Court has done the right thing in ensuring that all Texans have access to the health care coverage they need and deserve. This is a victory for all Americans. Unfortunately, in Texas, we experience the highest percentage of residents without health insurance coverage at 24.6%. The Affordable Care Act will prevent children from being denied coverage for pre-existing conditions, lower drug costs for seniors and allow students and young adults to stay on their parents’ plan."
State Rep. Jessica Farrar D-Houston: “I am extremely proud that the PPACA has been given the go ahead by the Justices. This legislation is not only long overdue, but Republicans need to realize now that this is a critical step to ensure Americans can continue working, continue goingto school, and continue making America and Texas prosperous. Without basic healthcare, the livelihood of many is in jeopardy.”
State Rep. Mark Shelton R-Fort Worth: “There is a fundamental difference between Obamacare being declared constitutional by the Supreme Court versus being what the American people want and need. Now it is up to the voters in November to reject Obamacare by electing a new President. As a pediatrician I work with patients within the health care industry every day. Whether caring for a young patient on CHIP, Medicaid or private insurance, I have spent my career immersed in the medical world and its complicated workings. Health care is people care and it is not a “one size fits all” for our population. Our health is very personal and unique to each individual, and changes with age and life circumstances. Likewise the problems and solutions are neither simple nor can they be molded into a single government post office-styled bureaucratic solution where people are treated like numbers. What are the two main problems with our healthcare system? Clearly, they are access and cost. The ability of Obamacare to measureably solve these two areas was NOT BEFORE THE SUPREME COURT. So, does Obamacare (our new federal healthcare law also known as the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act) really solve these problems? The answer is ‘no.’ Obamacare only masks the problem with big government. In pediatrician jargon —Obamacare throws the baby out with the bath water! The truth is the same healthcare access problems caused by economic variances we now face for the indigent and uninsured will largely still exist under Obamacare. In other words, simply calling CHIP, Medicaid or Medicare by a different name (Obamacare) and taxing/charging Americans more money for it, does not solve the access problem--- which in some ways is really more of a utilization problem than a real access problem according to the U.S. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ)… which has cited that 5% of our population consumes 50% of the healthcare costs. MANDATING health insurance with MORE GOVERNMENT and MORE BUREAUCRATIC oversight does not solve this critical concern cost being impacted by a poor system of utilization! And what about the BUREACRATIC cost? By and large, most government employees are outstanding public servants, but the government model is not a model for efficiency or quality. In fact, aside from the military, the government model is, at best, a model for mediocrity and delay. Furthermore, Obamacare proposes yet ANOTHER layer of unaccountable government bureaucracy (the Independent Payment Advisory Board- IPAB) to reduce spending on Medicare with no expertise or regard to patient care or need. In short, Obamacare proposes to herd us all like cattle, brand us all with a number, and then asks that we wait in line like at the post office or DMV! People are not numbers! When it comes to healthcare, each person is unique and different. As physicians, we treat the patient, under Obamacare the government dehumanizes patients into statistics! Additionally, the government is extremely culpable on the cost front. Artificial government price controls and unfunded mandates have grossly distorted the US healthcare market prompting cost-shifting which has driven up the cost of healthcare and private insurance. And Obamacare only accelerates this vicious cycle! Additionally, do you really want a non-physician government bureaucrat making your personal medical treatment decisions? I don’t! I want a graduate of a medical school making medical decisions for my family. And as for the issue of utilization as cited by the government study (AHRQ) that found that 5% of our population consumes 50% of the healthcare costs…. strategies for helping these 5% (most of whom are in serious health situations) should be pursued, not by watering down the good things that are working for the other 95% of the American healthcare system, but by targeting this 5% with realistic solutions that fit their unique circumstances. Here again, even in public policy, we need to treat the patients as people, not as numbers. Changes are needed in our healthcare system, but Obamacare is not the solution, it is a government prescribed cure worse then disease itself. This November, I am going to campaign to fix what’s really wrong in our healthcare system without socializing it. This is only fitting, as elections, not doctor’s offices, are the appropriate venue where people and numbers are really one and the same.
State Rep. (and U.S. Congress candidate) Marc Veasey D-Fort Worth: “Today’s decision is a victory for all Americans and I’m excited about the prospect of joining the fight in Congress to continue this work. America is now closer than ever to the day when no one need worry about the catastrophic consequences that can result from getting sick without insurance. However, there is much work to be done and, if elected, I will be proud to join our President in completing that work.”
Former State Rep. (and U.S. Senate candidate) Paul Sadler: “This morning the Supreme Court, following the rule of law, handed down its decision regarding the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. The decision of the Supreme Court is a great victory for the citizens of this country who already have insurance, as well as those in need of healthcare. There are many provisions, as I have previously outlined, that are vast improvements to the system, and offer important benefits to the American public. Those benefits include the elimination of the pre-existing condition exception, women are finally being treated equally and not as if they have a pre-existing condition, our children can remain on our insurance coverage until age 26, senior citizens are provided an annual screening and it closes the donut hole for prescription medication, it also creates greater efficiencies by coordinating chronic care, just to name a few. Republican suggestions that we should repeal the Act take away valuable healthcare rights, which this legislation has provided to all of us. While I recognize that the Act is not perfect and can be improved, it is essential that we keep the benefits we have gained, and therefore I salute the opinion of the United States Supreme Court. I look forward to the opportunity to debate the Republican candidate to the U.S. Senate on this issue.”
Mexican-American Legislative Caucus Chairman, State Rep. Trey Martinez Fischer D-San Antonio: "As of today, Texas Latinos are 3 for 3 in Supreme Court rulings this year. In redistricting, immigration, and now healthcare, the Supreme Court has held Governor Perry’s and Attorney General Abbott’s war with the federal government at bay. Early this year, the Supreme Court rejected Attorney General Abbott’s efforts to utilize the Texas Legislature’s discriminatory redistricting maps, which lacked pre-clearance, as interim redistricting maps for 2012. This week, the Supreme Court affirmed that ill-advised and discriminatory state action on immigration policy is unconstitutional. Finally, today, the Supreme Court upheld the Affordable Care Act. In each of these cases the Governor and the Attorney General have been on the losing side. Texas’ costly ideological war with the federal government is crippling our future. Beyond the partisan politics, it is clear the Affordable Care Act victory is a Latino victory. Across the country, 5.4 million Latinos who would otherwise be uninsured will gain coverage by 2016. Further, 736,000 Latino young adults, between the ages of 19 and 25 who would have been uninsured, can now have coverage under their parent’s employer-sponsored or individually purchased health plan.Meanwhile, in Texas, Governor Perry and the Republican Legislature cut $5 billion dollars from public health and are making us the uninsured capital of the nation. Today’s decision makes everyone’s life and health more secure. We are one of the wealthiest states on Earth and no one should face financial ruin due to an illness or accident.”
Former Libertarian nominee for Texas Governor Kathie Glass: "All other efforts to resist this tyranny have been tried and failed. Only nullification remains as an effective tool to defend our liberty. As today’s events make clear, we cannot litigate our way back to freedom, contrary to the prescriptions of Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott and Republican candidate for U.S. Senate Ted Cruz. Only Libertarians stand for the type of strong and vigorous use of nullification that this ongoing federal usurpation requires.”
Texas Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples: “Americans are not cattle to be rounded up, branded with insurance mandates and herded for their health care by government bureaucrats. Taxpayers are sick of not being heard, job growth is crippled by new taxes, and our childrens' [sic] future is in peril by the actions of this president. The prescription is to vote for Mitt Romney."
Center for Public Policy Priorities: “Today’s Supreme Court decision to uphold the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is great news for Texas families. With more than 6 million Texans uninsured and billions of dollars in federal funding on the table for our state, Texas has the most to gain from today’s pivotal decision."
Texas Public Policy Foundation President Brooke Rollins: “The fundamental question before the U.S. Supreme Court in this case was, if the federal government can force us to buy health insurance, what can’t it force us to do? Though the individual mandate was upheld under the taxation authority of the Congress, rather than the Commerce Clause, the net effect is the same: the Constitutional limits of federal power are now dangerously eroded. James Madison, the Father of the Constitution, argued passionately that in any constitutional republic, the transition to unrestrained majority rule is often an irrevocable step on the road to tyranny. Today’s ruling should be a wake-up call to all Americans: now more than ever, it is time to redouble our efforts to reclaim the proper sovereignty of states and citizens.”
Texas Association of Business President and CEO Bill Hammond:“It is disappointing that the U.S. Supreme Court has upheld the Affordable Care Act, especially as it pertains to the individual mandate. The business community has always been very concerned about the cost of the law, the economic effect it will have on the country when fully implemented, and the effect on employees trying to navigate a complicated and confusing system. Unless Congress takes action to replace this plan with something that is more workable, we will see many jobs lost and many businesses that offer insurance to their employees now will drop that coverage. Congress shouldn’t be allowed to dictate the day to day lives of Americans and of business, and that’s what this ruling allows. There is still time for Congress to fix this before full implementation in 2014, and we will be working hard to make sure that happens.”
Lance Armstrong Foundation President and CEO Doug Ulman: “Today, cancer survivors throughout the U.S. are celebrating. The Supreme Court ruling means they will retain protection from insurance discrimination for pre-existing conditions. Parents of young cancer survivors will continue covering their kids on their insurance until they are 26. Life-saving preventive services, like breast, cervical and colorectal cancer screenings, will be covered with no co-pays or deductibles. The Affordable Care Act’s life-saving measures, so critical to cancer survivors and their families, will be preserved and we are enormously relieved that justice has prevailed.”
Texas Democratic Party spokeswoman Rebecca Acuña: “Today’s Supreme Court decision is a victory for Texans. The health care law is the only lifeline for many Texans and Americans who had nowhere to turn when they got sick. Women can celebrate that their gender is no longer considered a pre-existing condition. Texans can have the peace of mind that they won’t be shoved off their policies when they need it most. Republicans like Rick Perry railed against the health care law but never offered a plan that would help save lives. Instead Texas Republicans put government between a woman and her doctor and ended preventive care for thousands of Texas women."
Texas Medical Association President Michael Speer: “The Texas Medical Association has said since day one that we need to find what’s missing, keep what works, and fix what’s broken in the new law. We absolutely must reduce the law’s red tape and bureaucracy that interfere with patient care. Today’s health care system is riddled with hundreds of regulations imposed by federal health law that do little to improve patient care but instead divert our time and energy away from our patients. The court gave the states flexibility on Medicaid expansion. We desperately need a better system of caring for Texas' large uninsured population. We need a local/state/federal partnership to design a fair and sustainable system. Top-down mandates are not the answer."
Harris County Republican Party Chairman Jared Woodfill: "Today, all eyes were on the Supreme Court as we waited for the ruling on Obamacare. This morning the United States Supreme Court ruled the individual mandate in the Obamacare bill is constitutional as a tax rather than a mandate. This ruling renders Obamacare the largest tax increase in history! While we are disappointed in the decision made by the Supreme Court, we must remain resolved as Republicans to have this legislation repealed. Today, the House announced they will vote on repealing the health care bill the week of July 9. I urge you to contact your Congressman and ask them to vote to repeal this bill! Furthermore, we must unite as a party to defeat Barack Obama and elect Republicans to office in November! We must continue to persevere at the grassroots level sharing with others the importance of preserving the freedom so many have fought for, of the importance of the upcoming election, and urging people to get out and vote! We have a lot of work ahead of us, but working together I am confident we can be victorious in November!"
Texas Well and Healthy: “Now more than ever, Texans need health care to work for the people of Texas. As the state with the highest rate of uninsured, including the most uninsured children, this court case has been closely watched by families all over our state. They know the status quo, which shuts out many people with chronic illnesses and leaves others to fend for themselves in the expensive emergency rooms, is costly, wrong and unsustainable. For these Texans, passage of the Affordable Care Act was a step toward ending discrimination by insurance companies, ensuring care for those who are sick, promoting prevention and holding insurers accountable. In no state does today’s decision have a bigger impact than right here in Texas, where since the law passed over 7.5 million have benefited. Today’s ruling is cause for celebration—and for action. It is time for Texas leaders to get to work on implementing the law so that more Texans benefit. One important step is to move forward with accepting the opportunity to cover millions of Texans through the Medicaid program, something that the federal government pays for in full or covers 90 percent of the cost of under this law. Families in Texas need the same chance as those in other parts of the country to get the care they need. We also must establish an exchange that will allow many of the over 6 million currently uninsured Texans and hundreds of Texas small businesses to access good healthcare coverage at prices they can afford. Governor Perry should make his priority setting up a health insurance exchange that is made especially for Texas. The ruling today is welcome news for millions of Texans: children with pre-existing health conditions who get to keep the health care they need; young adults who can stay on their parents’ health plans; small businesses that receive tax credits for covering their employees; and millions of other Texans who benefit from the law’s free preventive care without co-pays and lowered drug costs in Medicare."
Texas AFL-CIO President Becky Moeller: “Working families in Texas have cause for historic celebration today. The U.S. Supreme Court’s decision upholding the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act provides new validation to a century-long movement to provide affordable access to decent health care for all Americans. The Affordable Care Act is by no means perfect, but it is a good-faith, compromise effort to address an explosion in health care costs that threatened to place basic health care needs out of the reach of ordinary workers. In Texas, the law has helped young workers struggling to find their place in our economy and retirees who might otherwise not be able to afford preventive care. It has improved or saved the lives of more than 4,000 Texans who otherwise would have run afoul of ‘pre-existing condition’ clauses preventing them from obtaining insurance. The political spin off today’s ruling is doing justice to whirling dervishes, but we prefer to focus on the historic nature of the Supreme Court’s decision. The individual mandate is a bipartisan idea, first proposed by Republicans. Democratic and Republican presidents starting with Teddy Roosevelt have attacked the problem of lack of access to health care. Legal experts will dissect the path to this decision for years to come. There can be no doubt that for millions of Texans, today’s decision opens a new era and marks a heightened recognition that when it comes to health care, we are all in this together.”
Empower Texans and Texans for Fiscal Responsibility President Michael Quinn Sullivan, via Twitter: "Just remember: SCOTUS upheld slavery, too."
Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast President Melaney Linton: “This decision will have a profound and concrete impact on millions of people’s lives. Houston has the highest rate of uninsured people in the U.S. More than one-quarter of Texas women are uninsured, and women in Texas have the third-highest rate of cervical cancer in the U.S. Despite being home to the world-class Texas Medical Center, tens of thousands of Houston women, men and families lack access to basic, preventive health care,” said Melaney A. Linton, President and CEO of Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast. Affordable, quality health care will now be available to millions of women who had no coverage or inadequate coverage before. Today, we are closer than ever to realizing the promise of health care for all. This is a victory for the American people, and we thank President Obama and the members of Congress who passed the Affordable Care Act for their leadership on this issue. At Planned Parenthood, we know how important this law and this decision are for women and families, because we see the need for affordable health care every day. Women who come into Planned Parenthood health centers often struggle to balance paying for birth control and health services with paying for textbooks, groceries, or gas for the car. The Affordable Care Act will make those decisions easier for women across Texas, Louisiana and the entire country.”
Texas Right to Life Director Elizabeth Graham: "This ruling is devastating. Obama’s pet 1,000 page bill jeopardizes the lives of the unborn and the health of pregnant women. The elderly, the disabled, and the infirm are at risk of being denied medical care due to the rationing provisions of the law; the rationing decisions, known as ‘comparative effectiveness standards’ are based on purely subjective quality of life standards. The decision by the Supreme Court is very troubling. The assaults on human life at all stages will intensify like never before in our formerly- free nation. Any expansion of government-run healthcare like this opens a perfect opportunity for abortion and euthanasia advocates to expand their own agendas. The responsibility of the Pro-Life majority in America to elect Pro-Life leaders is more important now than ever before."
Texas Impact Executive Director Bee Moorhead:"In expanding Medicaid, Congress finally completed one of its most morally pressing unfinished projects: providing for the health care needs of low-income Americans. More than a million uninsured Texas adults are set to gain health insurance in 2014-2015 because of this expansion; that's nearly a quarter of Texas' uninsured. Our faith traditions agree that we have a collective responsibility to meet the needs of the marginalized and disadvantaged. With the highest uninsured rate in the nation, no state has more to gain from ACA than Texas--or more to lose if we fail to take full advantage of it. The expansion of Medicaid could be truly transformational, making health care more affordable and available for all Texans. It is important that Texas quickly take advantage of the extremely favorable 9:1 matching federal funds associated with the expansion."
Children's Defense Fund-Texas Executive Director Beth Quill: “Today’s decision is a victory for children of all ages, races and incomes in Texas. We are delighted the Court has upheld the Affordable Care Act including the Medicaid expansion, but must express some concern by the limitation of the expansion that could exclude millions of poor parents. Together, we will continue to work until all children and their parents are guaranteed access to comprehensive, affordable health coverage."
Texans Care for Children CEO Eileen Garcia: "Call it health reform, the Affordable Care Act or Obamacare, but what it has meant to countless children across Texas is a better life. Today’s decision reaffirmed our state’s ability to ensure every child can see a doctor when he or she needs to. Now it will be up to Texas leaders to make sure families and kids here in our state get the same benefits under the law as families and kids in any other state."
Progress Texas PAC Director James Moore: "After today's SCOTUS ruling, Governor Perry now has the opportunity to provide health care to up to 1.8 million Texans without raising state taxes. The expansion of Medicaid is 100 percent covered until 2016 for eligible Texans under the Affordable Care Act and 95-90 percent in the subsequent years. Can Rick Perry say no to free health care for Texans when 1 out of 4 people in our state lack coverage? Texas taxpayers can either pay for their own health care here at home or pay for health care for people living in Vermont."