Alabama politicians react to Supreme Court upholding Obamacare tax subsidies


The Supreme Court on Thursday upheld the nationwide tax subsidies under President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul, in a ruling that preserves health insurance for millions of Americans.

The Supreme Court ruled in a 6-3 decision on King v. Burwell that the 8.7 million Americans living in states without state based Obamacare exchanges are eligible to receive federal healthcare subsidies. The opinion was written by Chief Justice John Roberts, who also wrote the Obamacare opinion in 2012 upholding the individual mandate in the Affordable Care Act.

Here is a compilation of reactions from Alabama’s elected officials and politicians:

Gov. Robert Bentley:

Today’s decision by the United States Supreme Court is disappointing. As the law is clearly written, subsidies do not apply to states that did not establish a state-based health insurance exchange. With today’s decision, the Supreme Court became an activist court by rewriting the law, clearly overstepping the role of the Judicial Branch to interpret the law. The Supreme Court had an opportunity to repair what I, as a physician, have always believed, that the Affordable Care Act is deeply flawed and does little to help improve the health of our citizens. As a physician and Governor of one of the 34 states that did not establish a state-based healthcare exchange, I agree with Justice Scalia in his dissent that States are clearly not the federal government and that definition of a state shouldn’t be rewritten for the purpose of this law. I believe the ACA is, at its core, enormously expensive for families and businesses and does little to address the health care issues we face in our state and nation.

U.S. Sen. Richard Shelby:

Today’s Supreme Court decision does not change the fact that Obamacare is an unworkable, deeply flawed, and damaging law.  The problems with Obamacare go far beyond the issue debated in King v. Burwell and continue to harm American families and small businesses.  Obamacare’s long list of broken promises has already caused Americans to struggle with higher premiums, to lose their preferred health insurance and doctors, and to be left with fewer choices.  Despite this ruling, I remain committed to working with my colleagues to put an end to the negative impacts of this disastrous law.

U.S Rep. Bradley Byrne (AL-01):

Today’s ruling does not change the fact that Obamacare is an unworkable law that is hurting far too many families across Southwest Alabama and the United States. I will continue to push for a full repeal of the law and work toward patient-centered health care solutions that aren’t run by the federal government.

U.S. Rep. Martha Roby (AL-02):

So many people across the nation and throughout Alabama have been negatively affected by this law. Under Obamacare, many lost the health plans they liked. Many were forced to go to different doctors, to say nothing of the doctors who stopped practicing altogether. Premiums skyrocketed, and many middle class families are now impacted by new taxes, fees and penalties.

I have repeatedly voted to repeal Obamacare and replace it with patient-centered health care that isn’t run by the government. This ruling does not change my commitment to working to replace the president’s health care law with policies that make sense.  It does show how important it is for us to elect a president who will uphold the rule of law and appoint Supreme Court justices who will do the same.

U.S. Rep. Robert Aderholt (AL-04):

I am extremely disappointed with the Supreme Court’s decision today concerning Obamacare subsidies. The Supreme Court continues to see gray when it comes to the black letter of the law as written in Obamacare’s base text in the Affordable Care Act. If you look at the way the Democrats actually wrote the law, it seems to be very clear that subsidies were not available for those in the federal exchanges. This was not a typo. The language was written as it was written.

U.S. Rep. Gary Palmer (AL-06):

I’ve long been an advocate for repealing this unworkable and unaffordable law. Today’s decision by SCOTUS makes it even more imperative that Congress work to fully repeal it. As far as the opinion is concerned, I agree with Justice Scalia when he writes in dissent:

The Court holds that when the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act says “Exchange established by the State” it means “Exchange established by the State or the Federal Government.” That is of course quite absurd, and the Court’s 21 pages of explanation make it no less so …. This Court, however, concludes that this limitation would prevent the rest of the Act from working as well as hoped. So it rewrites the law to make tax credits available everywhere. We should start calling this law SCOTUScare.

U.S. Rep. Terri Sewell (AL-07):

Millions of Americans can finally breathe a sigh of relief. An estimated 6.4 million Americans will be able to keep their health insurance, including 17,000 people in my district!

Chairman Terry Lathan, Alabama Republican Party:

The nightmare continues for America with the United States Supreme Court upholding parts of the wildly unpopular Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare.

This destructive legislation forced upon Americans pertaining to their health care and health insurance is an abomination and a plight on our nation. America is the most loving country in the world and our citizens should have access to superb health care, but this legislation is an albatross of government intervention and bureaucracy. It has little to do with care and mostly to do with more legislative strangleholds and controlling our daily lives.

No American should be forced to sign up or buy health insurance that is not their choice. This alone is enough to remind us all how important the elections of 2016 will be to America. We must reverse this course, starting by removing Democrats from the White House all the way down to our county courthouses.

Let us never forget the words of Barack Obama when he and the Democrats forced their will on all of America: ‘If you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor. If you like your health care plan, you can keep your health care plan.’ America now knows this was a prescription for disaster and a blatant falsehood.

The Affordable Care Act is neither affordable nor about care and today’s ruling by the United States Supreme Court ensures that this bureaucratic overreach will continue to inflict harm to the free market and keep the federal government between you and your doctor.

Obamacare can, and will, be removed from our health care system and a market-based solution to reform skyrocketing costs and focus on the individual can heal the broken system if we elect a Republican President in 2016. That is why, as Chairman of the Alabama Republican Party, I will continue to work tirelessly with all Republicans in Alabama and America towards that goal.

This story will be updated as more reactions arrive.



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