OBSERVER Staff Report
Western New York Congressional representatives sounded off on the Supreme Court's ruling regarding the Affordable Care Act.
Rep. Brian Higgins, D-Buffalo, applauded the move, saying "the old way of doing business was unaffordable, unacceptable and unsustainable." Rep. Kathy Hochul, D-Williamsville, said the ruling provided "much needed clairity" but said she is still concerned about the cost of implementing the law. Tom Reed, R-Corning, called the ruling "bad news for patients, taxpayers and the economy."
U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, a Democrat, said she was "pleased the Supreme Court reaffirmed the hard fought progress" and said it's time to focus on policies that will help the economy. Senator Charles Schumer, meanwhile, did not issue a statement on the ruling.
Their statements were as follows:
"Today the Supreme Court, in an opinion authored by Chief Justice John Roberts, held that the Affordable Care Act is constitutional. Under the law, this year over 3 million New Yorkers have begun receiving free preventative care, over 3,000 New Yorkers with pre-existing conditions are no longer denied health insurance coverage, 160,000 young adults in New York State are now able to receive health coverage through their parents' plan, and 254,083 New York State seniors on Medicare are saving an average of $655 on their prescription medications.
"The old way of doing business was unaffordable, unacceptable and unsustainable for taxpayers and patients alike. Despite exorbitant expense, according to the World Health Organization, the United States is 37th of 192 countries in terms of overall healthcare quality.
"The Western New York health community is already leading the way on health reform. They have embraced electronic medical records and the formation of comprehensive care organizations. This law gives Western New York the tools we need to go farther and it gives the rest of the country the opportunity to follow our lead.
"Much of the Affordable Care Act was modeled on the Cleveland Clinic standard, care Western New Yorkers frequently travel to receive. Cleveland Clinic quality care is the health care I want for my family, my community and my nation."
"Today's Supreme Court ruling provides much needed clarity in an important national debate on the appropriate role of the federal government in the delivery of healthcare. While I was not in Congress to vote on the Affordable Care Act, I have always believed, and continue to believe, that the law is far from perfect, and I remain concerned about the high cost of implementing the law. That is why I have worked to roll back many of its most troubling provisions, including the financially unsustainable CLASS Act, the Medical Device tax, and the Independent Payment Advisory Board, which could result in the rationing of Medicare.
"I am hopeful that today's ruling will help to focus our country on the need for more effective policies that drive down the cost of care and ensure that all Americans - especially children, seniors and veterans - have access to quality and affordable health care. I stand ready to work with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to continue to improve the law and find appropriate solutions to the rising cost of health care in this country."
"I respect the Supreme Court's decision to essentially uphold Obamacare, but I am very troubled by the ramifications. This decision greatly expands the government's ability to tax and interfere in people's lives. This is bad news for patients, taxpayers and the economy.
"Health care premiums continue to rise at a rate much higher than inflation and the mandates of the act are having a chilling impact on job creation. Businesses legitimately fear anticipated cost increases when the law is fully implemented next year. We need to fully repeal the Affordable Care Act.
"The reality is that as the law stands, Obamacare will cost trillions and will be paid for by billions in tax increases and a $500 billion reduction in funding for Medicare.
"I will continue to work to repeal this law. What we need to do is carry forward with patient-centered reforms such as requiring coverage for pre-existing conditions, allowing children up to age 26 to be carried on a parent's policy, and covering preventive health care services like mammograms for women.
"The nation will have to make a decision at the polls this November regarding what direction to go. People will need to choose between repealing Obamacare or continuing to a future of massive tax increases on individuals and businesses and a significantly larger, more invasive government. I believe in individual choice and empowering patients rather than health care by unaccountable bureaucrats or administrators."
"I am pleased the Supreme Court reaffirmed the hard fought progress that was made to ensure that no one can be denied coverage for a pre-existing condition, being a woman will no longer be a pre-existing condition, young adults will be covered, prescription drug costs for seniors will be reduced, preventive care including life-saving mammograms will be accessible and that insurance companies can't cancel their coverage when you get sick. It is time to get beyond scoring political points and get back to finding common core values and passing legislation that will help grow our economy and get more people back to work."