Health care law roundup
(AP) – Even though she was in the majority in the 5-4 ruling upholding the majority of President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg is taking issue with the court’s reasoning. The justices found that the individual mandate, requiring most Americans to purchase health insurance, was an invalid use of the Constitution’s clause giving Congress the power to regulate interstate commerce, but that it could be upheld as a tax.
But Ginsburg said the mandate should have been supported under the commerce clause. She also said the entire law should have been upheld as written, without forcing any changes in the Medicaid provision. The majority found problems with the expansion of Medicaid, but said it could proceed as long as the government doesn’t threaten to withhold a state’s entire Medicaid allotment if it doesn’t take part in the extension.
Ginsburg, in a statement from the bench, said that even though the health care law survives, the court’s position on the commerce clause “has been set awry.” She said she expects that the “setbacks will be temporary.”
Dissenters say entire law was invalid
The ruling that upheld the vast majority of President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul came from the court’s four liberal justices, joined by Chief Justice John Roberts.
The dissenters were Justices Samuel Alito, Anthony Kennedy, Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas. In a joint statement, they said, “The act before us here exceeds federal power both in mandating the purchase of health insurance and in denying non-consenting states all Medicaid funding.”
Kennedy, speaking in court, summarized the dissent by saying, “In our view, the act before us is invalid in its entirety.”
Romney, Obama look to use court ruling to their advantage
President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney are both gearing up to use today’s Supreme Court decision on health care for political gain.
Romney, an opponent of the law, is planning to cast himself as the best hope for millions of Americans who favor the law’s repeal. He says he will act to “repeal Obamacare.” His campaign says in the hour after the decision was announced, it collected more than $100,000 in online donations.
Republican Party chairman Reince Priebus says today’s decision sets the stakes for the November election. He says only the election of a new president will save the country from what he calls “Obamacare’s budget-busting government takeover of health care.”
But Democrats say Romney — who backed an individual health insurance mandate when he was Massachusetts governor — will have a hard time exploiting the ruling. Democratic consultant Jim Manley calls Romney “the intellectual godfather of Obamacare.”
Reid: Time for Congress to deal with other matters
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is pleased by the Supreme Court’s ruling in the health care case, and says it’s time now for Congress to move on to other business. The Nevada Democrat says no one believes the law is perfect, but that Democrats have shown they’ll work with Republicans to improve it. Reid made his comments in the Senate chamber Thursday, minutes after the Supreme Court upheld the law.
Reid also is criticizing Republicans, saying GOP lawmakers are more interested in giving power back to insurance companies. He says passing the law is the single greatest step in generations to ensuring affordable health care for people in the United States.