Local Leaders React to Ruling
Panama City News Herald - June 28, 2012
The following are statements released by local political leaders about the Affordable Care Act ruling:
-State Sen. Greg Evers, R-Baker: “I am stunned and angry that politics prevailed over our Constitution in today’s shocking Supreme Court decision upholding the federal health care law. In affirming the individual mandate, the Supreme Court has allowed the federal government to intrude upon what is perhaps our most fundamental freedom — our right to make personal choices on health care for our own bodies and our right to spend our money as we choose. The court agreeing to the nationalization of health care by the federal government violates the sovereignty of the state of Florida to establish health care policies tailored to the unique needs and population of Floridians.”
-State Sen. Don Gaetz, R-Niceville: “… I respect the decision of the Supreme Court, but I agree with Justice Kennedy and others who found the law unconstitutional in its entirety. More importantly, I am convinced the law is detrimental to our common goal of affordable quality health care.
“The court’s 110-page opinion is in some ways as complicated as the law itself. Like others we will be tweezering through the ruling to fully understand all of the implications for Florida taxpayers, patients, providers and businesses.
“While this law remains on the books, states will confront many difficult decisions and in an effort to fully understand all of the implications and costly burdens. Foremost among these difficult decisions will be the choice the court appears to have given states regarding participating in the mammoth Medicaid expansion authorized by the federal law. We have reason to be concerned about the impact of this expansion. Medicaid enrollment will double in the next few years; the state’s discretion in program design will be further curtailed; and even with a temporary enhancement of federal funds, the state’s financial burden for Medicaid will increase significantly. …”
-U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla.: “A lot of us feel the health-care law wasn’t perfect. But it was needed. Our system was broken and we had to do something. Insurance companies were refusing to cover people or dropping those who got sick. So, we passed legislation to prevent insurers from running roughshod over people. And today, the Supreme Court upheld most of these reforms. Now, I think it’s time we finish the job of fixing our economy and creating more jobs.”
-John Salak, chairman, Bay County Republican Executive Committee: The decision today by the Supreme Court to uphold Obamacare is both astonishing and disappointing. By ruling the individual mandate is a tax where the federal government can compel any American citizen to buy any product or service from a business, the constitutional limits on the power of the federal government have effectively been removed. This is indeed a sad day for a country founded on the ideal of individual liberty and freedom from the tyranny of government. …”
-Gov. Rick Scott: “Today’s decision by the Supreme Court of the United States is simply disappointing. The tax question was repeatedly refuted by members of Congress who helped pass this health care takeover. The justices have declared that the central provision of ‘Obamacare’ is a judicially mandated tax. A new tax pure and simple. This is just another burden the federal government has put on American families and small businesses.
“With the national economy struggling to recover, now is not the time to implement a massive social program that injects nothing but uncertainty and doubt into our economic system. By doing so, they have put up yet another major roadblock to efforts to get people back to work and forced the government into the important relationship between patients and their doctors.
“I stand with Justice Kennedy that the entire act should have been held invalid.”
-U.S. Rep. Steve Southerland, R-Panama City: “Although I am disappointed and disagree strongly with the Supreme Court’s decision, by cementing the limitations set by the Commerce Clause, the justices asserted that it’s not their responsibility to fix the bad policy decisions of Congress. Therefore, it is with strengthened resolve that I look forward to continuing the fight for a full repeal of this destructive law.
“I subscribe to the belief that what may be legally permissible is not necessarily morally right. When the president looked the American people in the eye and promised his health care reform law would not raise taxes, it was a flat out falsehood. We now know that his law will do exactly that. I am confident that the American people will not settle for having our personal freedoms diminished or our founding principles dissolved. I am eager to repeal this immoral law and replace it with common sense, market-based reforms that expand access to quality, affordable health care without expanding the size and scope of the federal government.”
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