2010 health care law upheld, Pennsylvania politicians react

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One man wore a Barack Obama mask and doctor's scrubs and held a sign that said, "Thank You for Subsidizing my Poor Life Choices." Tea Party faithful, flanked by massive yellow "Don't Tread on Me" flags sang, "Let's have a party, a Constitution party." Others supporting single payer health care wore surgical masks with "Silent Majority" written over their mouths and walked to and fro with belly dancers in full red and sparkling costumes. Supporters of the law danced in a circle to a soundtrack that included Stevie Wonder's "Signed, Sealed, Delivered."

(Wanna relive it? Click here for video from the scene.)

The emotions, and the theatrics, ran high Thursday morning outside the Supreme Court steps like it was the curtain call on closing night of a major Broadway show. And in some ways, it was.

Like a game of whisper down the lane, a little after 10 a.m. the crowd started receiving news of the court's ruling and at first it was misinformation. Those who opposed the law cheered at news that the individual mandate had been struck down (it hadn't). When they learned the law had been upheld, they launched quickly into speeches about the need for Congress to repeal it.

That sentiment - that the Supreme Court ruling wouldn't stop the GOP repeal effort - rippled through statements from Republican politicians. Democrats called for Republicans to drop their opposition now and move on.

We're compiling statements from Pennsylvania politicians on the Supreme Court's decision. We'll update throughout the day.

U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey, Republican:

“I am extremely disappointed. Today’s decision is a jarring blow to our 200-year-old tradition of constitutionally limited government and personal liberty."

 “The Supreme Court’s decision doesn’t change the fact that President Obama’s health care law is a terrible policy that will impose new taxes, increase the cost of health care and cost our country jobs. It is now up to Congress to repeal Obamacare and enact common-sense reforms that will expand access to affordable, quality health care.”

Rick Santorum, former Pennsylvania U.S. senator and former presidential candidate:

"Today's outcome is the worst of all scenarios. Not only are our rights being taken away and Americans are being forced to do something we don't want to do, but now we are being burdened with the biggest permanent tax increase in our nation's history. This is a sad day.
 
"I believe so strongly that if we do not defeat President Obama this November and elect more conservatives in the House and Senate, our country's future prosperity is at risk. We saw the absolute disregard President Obama showed for the Supreme Court's ruling on the Arizona immigration law, that I have no doubt that he sees today's ruling in his favor as a mandate that he can now do whatever he chooses by any means possible.
 
"President Obama believes he is above the law, entitled to abusing his power to get what he wants, and willing to violate the constitution and the oath he was sworn to uphold. He has proven to be a very dangerous person to have this kind of power, and if he is not stopped this November, I am fearful that the make-up of this country as established by our founders will never be the same."

Republican U.S. Senate candidate Tom Smith:

"Today's unfortunate decision strengthens our resolve to defeat Senator Casey and President Obama in order to repeal and replace a disastrous law that has ballooned the debt, increased the cost of insurance and eroded freedoms," said Smith. "Healthcare decisions should be made by doctors, patients and their families, not by government bureaucrats. In the Senate, I will fight to see ObamaCare repealed and replaced with commonsense free market reforms that reduce cost, increase access, and promote the quality and innovation that has made our healthcare system the envy of the world." 

"Sadly, as Pennsylvania families have suffered from stagnant unemployment and future generations have continued to be buried under record debt, Senator Casey and Barack Obama have prioritized defending a failed government takeover of healthcare. Americans deserve elected leaders who place the needs of their constituents over their own political agendas."

U.S. Rep. Lou Barletta, R-11:

“Today’s decision is a victory for big government and a defeat for individual freedom. Since I was sworn in, I voted to repeal President Obama’s healthcare law 30 times. I will continue to do what my constituents have asked me to do – repeal and replace Obamacare. By an overwhelming majority, the American people do not want Obamacare, and I still strongly believe we need to repeal it."

U.S. Sen. Bob Casey, Democrat:

“The fact that this law was upheld means that Pennsylvanians will not lose their coverage due to preexisting conditions, young adults will be allowed coverage under a parent’s plan and older Americans will not have to face dramatic increases in prescription drug costs.  I will continue to work with other senators to make improvements to the legislation.  Further, there is no doubt that we still confront significant challenges to reducing the cost of healthcare and the only way to address these in the long-run is for Democrats and Republicans to work together.” 

U.S. Rep. Allyson Schwartz, D-13:

“Today’s Supreme Court decision is a win for the American people. After a half-century journey, there is finally a uniquely American solution to affordable, quality health coverage for all Americans.  This victory reaffirms that the Affordable Care Act was the right thing to do for American families. 

“With this decision, seniors can afford lifesaving medications, children with pre-existing conditions can get the care they need, 30 million more Americans can afford coverage, families won’t go broke because of an illness, small businesses can provide affordable coverage for their employees, and young adults can remain on their parents’ coverage.

“The Supreme Court’s ruling to uphold the law leaves Republicans with a choice. They can continue their politically-motivated attempts to repeal health care reform, or they can respond to the priorities of the American public by working across the aisle to grow our economy and strengthen our middle class.”

U.S. Rep. Charlie Dent, R-15:

"While the Supreme Court has upheld the constitutionality of the 2010 health care law, today’s decision validates concerns that the law vastly expands the federal government’s role in our health care system and profoundly impacts the personal lives and medical decisions of Americans. Although today’s ruling is significant, it does not change the fact the policies of the law have failed. Two and a half years into implementation, health care costs have increased for families and small businesses; our nation’s health care spending remains on an unsustainable trajectory; Americans are realizing they won’t be able to keep their current coverage as they were promised; and innovation and high-quality care, the hallmarks of our first rate system, are being threatened by punitive policies."

Democratic 17th Congressional District candidate Matt Cartwright:

"I applaud the United States Supreme Court for ruling to leave the Affordable Care Act (ACA) intact. Their decision will ensure that all Americans have access to affordable health care. In Pennsylvania alone, ACA has provided health care coverage to 91,000 young people under the age of 26 under their parents’ plan.  Further, President Obama’s health care legislation has also helped cut costs on medications as 235,820 seniors saved $645 on their prescription drugs in 2011.   But the fight is not over.  President Franklin Delano Roosevelt explicitly included in his 2nd Bill of Rights in 1944, 'The right to adequate medical care and the opportunity to achieve and enjoy good health.'  As a Member of Congress, I will work to make sure that his vision becomes a reality."

Republican 17th Congressional District candidate Laureen Cummings:

"Today, the American people and the Tea Party can claim a victory with the Supreme Court’s narrowing of the powers of the commerce clause and calling out Obamacare for what it really is: yet another tax. In recognizing the individual mandate as a tax, the Supreme Court has clarified to the American people that the Obama Administration has no problem in further punishing Americans with yet another massive tax burden, even in the midst of what President Obama claims to be the biggest economic crisis since the Great Depression. This decision will reawaken the electorate and those Americans who not only want government out of their lives, but also, who refuse to give the IRS even more power than it already has. This decision is a rallying cry to elect those of us who will repeal this law and reform our Byzantine tax code."

 

 

 

 

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