Reactions to healthcare ruling toe party lines

Among the area's congressional representatives, reaction to the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling Thursday on President Obama's healthcare overhaul were diametrically opposed, mirroring their respective parties and the dialogue on Capitol Hill.

On one side, Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Burbank), who called the 5-4 vote to uphold Obama's Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act — including the mandate that nearly all Americans have insurance by 2014 or pay a tax penalty — “the correct legal decision.”

He also praised conservative Chief Justice John G. Roberts, who wrote the opinion for the majority and joined his more liberal colleagues on the bench to uphold the healthcare law.

By doing so, Schiff said, Roberts “chose a different legacy,” and avoided becoming part of a partisan institution — something that was “enormously important to maintaining the independence and reputation of the court.”

Rep. Brad Sherman (D-San Fernando Valley) agreed, commending Roberts in a statement issued after ruling for his “well reasoned” legal analysis.

“In doing so, he helped bolster confidence in the United States Supreme Court, while dispelling the view that all controversial cases are decided on party lines,” Sherman said.

But on the other side on spectrum was Rep. David Dreier (R-San Dimas), who joined his Republican colleagues on Capitol Hill in labeling the mandate penalty a tax. In a statement, he vowed to “redouble our efforts to repeal and replace this law with patient-centered reforms that will reduce costs and help the American people meet their healthcare needs.”

Dreier, whose district includes La Crescenta and La Cañada Flintridge, went on to say the ruling made clear “what many of us have said all along — the flawed healthcare law represents one of the largest tax increases in American history.”

In an interview, Schiff said his office had fielded “a lot” of inquiries and phone calls from constituents who represent a wide range of views on the healthcare law.

He acknowledged that people may have reservations about healthcare reform.

“But I do think it's important that Congress be allowed to govern,” Schiff said, otherwise “we'll never move forward as a country, and this gives us a chance to move forward. Standing still was not an option.”

As for vows by his Republican colleagues to repeal what Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) called a “terrible law,” Schiff dismissed it as a symbolic vote and waste of time.

“We're just multiplying the nonproductive work going on in the House,” he said.

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