Months and years of rhetoric and arguments, tri-cornered hats waving signs on street corners and every political figure giving their two cents came down to this — on the final day of announcing their decisions for this term, the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) largely upheld the controversial health care reform law.
Instead of getting into the nitty gritty of what this means (I believe you will be able to find better examples of that at places that are used to covering the Supreme Court, such as SCOTUSBlog), I will be running reactions from New Mexico politicians and others involved in health care and politics (though the longer ones will likely be excerpted).
I’ll be updating this story as the day goes on and reactions pour in. New statements will be at the bottom of the page.
First up is Sen. Tom Udall:
“We can still improve upon the law we’ve put into place, but today, New Mexico has already received more than $200 million in grants and loans to establish an insurance exchange, strengthen community health centers, train new health professionals and so much more. Since passing the law, more than 26,000 young adults under 26-years-old in our state have been allowed to stay on their parents’ insurance plans. Almost 20,000 New Mexico seniors on Medicare received a rebate to help cover prescription costs when they hit the donut hole in 2010. And 285,000 New Mexicans with private health insurance no longer have to pay a deductible or copayment for preventive care like physicals, cancer screenings and vaccinations. More is yet to come.
“Today’s decision marks another turning point in our country’s approach to health care equality. Now’s the time to put aside partisanship and work together to make our health care policy even stronger.”
Republican Party of New Mexico chairman Monty Newman:
“Today’s Supreme Court decision ups the stakes for the future of our country. It is clearly a choice between two futures. Now, the only way to save the country from the White House’s government takeover of health care is to elect a new president.
“President Obama has put his faith in government bureaucrats and effectively cut families out of the decision process for their own healthcare choices. The sad irony is that the taxes, regulations and budget-busting costs aren’t solving the problem. Access and affordability are not achieved under the President’s plan. If you like your current plan, you can’t keep it because employers will no longer provide it. Under ObamaCare, as many as 20 million Americans could lose their employer-based healthcare, while an unelected board of bureaucrats could deny care to seniors.
“ObamaCare has damaged our economy and taken decision-making power out of the hands of families. That is unacceptable.
“Governor Romney is a proven leader who will work to enact a full repeal of ObamaCare. Romney’s experience will bring about real, common-sense reform. We need to send Mitt Romney to the White House this November.”
U.S. Rep. Martin Heinrich:
“The Supreme Court has spoken, declaring the Affordable Care Act constitutional. This decision means New Mexicans will continue to benefit from expanded access to quality, affordable health care.
“Now it’s time to move on to the major economic problems facing our country. Our focus needs to be on creating jobs and getting our economy back on track. The finger-pointing needs to end and Washington needs to get its priorities straight by cutting waste and ending the Bush tax breaks for millionaires and companies that outsource jobs, so we can focus on job creation and strengthening Social Security and Medicare.”
U.S. Rep. Ben Ray Lujan:
“For too long, families and small businesses in New Mexico have seen their health care costs skyrocket as they continue to pay more and receive less. The ranks of the uninsured grew while insurance companies continued to deny or drop coverage for those who needed it most. That is why President Obama and Democrats in Congress took action to pass health insurance reform that ends the insurance companies’ worst abuses, expands coverage, and takes steps to bring down costs for hard-working New Mexicans.
“Today’s decision by the Supreme Court to uphold the law is an important victory for the people of New Mexico. Young adults will be able to remain on their parents’ insurance plan, those with pre-existing conditions will be assured that they will have health insurance, and seniors will continue to pay less for prescription drugs and receive free preventive care.
“It is now abundantly clear that the Affordable Care Act is the law of the land and that the people of New Mexico will continue to benefit from its many important provisions.”
Update (1:40 pm):
U.S. Sen. Jeff Bingaman:
“I think this is a very good ruling for New Mexico. For New Mexicans who have insurance, this law will help keep health care costs from spiraling out of control because there will be more Americans in the insurance pool. And for New Mexicans who do not have insurance, this law offers affordable coverage to them,” Bingaman said.
“This law presents us with a great opportunity to strengthen the health delivery system in our state, and in doing so create good jobs in the medical profession,” he said. “I hope New Mexico moves quickly to prepare for the law’s full implementation in 2014, so that New Mexicans can take every advantage of it.”
New Mexico Voices for Children Executive Director Veronica C. Garcia:
“The ACA is also good for New Mexico’s economy—creating hundreds of millions of dollars of economic activity and creating tens of thousands of jobs in the health care sector and beyond in the next several years. New revenues to the state will more than offset what New Mexico will invest to expand our Medicaid program.
“The Court’s decision means that New Mexico must move forward in creating the Exchange that will assist individuals, families, and businesses in finding health plans that are right for them. We look forward to working with the Governor, the Legislature, health care providers, and other stakeholders to make access to health care a reality for every child and family.”
Updated (11:10 am):
Bernalillo County Commissioner and 1st Congressional District Democratic candidate Michelle Lujan Grisham:
“This is a victory for New Mexico families because insurance companies can no longer deny coverage to people with asthma, cancer or heart disease, or force women to pay more for health care,” Michelle Lujan Grisham said. “This is a good first step toward reforming our broken health care system.
“However, there is still work to be done. When I get to Congress I will work to require health insurance companies to put patients before profits. We must control health care costs, improve quality and train more health care workers.”
Update 11:50 am:
New Mexico League of Women Voters:
The League of Women Voters of New Mexico is pleased that the Supreme Court recognized that Congress has the right to pass laws that will improve health coverage for Americans.
Now that the Supreme Court has ruled, we urge an end to the partisan bickering over the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and that all efforts be directed at assuring that New Mexicans receive maximum benefit from the ACA. As the state with the second-highest rate of uninsured, New Mexico will be a major beneficiary of the ACA.
Former New Mexico governor, and current Libertarian Party nominee for President, Gary Johnson:
“It has been clear for a while that we need a new President and a new Congress. Now it appears we need a new Supreme Court.
“Whether the Court chooses to call the individual mandate a tax or anything else, allowing it to stand is a truly disturbing decision. The idea that government can require an individual to buy something simply because that individual exists and breathes in America is an incredible blow to the bedrock principles of freedom and liberty. It must be repealed, and Congress needs to get about doing so today.
“There is one thing we know about health care. Government cannot create a system that will reduce costs while increasing access. Only competition and the price transparency that competition will bring can accomplish the imperatives of affordability and availability. Whether it is the President’s plan or the Republican prescription drug benefit, the idea that anyone in Washington can somehow manage one of the most essential and substantial parts of both our quality of life and the economy is, and always has been, fundamentally wrong.”
Update (12:45 pm):U.S. Rep. Steve Pearce:
“Since day one, the Obama Administration has denied that his law was a tax on the American people. Yet, the Obama Administration will claim victory, when all this law does is assess a greater financial burden on hardworking American families and small business owners.
“ObamaCare puts government bureaucrats between patients and their doctors, hurts small businesses and creates trillions in new government spending that will add a huge new weight to our already overloaded deficit.
“We need to get back to work on repealing this ‘tax’ and reforming our healthcare system. These reforms must be focused on protecting patient access to the care they need from the doctor they choose.”
Former U.S. Rep. and Republican U.S. Senate candidate Heather Wilson:
“The health care act is the very symbol of what’s wrong with Washington: It grows the size of government, kills jobs, raises taxes and makes Washington more involved in our lives,” Heather Wilson said. “The court has said that Congress has the power to tax and spend; the people have the power to change the Congress so that we can create jobs and grow our economy in freedom. The right thing to do is repeal and replace the health care act. After today’s decision, the only way to do that is to elect more independent leaders we can trust who will do whatever it takes to make Washington work and get things done for New Mexico.”