Thursday, June 28, 2012

Local officials say federal healthcare ruling is basically the beginning of a joyous new day or the end of the world

Posted By on Thu, Jun 28, 2012 at 12:11 PM

Our inbox is starting to fill with local officials and campaign groups expressing joy or disappointment with the U.S. Supreme Court's federal healthcare ruling. As expected, the Democrats are ecstatic while conservatives, business groups, and and tea partiers are imagining the Founding Fathers rolling around in their graves for the 1,345th time.

Says Tim Sweeney, the director of public health at the Georgia Budget and Policy Institute, a left-leaning think tank that focuses on Gold Dome issues:

The U.S. Supreme Court's ruling that the Affordable Care Act is constitutional is a major victory for the nearly 2 million Georgians currently living without health insurance. The new law will provide previously uninsured families with access to affordable, high-quality health care and provides important consumer protections to Georgians who already have including the elimination of lifetime benefit limits and the requirement that insurers cover pre-existing conditions. It's time to move forward with implementation of the law immediately so Georgians can take advantage of new health care options. In particular, Georgia should prepare to move forward with the Medicaid expansion that will bring billions in federal funds to the state while covering some of Georgia's most vulnerable residents.

Mayor Kasim Reed's pleased:

House Minority Leader Stacey Abrams praised the ruling in a statement:

"The Supreme Court today issued an extraordinary ruling that will help millions of American families achieve better access to medical care and no longer have to choose between economic security and their health... We are very pleased by the Court's decision to uphold President Obama's signature achievement and its protections for Georgia families. Two million Georgians will have new access to insurance, and more will gain preventative care, lower costs and quality service."

Not everyone's thrilled.

So says Gov. Nathan Deal in a press release (he's holding a 2 p.m. Gold Dome press conference on the ruling):

"My battle with Obamacare didn't start when I was elected as governor of Georgia[.] I wear with pride my bruises and scars from the fight against its passage in the U.S. House. Today, the highest court in the country let the American people down.

"While we recognize this is a huge setback for fiscal sanity and personal liberty, we are not giving up. Georgians and the American people deserve high-quality, sustainable health care. Congress must now work steadfastly on repealing this law and replacing it with reforms that help taxpayers instead of hurt them."

Georgia Attorney General Sam Olens, who helped fight the law in court along with other states, said in a press release that the ruling strongly implies that "there is no longer any meaningful limit to the power of the federal government":

"I disagree with this decision. Congress explicitly said this was not a tax[.] I call on Congress to act swiftly, repeal the law and replace it with real reform that respects the Constitution as written."

Georgia Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Chris Clark envisions doom for the Peach State's businesses:

"We are greatly disappointed in the decision rendered today by the Supreme Court and believe that the path on which our nation is being forced to move forward will be detrimental to both employers and employees throughout the nation as a result of increased costs and new regulations. Businesses will be forced to make difficult decisions that will likely result in employees losing their employer-provided coverage. Our organization will look forward to working with the Governor and other leaders at the state and federal level to implement the law in a way that takes into account the important role businesses play by providing this important benefit and the overall impact on our economy."

Ditto Kelly McCutcheon, the president of the Georgia Public Policy Foundation, a "free-market" think:

"The Founding Fathers would be mortified to see the body blow to their hard-won concept of America's limited government," McCutchen said. "Congress now has the power to do whatever it wants."

"This flawed decision highlights the urgent need for state action to protect taxpayers and health care consumers from the harmful effects of this law. The solution to this nation's health care problems certainly are not in Washington, D.C., and this ruling reinforces our commitment to work harder than ever to restore the proper balance of individual rights and government power in Georgia and in Washington."

McCutchen vowed the Foundation will continue to work with like-minded organizations and leaders across the country and the state to push for "reforms that put patients in charge of their own care, give low-income recipients true access to care, and protect taxpayers from the skyrocketing costs of the federal law."

More Founding Fathers fan-fiction! Says Steve Ramey of the Founding Fathers Tea Party Patriots to the AJC:

"The rumbling sound you hear in the distance is the founding fathers turning over in their graves because no one ever believed that this would come to pass[.]"

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