A small sample of the reaction to the Supreme Court’s decision on “Obamacare”:
At MPR, Madeleine Baran writes: “Minnesota’s Republican lawmakers quickly denounced the Supreme Court’s decision Thursday to uphold much of the Affordable Care Act. Rep. John Kline called the ruling ‘’a devastating blow to the American people.’ ‘If Washington can penalize private citizens for failing to buy government-approved health insurance, then there is no reasonable limit on federal power,’ Kline said in a statement.”
From Don Davis at the Forum papers: “Representatives of the organization who brought the lawsuit against the health law were devastated. ‘This is very disappointing, and based on the decision, the federal government can now regulate individuals simply for existing,” said Mike Hickey, Minnesota National Federation of Independent Business director. Key to the federal law, enacted two years ago, is a provision requiring most Americans to carry health insurance. But Hickey said many provisions will affect businesses, especially small ones. The federal act, for instance, requires employers with up to the equivalent of 50 workers to provide insurance or pay a $2,000 penalty per employee. ‘It could be a disincentive to grow,’ Hickey said about businesses approaching 50 employees. … [Michele] Bachmann reminded Minnesotans that she brought thousands of Americans to Washington to speak against its passage and was the first to introduce a bill to repeal it. ‘Now, the only way to save the country from Obamacare’s budget-busting government takeover of health care is to completely repeal it,’ she said. On CNN, Bachmann called the decision ‘a turning point in American history. We will never be the same again.’ Bachmann, chairwoman of the House Tea Party Caucus, was in the courtroom as the opinion was read. A commentator in the courtroom said ‘you could see her astonishment.’ ”
MPR’s Elizabeth Stawicki has a Q&A about the impact of the decision:
“Q: During the health care debate, President Barack Obama highlighted the Mayo Clinic as providing exemplary care. Does the law change how Mayo does business at all?
A: No. In fact, the Obama Administration cited Mayo to demonstrate how many of the reforms in the health care law could function in reality. For instance, Mayo will continue coordinating care so that the different doctors treating a single patient communicate and work together to help that patient stay healthy. Mayo was doing that long before the health care law was adopted.
Q: Minnetonka-based UnitedHealth Group is one of the largest health insurance companies in the country, but it doesn’t have a huge portion of customers in Minnesota. How will the health care law affect UnitedHealth Group and other insurers who have many Minnesota policyholders?
A: The health care law means many more customers for health insurance companies. On the other hand, the court did say that the federal government can’t threaten to withhold money from states that don’t participate in the Medicaid expansion, which provides coverage for the poor. So that means some insurers could see fewer new enrollees. Whether states decided to expand Medicaid or not will be particularly important to UnitedHealth Group because it has a subsidiary serving Medicaid patients in 23 states. Meanwhile, HealthPartners, Blue Cross, and Medica for example, have been preparing for an influx of new customers.”
The Service Employees International Union (SEIU) said: “ ‘Today, the court rejected the cynical approach of corporations and Republican extremists who consistently have put profits and politics ahead of working people and whose cold and bitter vision for America is simply that we are all on our own. The fact is, the various lawsuits that resulted in this being taken up by the U.S. Supreme Court were politically motivated and brought by Republican governors and corporate interests. SEIU Healthcare Minnesota’s nurses, doctors, and caregivers know, firsthand, there’s no room for such extreme politics in the overall governance of our healthcare system,’ says Julie Schnell, president of SEIU Healthcare Minnesota (HCMN). ‘The decision today is vitally important for working people trapped in the toughest economic crisis in a generation,’ said Schnell. ‘Justices made a decision that now is not the time to slow down the benefits of the law that is making healthcare more affordable’.”
Naturally, the Right’s bloggers are in a tizzy. But, John Hinderaker notes they are not behaving as “abominably” as the Left: “Last night I wrote about the hysteria with which the left treated the approaching Supreme Court decision on Obamacare. I concluded with this prediction:
Here is a firm prediction, however: if the Court goes the other way and upholds Obamacare, conservatives will not become hysterical, will not proclaim the death of democracy, and will not accuse the liberal justices of racism, or whatever. Notwithstanding the high stakes involved, conservatives will respond in a reasonable and dignified manner.
What I didn’t foresee was that even if the Supreme Court upheld Obamacare, liberals would behave abominably. But that is what has happened.” John then includes a couple of tweets and adds: ‘It is inconceivable that a Republican holding the same position would act in such a classless manner. But it gets worse: Drudge reports that the Democratic National Committee tweeted, and later deleted, this message: ‘Take that mother******s!’ Apparently ‘It’s constitutional. Bitches’ passes muster with the Democratic Party. Unbelievable.”
His Power Line colleague, Scott Johnson, writes: “The idea that the Supreme Court would save us from Obamacare is more fitting for Greek drama, with its device of the deus ex machina, than for modern constitutional law. The big legal fight over Obamacare was a good one, one worth having — and more remain — but I didn’t think the Court was going to save us from this monstrous pseudo-law. Nevertheless, the litigation over Obamacare provides a good education in the idea of limited constitutional government and the imminent danger of its passing. It also demonstrates the jeopardy in which Obamacare has placed it. To borrow an expression from another of the Supreme Court’s First Amendment mistakes, Obamacare poses a clear and present danger to limited constitutional government. Now the fight against Obamacare will be won if it all only on the political battlefield. The Supreme Court has relegated us to the remedy of self-help. The time, coincidentally, is now.” In other words, “now” is when the GOP will turn health insurance reform into a political fight?
At the PiPress, Bill Salisbury reports: “Gov. Dayton’s key commissioners on the topic — Lucinda Jesson at Human Services, Mike Rothman at Commerce and Ed Ehlinger at Health — said in a statement: “The ruling signifies real progress and important protection for citizens across Minnesota.” They said it means affordable insurance for small business, young people can stay on their parents’ health insurance until age 26 and guaranteed coverage for those with pre-existing conditions. … Minnesota House Speaker Kurt Zellers, R-Maple Grove, said President Obama and congressional Democrats have ‘unleashed a massive expansion of government that will harm our economy every day until it is repealed.’ He warned the new tax on Minnesota medical device companies to help pay for the law would ‘slam our economy and kill jobs.’ “
A Strib roundup of comments includes these:
Prof. Lawrence Jacobs, political scientist and health care scholar, University of Minnesota:
“Today’s Supreme Court ruling makes health reform the law of the land and will start a stampede by Minnesota and other states to meet imminent deadlines to comply with the Affordable Care Act. The court’s decision should remove the cloud of constitutional doubts that that has deterred the Republican-controlled Minnesota Legislature from working with the Dayton administration. …
Dr. Patricia Lindholm, past president of the Minnesota Medical Association, and family physician in Fergus Falls:
“I think this is a very, very good start. As a primary care doctor, it takes a lot of stress out of the relationship with the patient when they’re saying: ‘Can I skip my appointment because it costs such and such?’ Or: ‘I can’t afford the medication.’ If we can make it easier to participate in the health care system, our lives as providers would be a lot easier, too.”
Rep. Steve Gottwalt, R-St. Cloud, chairman of the state House Health and Human Services Finance Committee:
‘Outside of the fact I believe the U.S. Supreme Court got it wrong on the huge issue of constitutionality, this decision makes the challenges before us much more difficult. The Affordable Care Act solves nothing in terms of delivering greater access to lower cost, higher quality health care. Having the federal government take over the direction of health care for our state takes Minnesota backwards.”
One of “the most wanted alleged sex criminals” will not be extradited from England back to Minnesota. The BBC says: “The High Court in London has blocked a US government attempt to extradite a man accused of child sex. Shawn Sullivan, 43, won his appeal against extradition after US authorities refused to pledge he would not be placed on a controversial sex offender treatment programme. Sullivan is described as one of the US’s most-wanted alleged sex criminals. His lawyers argued he might be placed on the programme without a trial and with no hope of release. Sullivan, who was not in court, is accused of raping a 14-year-old girl and sexually molesting two 11-year-olds in Minnesota between 1993 and 1994. He has a previous conviction for sexually assaulting two 12-year-old girls in Ireland, for which he was given a suspended sentence.”