Florida politicians react to Supreme Court upholding Obamacare

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The Supreme Court on Thursday upheld the nationwide tax subsidies under President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul, in a ruling that preserves health insurance for millions of Americans.

The justices said in a 6-3 ruling that the subsidies that 8.7 million people currently receive to make insurance affordable do not depend on where they live, under the 2010 health care law.

The outcome is the second major victory for Obama in politically charged Supreme Court tests of his most significant domestic achievement.

Here is a compilation of reactions from Florida’s elected officials and politicians:

U.S. Senator Marco Rubio:

“I disagree with the Court’s ruling and believe they have once again erred in trying to correct the mistakes made by President Obama and Congress in forcing Obamacare on the American people.

“Despite the Court’s decision, ObamaCare is still a bad law that is having a negative impact on our country and on millions of Americans. I remain committed to repealing this bad law and replacing it with my consumer-centered plan that puts patients and families back in control of their health care decisions. We need Consumer Care, not ObamaCare.”

U.S. Sen Bill Nelson:

“I think the nation’s high court made the correct ruling. Clearly Congress intended for this law to help the uninsured gain access to affordable medical care and coverage.  Hopefully, some of the extremists will now stop trying to dismantle the law and instead join us in trying to improve it where needed.”

U.S. Rep. Gwen Graham:

“This ruling means thousands of middle-class families in the Second Congressional District will keep their tax credits and pay less for the private health insurance they purchase. There’s still more to be done to make Obamacare work better for North Florida, and I’m committed to working with Democrats and Republicans to fix this law.”

U.S. Rep. Alan Grayson:

“The Supreme Court’s validation of the insurance subsidies for the Affordable Care Act is a great victory for the health of Florida and all Americans. It is fantastic news for the 1.4 million Floridians who currently get their insurance through the Federal Marketplace. This ruling means that 1,000,000+ Floridians will not lose their health insurance, and will continue to receive treatment for conditions that otherwise would go undiagnosed and untreated. It means that 63,000 residents in my district will not lose their health insurance subsidies.

“As great as this decision is for Florida, Governor Rick Scott is still is not doing enough to ensure the health and well-being of Floridians. His refusal to expand Medicaid, backed by his Republican colleagues, is not only putting millions of people’s lives at risk, it’s costing our state billions of dollars.

“The Affordable Care Act is the most important federal health law since the establishment of Medicare and Medicaid. It is working. I’m glad that the Court has declared, once and for all, that Obamacare is legal and Constitutional.”

U.S. Rep. Patrick Murphy:

Today, millions of Floridians can rest easy knowing that the critical funding they need for their health care coverage will remain in place.  More Floridians are benefiting from the health care law than anywhere in the country, and while we can continue to work to strengthen the law, it shouldn’t be used as a political football that jeopardizes critical assistance for millions of Americans.”

U.S. Rep. Gus Bilirakis:

“Despite today’s decision, I am committed to enacting patient-centered health-care reforms that will lower costs, increase access to quality care, and put people, not government bureaucrats, back in charge of health-care,” Bilirakis said on Thursday. “The president’s health-care law has been riddled with problems: it is filled with costly mandates on my constituents and small businesses, resulted in thousands of canceled health-care plans, raised the cost of health-care, and gutted Medicare by hundreds of billions of dollars.

U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor:

“Nearly 6.4 million Americans across the country can breathe a sigh of relief today after the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the validity of health tax credits for our hardworking neighbors who purchase health coverage through the federally run marketplaces – like in Florida. This decision will ensure Floridians and working families across the country continue to have access to affordable coverage options. The Republican-led lawsuit sought to unravel the Affordable Care Act as part of the GOP’s reckless obsession to block health care reform at every turn at the expense of millions of families seeking quality health care plans and financial security.

“Today’s ruling is especially welcome news in Florida where health tax credits for 1.3 million Floridians were at risk. Floridians have already been subjected to Gov. Rick Scott’s political obstruction and scare tactics which are contrary to the best interests of our citizens and businesses. I have heard concerns from mothers, students and others who have been on the brink of losing the peace of mind and financial security afforded by health care coverage.

“The Affordable Care Act is the law of the land — it has been upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court in two major cases since the legislation was passed in 2010 and has withstood reckless and wasteful attempts by Republicans in Congress to repeal and weaken its provisions. I urge federal and state leaders to come together to sustain health care reform’s progress, which has drastically increased the number of insured individuals and families, implemented numerous consumer protections to put patients before the profits of health insurance companies and saved seniors money on their prescription drugs.”

“Patients should be able to choose the health-care that is right for their families and their budgets, and I will continue to advocate for patient-centered health-care.”

U.S Rep. Ted Deutch:

“More than 1.3 million Floridians and nearly 7 million Americans nationwide can breathe a sigh of relief today, for the Supreme Court has ruled they can keep the federal tax credits that keep their health insurance premiums affordable.

“Today’s simple but historic ruling in King v. Burwell upholds the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act for a second time. As Chief Justice Roberts explains his opinion for the majority, Congress passed health care reform in 2010 to improve our state health insurance markets, not destroy them. In order to make life-saving health coverage affordable for all Americans, tax credits must be available to all eligible taxpayers nationwide, no matter the state they reside.

“Five years in, the Affordable Care Act has helped more than 16 million Americans gain coverage and drive our nation’s uninsured rate down to historic lows. Having now failed in the Supreme Court twice, it is time for Republicans to recognize that this law is here to stay. In Tallahassee, that means Governor Rick Scott working in a bipartisan way to expand Medicaid and ensure that 800,000 low-income Floridians can see a doctor if they get sick. And in Washington, that means Republicans working with Democrats not to dismantle this law, but to improve its shortcomings and make our health care system more sustainable for the American people.”

U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis 

“The Supreme Court’s interpretive gymnastics means that millions of Americans will continue to be burdened with increased premiums, high deductibles, and fewer hours, or else face stiff tax penalties.

“We must repeal ObamaCare and replace it with patient-centered solutions that actually make health insurance more affordable, promote small business expansion and job growth, and relieve bureaucratic burdens on doctors and patients.”

Former Gov. Jeb Bush:

“I am disappointed by today’s Supreme Court ruling in the King v. Burwell case. But this decision is not the end of the fight against Obamacare.

“This fatally-flawed law imposes job-killing mandates, causes spending in Washington to skyrocket by $1.7 trillion, raises taxes by $1 trillion and drives up health care costs.  Instead of fixing our health care system, it made the problems worse.

“As President of the United States, I would make fixing our broken health care system one of my top priorities.   I will work with Congress to repeal and replace this flawed law with conservative reforms that empower consumers with more choices and control over their health care decisions.

“Here is what I believe:  We need to put patients in charge of their own decisions and health care reform should actually lower costs.  Entrepreneurs should be freed to lower costs and improve access to care – just like American ingenuity does in other sectors of the economy.

“Americans deserve leadership that can actually fix our broken health care system, and they are certainly not getting it now from Washington, DC.”

Florida Senate President Andy Gardiner:

“The federal exchange provides access to low cost health insurance for more people in Florida than any other state, so today’s ruling is certainly welcome news for those more than 1.3 million Floridians who currently receive subsidies on the federal exchange.

“Unfortunately, more than 800,000 of our friends and neighbors still fall into the coverage gap, making too much to enroll in traditional Medicaid and too little to qualify for a subsidy on the federal exchange. The Senate remains committed to addressing this serious health care problem through a free-market Florida solution that maximizes consumer choice and personal responsibility, while protecting state sovereignty.

“With today’s ruling behind us, it is my hope we can continue to work with our colleagues in the House and with Governor Scott to craft a compromise plan to expand access to health care coverage and services for low-income working Floridians across our state.”

Former Speaker of the Florida House Will Weatherford:

“Wow! Disappointed does not explain my feelings on this one!”

State Rep. Mia Jones:

“The U.S. Supreme Court made the right decision today, rejecting the latest in partisan attempts to undercut the Affordable Care Act. I’m surely glad the 1.6 million Floridians who have enrolled for coverage through the federal exchange will not have their health care disrupted. Continuing coverage through the exchange is so important here, with more people helped in Florida than in any other state.

“I’m especially happy with the court’s ruling because, if the outcome would have been different, Republican leadership in Florida – particularly Gov. Rick Scott – had done nothing to prepare for such an outcome. Even though that negligence is fact, I’m glad it won’t harm anyone.”

State Rep. Janet Cruz:

 “This decision saves the health care of 1.3 million Floridians, who would have lost their insurance if Republicans had their way. Once again, the Supreme Court has upheld the Affordable Care Act as the law of the land.

“It has been over five years after the Affordable Care Act was signed into law. Millions of Americans are no longer denied health coverage due to pre-existing conditions. Millions of Americans can now stay on their parent’s health plan until they are 26. Millions of Americans are able to afford quality health insurance that they can be proud of.

“Yet, in Tallahassee and in Washington, House Republicans are still trying to destroy this process while continuing to waste tax payer dollars in their futile attempts to repeal this law that we know is working and saving lives.

“Instead of proposing a single viable alternative, Republicans in the Florida House are marching in lockstep with their allies in Congress, who have voted more than 50 times to repeal or dismantle the Affordable Care Act.

“The state of Florida still has 800,000 people without health insurance. I fought hard to expand quality healthcare to our citizens and neighbors but House Republicans failed them. While I applaud our Supreme Court’s decision my job is not done until we expand health care coverage in our great state.”

The James Madison Institute:

“While the U.S. Supreme Court ruling against the Obama administration in King v. Burwell is certainly disappointing for healthcare, the precedent set will have far reaching and potentially discouraging implications for all manner of laws passed by Congress in administrations both Republican and Democrat. Consider the policy realm of government surveillance, labor law, or any number of arenas in which a Congress passes laws that are then manipulated beyond their stated words. This ruling should be considered a loss no matter what one’s view of Obamacare.

“With that said, the effort to truly bring down healthcare costs and increase access to care continues, as the negative impacts of Obamacare will unfold over the next several years.  The fact is, Americans have been sold a lie, and as the policy continues its rollout, individuals, families, business owners, and insurers will learn the painful truth. The country’s healthcare challenges, which have taken generations to evolve, cannot be fixed by the federal government with a single silver bullet in the form of Obamacare.  Both federal and state policymakers can and should champion positive reforms that can right the ship.”

Progress Florida:

“Today the Supreme Court decided the fate of more than six million Americans and more than a million Floridians, ensuring they will continue to be able to afford quality health coverage.

“This historic decision benefits more families in Florida than anywhere else in the nation. More than a million Floridians will continue to save over three thousand dollars each through tax credits and cost-sharing reductions that enable them to afford health coverage.

“Now is the time for Gov. Rick Scott and his allies in the legislature and in Congress to end their efforts to undermine the Affordable Care Act once and for all.”

Safety Net Hospital Alliance:

“Safety net hospitals applaud today’s court ruling upholding crucial premium subsidies for more than 1.3 million state residents who have obtained health coverage through the federal exchange. Today’s ruling ensures that Florida families of modest means will continue to receive the support they need to afford their health insurance.

“With their coverage intact, these residents will continue to have access to a full range of preventative and primary healthcare services delivered in an efficient and cost-effective manner, versus being uninsured and either forgoing care they need because it is unaffordable or seeking treatment in hospital emergency rooms, which is the most expensive route to care.

“Our 14 safety net members represent just 10 percent of all hospitals in Florida, yet provide more than 40 percent of all hospital charity care in the state. This ruling avoids the additional financial strain our systems would have faced if asked to provide even more uncompensated and charity care to the uninsured.”

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including SaintPetersBlog.com, FloridaPolitics.com, ContextFlorida.com, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.