|TN legislators react to Supreme Court ruling|
|Friday, June 29, 2012|
By PATRICK HALL
Justices of the United States Supreme Court ruled yesterday 5-to-4 that the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, commonly known as “Obamacare” did not violate the U.S. Constitution and a majority of Congressmen representing Wilson County expressed their disappointment with the ruling.
Sixth District U.S Rep. Diane Black, R-Gallatin, called the Supreme Court’s decision “flawed” and said the ruling was “a gross interpretation of Congress’ taxing responsibility under the Constitution.”
The individual mandate, which requires Americans to either purchase health insurance by 2014 or pay a fine, was interpreted by the majority of Supreme Court Justices to be constitutional under the government’s ability to impose a tax.“One thing this decision certainly does not change is the need for Obamacare to be repealed—immediately,” Black said. “As a member of the Ways and Means Committee, I will work with my colleagues on repealing this ‘tax’.”
Also, U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tennessee, said the Court’s decision was “an historic mistake” and also called for a repeal of the law.
"The Supreme Court may have failed to declare the entire healthcare law unconstitutional, but it is still an historic mistake that expanded a healthcare system we already knew we couldn’t afford,” Alexander said. “Congress should repeal the law and then proceed step-by-step to reduce the cost of healthcare so more Americans can afford to buy insurance.”
Also, U.S. Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tennessee, called for Congress to repeal the legislation following the Supreme Court’s ruling.
“Today’s ruling makes it clear that it’s up to Congress to replace the president’s healthcare law with common sense reforms that our nation and its citizens can afford,” Corker said.
Fifth District U.S. Rep. Jim Cooper, D-Nashville, voted for the Act in 2010 and said he was not surprised by the decision of the Court on Thursday.
“Most American lawyers aren’t surprised by today’s Supreme Court decision, nor am I. It turns out that Obamacare, Romneycare and Robertscare are the same thing—and constitutional,” Cooper said.
Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam also had criticism for the Affordable Care Act, noting, “My primary issues with Obamacare are that it takes away the flexibility for states to encourage healthy behavior, will cost Tennessee hundreds of millions of dollars, and does nothing to solve the crisis of the cost of healthcare in America.”
Black, Alexander and Corker all voted against passage of the healthcare law and have voted in favor of legislation to repeal the measure. Cooper voted in favor of passing the healthcare law.
Local members of the Tennessee General Assembly also weighed in on the Court’s ruling, agreeing the Justices’ decision was disappointing.
“I am disappointed in the Court’s ruling today,” said District 17 State Sen. Mae Beavers, R-Mt. Juliet. “Thankfully, the Court seemed to agree with me and District 46 State Rep. Mark Pody on the Commerce Clause issue, which should prove helpful in future policy debates.”
“As an attorney and a defender of the Constitution, I am disappointed that the Supreme Court upheld Obamacare, but am grateful that they seemed to interpret the Commerce Clause to more accurately reflect the true intent of our Constitution,” said District 57 State Rep. Linda Elam, R-Mt. Juliet.
“I hope that today’s important ruling lets the federal government know that they do not have free reign when it comes to their power, and that our great country will not see its health care system fall the way of Europe and other countries who have witnessed the horrors associated with socialist systems,” Pody said.
Also, Lou Ann Zelenik, who is running against Black for the Republican nomination in the 6th District U.S. House race, said the law must be de-funded and repealed.
“We must de-fund and repeal Obamacare, it is an attack on the finances and the liberties of the American people.”
You may read the Supreme Court’s fully documented ruling on the case National Federation of Independent Business vs. Sebelius, at http://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/11pdf/11-393c3a2.pdf.