Supreme Court affirms Obamacare

Published 9:38 pm Thursday, June 25, 2015

Mirroring a nationwide trend, reaction from elected officials representing Suffolk to Thursday’s Supreme Court decision upholding tax subsidies under President Barack Obama’s health care law are split on party lines.

The 6-3 ruling determined it doesn’t matter where the 8.7 million Americans receiving subsidized health insurance live. Opponents had argued that subsidies should only be available to those in states that have opted to set up their own exchanges for subsidized plans.

Obamacare recipients in states that opted out — including Virginia — shopped for their plans in a federally facilitated exchange.

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Rep. Randy Forbes, a Republican whose congressional district takes in Suffolk, stated Americans need their government to facilitate collaboration between patients, businesses, insurers and providers to create affordable, free-market health insurance options.

“Today’s decision doesn’t change how dysfunctional and destabilizing Obamacare has been to our country’s healthcare system,” he stated.

“It is crucial that Congress reframes the conversation over the federal government’s proper role in healthcare. Americans don’t need bureaucrats with ‘government knows best’ attitudes micromanaging their healthcare.”

Virginia’s two Democratic senators, Tim Kaine and Mark Warner, praised the decision. Warner stated the decision preserves affordable coverage for more than 300,000 Virginia who used the federal exchange.

“This is the second time the nation’s highest court has validated our country’s important shift toward affordable and accessible health care for everyone,” according to Warner, who added he has consistently said the law could be improved.

“I really hope today’s ruling allows us as a country to move beyond divisive attacks and come together to work to improve health care quality, access and affordability.”

Kaine also noted 300,000 Virginians can now keep their coverage. “The decision is a direct rejection of the heartless effort led by health care law opponents to push families — many of whom have insurance coverage for the first time — back into the ranks of the vulnerable uninsured,” he wrote.

From a health system perspective, Bon Secours Hampton Roads Chief Executive Officer Michael K. Kerner praised the ruling.

“Now that the Supreme Court has affirmed the legality of the ACA, it’s time to invest our collective time and energy to focus on those who have little or no health care coverage,” he stated, apparently referencing the debate in Virginia over expanding Medicaid.

“We continue to care for many individuals who are vulnerable or currently uninsured.  Our hope is that we will continue to find solutions to help those we serve have reliable, affordable and meaningful health coverage.”