Missouri congressional delegation reacts to ACA decision

The Missouri congressional delegation’s reaction to Thursday morning’s decision by the U.S. Supreme Court in King vs. Burwell was predictably split along party lines.

In a statement released by his office, U.S. Senator Roy Blunt said he would keep fighting against what he calls “Obamacare”.

“For more than five years, I’ve heard from countless Missouri workers, seniors, and families who are facing higher costs and fewer choices due to the president’s health care takeover. And Missourians recently learned more bad news when the Obama Administration announced premium rate increases for our state in 2016 of up to 34 percent.

“This law has been one false promise after another. First, the president promised people if they liked their health care, they could keep it. He insisted that not having coverage would result in a penalty, not a tax, and he promised affordable health care to millions of Americans who now find they cannot afford it.

“While I’m disappointed that the Court didn’t ultimately accept what the law actually said, I’ll keep fighting to protect Missourians from the president’s flawed health care plan and replace it with a patient-centered system that lowers costs, increases choices, and provides greater access to quality care.”

In addition, the release from Blunt’s office went on to point out the ACA’s effect on Missouri citizens and employers.

“On June 1, 2015, the Department of Health and Human Services released rate filings for approximately three-quarters of the country showing insurers have requested double-digit premium increases for nearly 700 individual and small group ObamaCare plans for next year. Missourians may pay up to 34 percent more for their health insurance premiums next year, with 13 exchange plans requesting a double-digit increase,” the statement continued.

Missouri Democratic U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill took to Twitter to respond to the decision. “Supreme Court decision on healthcare law=common sense. Time for Rs to stop the bashing and start working w/us to make it better,” McCaskill wrote in Twitter shorthand.

U.S. Rep. Ann Wagner (R-Mo2) issued the following statement:

“Today’s Supreme Court decision does not change the fact that Obamacare is a deeply flawed law that puts an undue burden on hardworking Americans,” Rep. Wagner said. “We will continue to focus on protecting the American people – and offering new choices for quality, affordable health care – not protecting this failed law. Missourians shouldn’t have to suffer higher health care costs – they deserve a patient-centered solution.”

Southwest Missouri Congressman Billy Long (R-Mo7) said:

“I am disappointed with the Supreme Court’s ruling handed down today allowing federal subsidies to states on federal exchanges to continue.  It is puzzling.  The Affordable Care Act, as written, does not allow the federal government to subsidize insurance payments in states without their own exchanges, yet the Court ruled to uphold the practice.  I see this as a failure in checks and balances and as an instance of the court legislating from the bench.  As a member of the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health, I will continue working with my colleagues to replace Obamacare with patient-centered provisions while keeping promises made for affordable insurance coverage.”

Mid Missouri Congresswoman Vickey Hartzler (R-Mo4) reacted this way:

“Obamacare has been a disaster since its inception.  This ruling does nothing to help the American people get out from underneath the clutch of an onerous federal mandate and bolsters a bad law, making it more difficult for Congress to work towards real, patient-centered reform to our broken health care system.  Moreover, it sets an extremely dangerous precedent that the executive can unilaterally alter laws – a job constitutionally delegated to the elected representatives in Congress.  I am extremely disappointed the Supreme Court failed to rebuke President Obama’s continued executive overreach of legislating from the Oval Office.”

Democratic Congressman Emanuel Cleaver from Kansas City (D-Mo5) issued this statement:

“The Supreme Court has said it again and again: The Affordable Care Act is the law of the land,” said Congressman Cleaver, II. “Today’s decision saves lives. The ACA is helping millions of Americans focus on their families, jobs, and quality of life, instead of worrying about what will happen if they and their family members get hurt or sick. Now I am no lawyer—I am simply a United Methodist preacher. Even I can tell you, the text, structure, and history of the law have always been crystal clear on this: tax credits are available to all eligible Americans, regardless of whether they live in a State that chose to set up its own Exchange or, in a State, like Missouri, that chose to let the Federal government set one up for it. As the majority opinion states, ‘Congress passed the Affordable Care Act to improve health insurance markets, not to destroy them.’ Some political partisans have been trying to eke out a victory against President Obama and Congressional Democrats, at the expense of people’s health, well-being, and wallets. Today’s decision protects 6.4 million Americans across the country and 200,000 in Missouri from suffering. It is a victory for us all.”

From St. Louis, Democratic Congressman William Lacy Clay, Jr. (D-Mo1) lauded the Supreme Court’s decision.

“I am very gratified that the high court has upheld this essential funding mechanism for the Affordable Care Act, landmark legislation which I helped shape, that is now working well for over 16 million Americans.

The ACA is now the settled law of the land. And the endless, politically motivated attempts to weaken or overturn it must end.

Now is the time to fully implement the law, especially in states like Missouri where the state legislature continues to throw away $5.4 million a day in federal funds that taxpayers have already sent to Washington by refusing to expand Medicaid under the ACA.

The time for political posturing and empty excuses is over.  They must act without delay to allow their most vulnerable constituents to receive affordable healthcare coverage, just like they do.”

From southcental Missouri, Republican Congressman Blaine Luetkemeyer (R-Mo5) issued the following statement:

“Today the Supreme Court upheld Obamacare in the case of King v. Burwell. While I had hoped for a different outcome, this does not mean that I will give up the fight to chip away at the costly and job killing components of the president’s failed health-care law. I will continue to listen to the people of the 3rd District and work with my colleagues to repeal the most onerous pieces of Obamacare and am also looking ahead towards a future where real solutions can be made – solutions that focus on freedom, empowerment, flexibility, and putting doctors and patients back in charge of health-care.”