WASHINGTON — The U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday, June 28th upheld the controversial health care law championed by President Barack Obama in a landmark decision that will impact the November election and the lives of every American. In a 5-4 ruling, the high court decided the individual mandate requiring people to have health insurance is valid as a tax, even though it is impermissible under the Constitution’s commerce clause. Wisconsin’s political leaders were quick to weigh in on the landmark case regarding how health care will move forward in the state.
Wisconsin Democrats rejoiced following the high court’s ruling, and are now focusing on Gov. Scott Walker, who once again is at the center of controversy regarding when and how the health care law will be implemented in the state.
Gov. Walker said Thursday the fight over health care reform is moving into its second phase — the 2012 election. Walker said he won’t take any action to set up the mandated insurance exchanges until after the November presidential election.
“If after November, you have a new Congress and potentially a new president to make dramatic changes, that doesn’t make a whole lot of sense,” Gov. Walker said.
“What he and the rest of the state are going to be obligated to do is comply with the law,” Van Hollen said.
State Rep. Jon Richards (D – Milwaukee) is a ranking member of the Assembly Health Committee. He and other state Democrats hailed Thursday’s decision as a landmark win in the long-running battle over health care reform.
“If (Walker) doesn’t agree with it, then swallow hard because the way our country is set up is that the states follow federal law. This is a great victory for Wisconsin health care consumers, for everybody who has diabetes or cancer or asthma, or any of the preexisting conditions. This decision means you will not be able to lose your health insurance coverage,” Richards said.
“Millions of Americans, millions of people in Wisconsin don’t have to worry if they have a preexisting condition,” State Rep. Sandy Pasch (D – Whitefish Bay) said.
In the meantime, having lost in the high court, Congressional Republicans are appealing to the court of public opinion.
“I think this law has particularly damaging effects on Wisconsinites. Number 1 — it raises everybody’s taxes. Number 2 — it restricts people’s choices in how they get their health insurance. Number 3 — it encourages more and more employers to drop health insurance for their employees and dump them into the government exchange where people have one size fits all government health care,” Rep. Paul Ryan said.
FOX6 News spoke by phone with Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner following the Supreme Court’s ruling, who said House Republicans will vote next week to repeal the law. That is largely a symbolic move, because the Senate and the presidency remain controlled by Democrats.