Local Politicians, Candidates Take Sides on Obamacare Ruling

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Originally published by St. Louis Park Patch:

Article by: Michael Rose and James Warden

Reflecting the liberal-conservative split evident in the Supreme Court's historic health care ruling Thursday, local Democrats applauded the decision while Republicans chided it.

The U.S. Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of the "individual mandate," the centerpiece of the Affordable Health Care Act that President Barack Obama signed into law last year.

Five of the nine justices agreed that the key to the act—the requirement that people either buy health insurance or pay a tax penalty—is a kind of tax, which Congress is allowed to impose using its taxing power, according to the Bloomberg News-operated SCOTUSblog.

In a joint statement issued with fellow Congressional Progressive Caucus co-chair Rep. Raúl M. Grijalva (D-AZ), Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN) applauded the court's decision.

“This ruling is a significant victory for the American people," the statement read. "After a two-year legal battle, the Supreme Court confirmed today that the Affordable Care Act will continue to provide millions of Americans with health coverage."

Democrats in Senate District 46 echoed Ellison's sentiment. Sen. Ron Latz praised the decision for allowing the law to provide greater access to insurance—ticking off key items in the bill, such as the provision that lets young adults stay on their parents’ insurance until they’re 26 and the ban on turning people down for preexisting conditions.

“I believe that the policy is a good policy for our constituents,” he said, adding that it’s a “pro-business decision” that will save businesses money, reduce absenteeism and increase productivity.

Latz said it’s not yet clear how it’ll affect the state budget, although he said he expects the impact to be minor since Minnesota already has a robust system to care for its residents.

Still, he expects a debate next year as legislators discuss whether Minnesota should run its own health insurance exchange.

“That’ll be a battle. I fully expect that’ll be a political battle at the state Capitol,” he said.


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