The decision by the Supreme Court to uphold the Affordable Care Act was largely surprising on Thursday and prompted responses on this landmark and controversial law from all corners.
Shortly after noon on Thursday, President Barack Obama spoke on the recent ruling of the Supreme Court that upheld the ACA.
Obama stressed that part of the importance of providing care for all Americans and making it mandatory that they pay for insurance is to lower the cost for everyone. He acknowledged that this stance was not politically popular, and was even something he resisted when he ran for office.
As the law is implemented over the next few years, the government will improve upon it as needed. But, now that the law has been passed, Obama expressed his desire to turn the focus back to putting American back to work and paying down the debt.
“Today I’m as confident as ever that when we look back five years from now, or 10 years from now, or even 20 years from now, we’ll be better off because we had the courage to pass this law and keep moving forward,” Obama said.
The majority of the health care industry has come out in support of the ruling, with organizations like the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC), the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) and the American Medical Association (AMA) putting out statements applauding the Supreme Court’s decision.
AMA President Jeremy A. Lazarus, MD, stated his organization’s support of providing coverage for all Americans.
“This decision protects important improvements, such as ending coverage denials due to pre-existing conditions and lifetime caps on insurance, and allowing the 2.5 million young adults up to age 26 who gained coverage under the law to stay on their parents' health insurance policies,” he said in a statement.
Making coverage of all Americans mandatory was an economic necessity, according to AAFP President Glen Stream, MD, MBI, and that all Americans need to participate in the health care coverage system so that health care for all can be obtained and sustainable.
“Equally important, however, are the law’s provisions that will build the primary care workforce to meet patients’ needs,” Stream said in a statement. “The Supreme Court decision maintains already-launched initiatives that support wider implementation of the patient-centered medical home and that value primary medical care through payment incentives for primary care physicians.”
Rich Umbdenstock, president and chief executive officer of the American Hospital Association, tempered his enthusiasm with a caution that just because the law has passed, it doesn’t mean the problems with the health care industry are solved.
“But transforming the delivery of health care will take much more than the strike of a gavel or stroke of a pen,” he said in a statement. “It calls for the entire health care community to continue to work together, along with patients and purchasers, to implement better coordinated, high-quality care.”
Not all reactions to the ruling were positive, however. Opponents of ACA were disappointed. Reuters compiled statements as they were released.
“Today’s Supreme Court decision is disappointing and I still believe this is the wrong approach for the people of New Jersey who should be able to make their own judgments about health care,” said New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie. “Most importantly, the Supreme Court is confirming what we knew all along about this law — it is a tax on middle class Americans.”
Other opponents vowed to fight to repeal the entire law, including the chair of the House Ways and Means Committee, Dave Camp; Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.); and Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Texas), the chair of the House Judiciary Committee.
“The president’s health care law is hurting our economy by driving up health costs and making it harder for small businesses to hire,” said House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio). “Today’s ruling underscores the urgency of repealing this harmful law in its entirety. What Americans want is a common-sense, step-by-step approach to health care reform that will protect Americans’ access to the care they need, from the doctor they choose, at a lower cost. Republicans stand ready to work with a president who will listen to the people and will not repeat the mistakes that gave our country ObamaCare.”
And of course, Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney was one of the firsts to not only react, but vow to overturn the law if he was elected. However, he did say that he would keep certain parts, such as preventing insurers from denying coverage because of a preexisting medical condition.
However, physician groups were largely pleased with the outcome.
“By upholding the Affordable Care Act, the Supreme Court has ensured that Americans have access to affordable, sustainable health care coverage and that they receive high quality, coordinated and efficient care based on primary care,” Stream said. “It is a future that family physicians happily anticipate.”