Blunt, McCaskill, Long, Hartzler react to court's Obamacare subsidy ruling

Posted on June 26, 2015 17:47 pm CDT

Springfield News-Leader

Thomas Gounley

The approximately 223,000 Missourians who receive subsidies for health insurance purchased through the federal exchange will be able to keep them.

The Supreme Court on Thursday rejected a major challenge to President Barack Obama's Affordable Care Act, ruling 6-3 that subsidies can be offered to resident of states like Missouri that chose not to build a state exchange to sell private insurance plans.

The ruling is a relief to people like Daniel Kaliszewski. The Springfield man told the News-Leader last month that he makes about $335 a week after taxes as a warehouse worker for Bass Pro Shops, and that he can't afford the insurance the company offers. The plan he purchased through the exchange has a premium of $168 a month, of which almost $100 is covered by a subsidy.

"If I was to lose that subsidy, I'd be screwed," Kaliszewski said last month.

Kaliszewski learned of the Thursday ruling when a News-Leader reporter called.

"It just brings peace of mind," he said.

"My family has a history of heart disease," Kaliszewski added. "My dad was only 39 when he had a heart attack. I'm 32."

The Thursday ruling is the second major victory for Obama in politically charged Supreme Court tests of his most significant domestic achievement. Chief Justice John Roberts again voted with his liberal colleagues in support of the law. Roberts also was the key vote to uphold the law in 2012. Justice Anthony Kennedy also voted with his more liberal colleagues.

Area politicians were quick to react to the ruling, which was one of the most anticipated of the court's session. On Twitter, Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., called the decision "common sense," and said Republicans need to "stop the bashing" and starting working with Democrats to make the law "better."

But the rest of southwest Missouri's congressional delegation said they were "disappointed" with the ruling. In a statement, Senator Roy Blunt, R-Mo., said the Affordable Care Act "has been one false promise after another."

"First, the president promised people if they liked their health care, they could keep it," Blunt said. "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."

Rep. Vicky Hartzler, R-Harrisonville, said in a statement the ruling "bolsters a bad law, making it more difficult for Congress to work towards real, patient-centered reform to our broken health care system."

Rep. Billy Long, R-Springfield, called the decision "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," Long said in a statement. "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."

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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