The decision by the Supreme Court Thursday to uphold the controversial Affordable Care Act — also known as Obamacare — was received pretty much along party lines by Queens elected officials.
“I am pleased that the Supreme Court upheld the Affordable Care Act,” said state Sen. Tony Avella (D-Bayside.) “It is time to move beyond the right wing, Tea party rhetoric against this law which masked the fact that healthcare in this country is in need of real reform. This legislation is certainly a significant step in the right direction and I applaud the Supreme Court for letting it stand.”
Rep. Joe Crowley (D-Queens, the Bronx) hopes the decision will lead to a bipartisan effort in Congress. “Over two years ago, President Obama and Democrats in Congress took on the longstanding challenge of improving our nation’s health care system. We worked to put an end to runaway premium increases and arbitrary coverage denials, to improve and strengthen Medicare, and to create options for individuals and small businesses to purchase quality and affordable insurance. I am pleased that today, our hard work was validated,” Crowley said.
“I also hope a new bipartisan spirit emerges after today,” he added. “Instead of wasting energies on pursuing a repeal of health reform, I hope my colleagues on the other side of the aisle will start working with Democrats to implement this law in the best way possible and return our attentions to the pressing issues of the day — creating jobs and strengthening the economy.”
City Councilman Peter Vallone Jr. (D-Astoria) had a different take on the court’s decision. “We were told by supporters of Obamacare that it was definitely not a tax,” Vallone said. “Now the court is apparently saying that the only way it can pass Constitutional muster is because it is a tax. I haven’t read the decision yet, but the American people don’t take kindly to being misled.”
Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-Queens, Manhattan) advises fellow Democrats to be vigilant, despite Thursday’s victory. “Today’s decision marks a huge win for the American people. The constitutionality of health care reform has today been reaffirmed by our nation’s highest court,” Maloney said.
“We’re already seeing some of the benefits of the Affordable Care Act, like lowering prescription drug costs for seniors, preventing children with pre-existing conditions from being denied coverage and allowing young adults to be covered by their parents’ plans until age 26,” she said. “Following today’s ruling, I look forward to seeing the principal provisions of the Affordable Care Act take effect: more coverage; lower costs for the middle class and small businesses; safeguards for all patients with pre-existing conditions; and better accountability for insurance providers.
“After celebrating today’s victory at the Supreme Court, we must now put our shoulders to the grindstone in seeking to protect health care reform. We can’t forget that just yesterday, Speaker Boehner promised, ‘If the court does not strike down the entire law, the House will move to repeal what’s left of it,” Maloney added.
Republican Rep. Bob Turner, who represents Brooklyn and Queens, said he was disappointed in the decision. “Today’s decision by the United States Supreme Court to uphold Obamacare is disappointing. While declared constitutional, the Supreme Court’s ruling does not change the fact that it is still a very bad law,” Turner said.
“Congress has already found many mandates in Obamacare that would hurt small businesses and kill jobs. Several more taxes and burdensome regulations on small businesses are set to go into effect in the next two years,” he said. “Congress must now rededicate itself to repealing Obamacare and replacing it with common-sense proposals that will lower health care costs for all Americans.
“Today’s decision is complicated and it will take time to fully understand. However, one thing is clear; this decision has made the law’s implementation more complicated and difficult for states, small business and families. This is not what we need in these trying economic times,” Turner added.