Saturday, June 30, 2012

Health Care Ruling: Experts Discuss Outcome of High Court Decision

The Supreme Court upheld the health care reform law on Thursday, ending--at least temporarily--a battle over the controversial act that served as background for most of President Obama’s incumbency. We’ve asked some of our Perspectives contributors, a diverse collection of think tanks, advocates and leaders in their fields, as well as several other experts to tell us what they thought on the ruling.

Here’s what they had to say.

Mee Moua, president and executive director of the AAJC, said in a statement that she applauded the ruling, calling it “critical in ensuring that communities of color have access to health care and key preventative services.”

“Our task at hand is to spearhead and move forward with implementing this law, so that the 2.5 million Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders will have affordable health insurance, eliminating the current health disparities that plague our communities.”

“While we welcome today's decision that brings us one step closer to health equity in this country, we cannot forget the Supreme Court's ruling, just three days ago, in the Arizona anti-immigrant law, which will likely lead to discrimination against communities of color. These important debates reinforce the need for our communities to act and make our voices heard, loud and clear."

Kathy Lim Ko, president and CEO of the APIAHF, said the Supreme Court’s decision “validated a landmark civil rights law.” The APIAHF is an advocacy organization promoting policy and community programs that benefit the health of Asian-Americans and Pacific Islanders.

“The ACA will improve access to quality health care for millions of Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders, protect our communities from unfair insurance company practices and make substantial investments in our nation’s public health infrastructure,” she said in a statement.

“We know that the work ahead is still significant and we must continue to fight to ensure that all people--including our nation’s immigrants--have the right to health and health care. We will continue to analyze today’s decision in more detail and work to defend the ACA against continued attempts to repeal the advances that have been made.”

Neera Tandeen, president of educational institute and think tank Center for American Progress, called the ruling a “victory for millions of Americans who are already benefiting from the health reform law.”

“It’s not about Democrats or Republicans winning or losing, it's about people’s lives. All of us—Democrats and Republicans—must move forward with making health care work for every American and that means stopping the political games and implementing the law,” she said in a statement.

Tandeen called for an end to the bipartisan battle over the act, adding in her statement, “But will Republicans stop their politics-at-all-costs campaign long enough to make sure America’s health care system works for every American?”

“No more slash-and-burn politics. No more delay tactics. Republican attorney generals have wasted millions of dollars using the courts to achieve their political ends. Today the court affirmed its role as the neutral arbiter of the law for all Americans.”

The GOProud, a gay and straight alliance promoting conservative ideals, criticized the Court’s ruling, saying the decision gives the federal government “unchecked power.”

“Today is a good day for big government and a bad day for individual liberty,” said Jimmy LaSalvia, executive director of GOProud, in a statement.

He continued: “This decision reminds us of how important it is to elect conservatives to the House, Senate and the White House that will protect our individual liberties, because it is clear that the Supreme Court is unwilling to do so.”

“Free market healthcare reform would expand access to domestic partner benefits and put gay people in charge of their healthcare decisions. By upholding Obamacare, the Supreme Court has upheld legislation that hurts all Americans, but especially hurts gay and lesbian families.”

The Hispanic Leadership Network, an initiative by the American Action Network to engage the Hispanic community on center-right issues, issued the following statement from Executive Director Jennifer Korn.

Korn maintained that the Supreme Court’s decision would ultimately hurt Latinos and the American public, especially in light of the faltering economy. She called on Congress to work on a bipartisan solution that would replace the key provisions of the health care act that would create “quality and affordable healthcare while protecting future generations from a mountain of debt.”

“In its opinion, the Court shed light on the truth--that Obamacare is, in fact, a one trillion dollar tax-hike imposed on the American people,” she said. "A federal mandate is not what the American people need or want to improve our health care system. Simply because something is deemed constitutional, it doesn’t mean it is good policy.”

“This law endangers quality private coverage for families, while robbing $500 billion from seniors to help pay for it. As it stands, this law puts the financial security of countless Hispanic families at risk and irresponsibly places the burden of debt on our children and grandchildren--jeopardizing the American dream.”

The HRC, a civil rights advocacy organization for LGBTs, said the ruling “paved the way for important new protections for and investments in the health.”

“The Affordable Care Act addresses a number of the barriers LGBT people face in obtaining health insurance, from financial barriers to obtaining affordable coverage to discrimination by insurance carriers and healthcare providers,” said HRC President Chad Griffin.

“While there is a great deal more that must be done to ensure that the health needs of all LGBT people are fully met throughout the healthcare system, today’s decision is an important victory in the fight for healthcare equality.”   

NAACP Chairman Roslyn M. Brock released a statement saying she applauded the decision to uphold the health care act.

“Access to quality, affordable health care is a civil and human right that should not be reserved for the wealthy or the few. The 32 million American men, women and children covered under this law can now breathe easier,” she said in a statement.
“Many serious health issues are preventable,” Brock said. “But far too often, patients who lack health insurance--especially patients of color--enter medical facilities late in the progression of their diagnosis. This sad reality is costing lives and costing American taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars in unnecessary health care bills. States can now move forward in implementing health care reform with the knowledge that the Affordable Care Act is not going anywhere anytime soon.”

The conservative organization dedicated to closing the gap between the Republican party and America’s Hispanic population expressed its dissatisfication with the Supreme Court’s decision.

“President Obama and the Democrats in Congress forced Obamacare on America without one Republican vote of support and against the sentiment of the American people,” said RHNA chairman Alci Maldonado in a statement.

“We Americans must repeal and replace Obamacare with a more common sense reform to our health care system, currently the best in the world, although all would agree that it does need reasonable reform.”

The RHNA sided with Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., and Gov. Mitt Romney in their assertion that the health care act would only increase taxes on all Americans, affecting the middle class most severely.

Perspectives regularly features guest commentary, analysis and insights from a diverse field of thought leaders, think tanks, research institutes and more. The Next America is always looking for input from all sides of the story. If you or your organization is interested in participating in this conversation, please e-mail The Next America team.

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