Tennessee Reaction to U.S. Supreme Court Health Care Ruling (lots & lots of it)

Haslam Will Give Decision Top-to-Bottom Review
Statement from Gov. Bill Haslam his communications office:
“We will review the entire Supreme Court’s opinion to fully understand its impact on the State of Tennessee. From initial reports, it appears the individual mandate has been ruled Constitutional and has been upheld.
My primary issues with ObamaCare are that it takes away the flexibility for states to encourage healthy behavior, will cost Tennessee hundreds of millions of dollars, and does nothing to solve the crisis of the cost of health care in America.
What was unanticipated is the section of the opinion that says states cannot be forced to expand their Medicaid program. This particular portion of the ruling is significant, but it is premature to know the exact ramifications.
Now it is up to Tennesseans and Americans to turn their attention to the November election. By electing Mitt Romney, we can be sure that the entire law will be repealed.”

Ramsey: ‘Intensely Disappointing
From Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey’s office:
Lt. Governor Ron Ramsey made the following statement after the Supreme Court upheld The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act in a 5-4 decision:
“It is intensely disappointing that this court failed to recognize what constitutionalists and conservatives know deep in their hearts: A federal government which can coerce its people to buy a product is a government unrestrained and out of control. Democrat Governor Phil Bredesen called Obamacare the ‘mother of all unfunded mandates’ and stated it will cost Tennesseans 1.1 billion dollars in the next few years. However, the fight does not end here. The court may have made its decision today but the people have yet to speak. When they do, Mitt Romney will be elected president and I will do all I can to aid him as he fulfills his solemn promise to repeal this insidious law.”

THCC: Tennesseans Celebrating
From Tennessee Health Care Campaign:
Nashville, TN – The United States Supreme court released this morning their much-anticipated decision on the constitutionality of provisions of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, sometimes known as “Obamacare” or the Affordable Care Act.
In this unprecendented ruling, the court found the individual mandate provision constitutional and upheld the rest of the law. The mandate would require all Americans to carry some sort of health insurance coverage or pay a tax penalty.
Tennesseans across the state are celebrating the Supreme Court decision upholding the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, rallying in communities across the state to show support for the health care reform law that will provide affordable access to high-quality care for one million uninsured Tennesseans and guarantee protection to all 6.4 million state residents.
“With this landmark decision, the Supreme Court of the United States has marked the end of partisan political games to block implementation of the Affordable Care Act. There are no more excuses for delay. The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is the law of the land and it is time for state lawmakers to start taking responsibility for ensuring that Tennessee families have the rights and protections guaranteed to them by the law” states eth Uselton, Executive Director of the Tennessee Health Care Campaign.
The Affordable Care Act was already working for Tennesseans in a number of ways.
82,000 people with Medicare received a 50% discount on their brand-name prescription drugs, saving an average of $590 per person.
797,000 people with Medicare received free preventive services – such as mammograms, colonoscopies – or a free annual wellness visit.
878 previously uninsured Tennesseans now have coverage through the new Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan
$15.1 million in grants from the Prevention and Public Health Fund to ensure that all Tennesseans can lead longer, more productive lives.
$46.7 million to create and sustain new and existing community health centers to expand preventive and primary health care services in medically underserved area.
(Source: http://www.healthcare.gov/law/resources/tn.html)
This decision gives hope and peace of mind for millions of Tennessee families. Children can no longer be denied coverage because of a pre-existing conditions; insurers can no longer drop policyholders’ plans, restrict benefits or place dollar limits on a person’s coverage; small businesses will no longer be priced out of the market, and seniors will continue to have access to no-cost preventive services, vaccinations, and check-ups.
“With all of these benefits and many, many more, Tennesseans will now be able to engage in a system that practices health care and not just sick care,” states Director of Communications, Brad Palmertree. “We urge Tennessee lawmakers and policy makers to focus their future efforts on implementation strategies that puts consumers in control of their own care and provides guaranteed, affordable coverage for all. The cost of doing nothing is much too high.”
Tennessee Health Care Campain is the state’s premier nonprofit, nonpartisan health care consumer advocacy organization working towards affordable access to high-quality health care for all Tennesseans.
Devaney: To Get Rid of Obamacare, Elect Romney
NASHVILLE, TN – Tennessee Republican Party Chairman Chris Devaney released the following statement in response to today’s ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court on ObamaCare:
“Getting rid of ObamaCare is now in the hands of the American people, and we can accomplish that by electing Mitt Romney President in November. Today’s Supreme Court decision will increase the determination of Tennessee Republicans to defeat President Obama and put an end to his reckless policies that have failed to address the economy and are only making things worse.”
Forrester: Time to Be Bipartisan, Like Supreme Court
NASHVILLE – Tennessee Democratic Party Chairman Chip Forrester released the following statement in response to the Supreme Court upholding the Affordable Care Act.
“The Supreme Court affirmed what a majority of Congress and the President already knew; that the Affordable Care Act is a constitutionally appropriate response to the health care crisis facing Tennessee families. Because of President Obama’s leadership, millions of working families, including a half a million Tennesseans, will have access to doctors and affordable health care.
“The Affordable Care Act is law, and will continue to be the law of the land. We should all come together and work in a bipartisan fashion, as did the Supreme Court, in order to ensure that all Tennesseans can take advantage of the provisions in the law that provide health and financial security, such as:
Millions of young adults will still be able to stay on their family’s plan until they’re 26.
Many seniors will continue to save $600 a year on their prescription drugs.
Insurance companies no longer have unchecked power to cancel your policy, deny you coverage, or charge women more than men.
Soon, no American will ever again be denied care or charged more due to a pre-existing condition, like cancer or even asthma.
By August, millions of Americans will receive a rebate because their insurance company spent too much of their premium on administrative costs or CEO bonuses.
“It is time for the legislature to start focusing on results and not politics. Tennesseans want our elected officials to move past the partisan bickering over health reforms and get to work on creating jobs and growing our economy.

David Fowler: Religious Freedom Undermined
David Fowler, President of the Family Action Council of Tennessee, issued the following statement on today’s Supreme Court ruling on the Affordable Care Act, often referred to as “Obamacare.”
“Today’s decision should be alarming to all Tennesseans, as it undermines freedom of conscience based on religious beliefs, limits individual liberty, increases the federal debt, and advances the Obama administration’s pro-abortion agenda. Tennesseans’ tax dollars will now be used to subsidize insurance coverage of elective abortions, and insurance plans will be required to provide free abortion-inducing pills. Our citizens will be forced to comply with this law and abandon their religious freedom, or resist and be punished with crippling fines. The decision is profoundly wrong both morally and legally.”
TN Hospital Association: A Step Forward
Statement from Scott Raynes, chairman of the Tennessee Hospital Association
and CEO of NorthCrest Medical Center in Springfield, TN
Today, the United States Supreme Court announced its decision on the constitutionality of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA). Though the opinion still is being fully interpreted, it appears the court upheld the validity of most of the key provisions of the ACA.
Though much work remains to be done on all fronts, the Tennessee Hospital Association believes the court’s action is an important step toward meaningful health reform. Such reform will help to preserve access to quality care for patients in Tennessee.
While Tennessee hospitals are making demonstrable strides in decreasing the cost of care through nationally recognized patient safety programs and aggressive efficiency measures, systemic change is imperative.
Last year, Tennessee’s hospitals provided $2.4 billion in uncompensated care as a result of the high number of people who are uninsured or under-insured. With basic health coverage for all in Tennessee, hospitals are in a better position to absorb the $4.3 billion in cuts that will be required of them under the ACA over a ten-year period.
Hospitals will continue to do their part to provide access to high-quality care for patients and communities they serve.

Cooper: Just What I Expected
WASHINGTON – U.S. Rep. Jim Cooper (TN-05) issued the following statement today in response to the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to uphold the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA).
“Most American lawyers aren’t surprised by today’s Supreme Court decision, nor am I. It turns out that Obamacare, Romneycare and Robertscare are the same thing – and constitutional.”
Rep. Cooper voted for the PPACA in 2010. Long considered a health care expert, he has advocated for health care reform for two decades and has taught health policy at Vanderbilt’s Owen Graduate School of Management since 1995
TMA: Now Doctors Can Plan
From Tennessee Medicial Association President Wiley T. Robinson:
“Until the Supreme Court made its decision, we had to take tentative steps toward change. Today’s decision allows us to make more definitive plans regarding reforms to our healthcare system in Tennessee.
We are surprised by this ruling but have been working to develop resources for our members to explain the Affordable Care Act provisions that will impact their patients and their practices.
While the decision has a certain finality, we all need to understand that healthcare reform remains a fluid process. The TMA stands by the principles it feels are necessary to create a better environment for patients and physicians. 
Physicians remain concerned about the lack of efforts to reduce wasteful hassles and regulations, the creation of an unaccountable, dictatorial oversight board (IPAB), lawsuit abuse, the unwillingness of Congress to fix the Medicare fee schedule for physicians, the limited supply of physicians to care for an expanded patient base, and the rights of patients to choose who provides their medical care.
As healthcare reform continues to evolve, the TMA will stay focused on supporting what we see as helpful to our patients and fighting those provisions that threaten good medicine.”

Republican Congressmen Unhappy
From Sen. Lamar Alexander:
WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) today released the following statement on the Supreme Court’s decision on the health-care law:
“The Supreme Court may have failed to declare the entire health-care law unconstitutional, but it is still an historic mistake that expanded a health-care system we already knew we couldn’t afford. Congress should repeal the law and then proceed step by step to reduce the cost of health care so more Americans can afford to buy insurance.”
Alexander voted against the health care bill after warning his colleagues it would be “an historic mistake” and has voted repeatedly to repeal it. He was selected by Senate Republican Leader McConnell and Speaker Boehner to deliver opening remarks on behalf of Congressional Republicans at the health care summit in February 2010, where he disagreed with President Obama over the president’s assertion the health care bill would not increase individual premiums. Alexander told the president: “It means there will be about a half trillion dollars of new taxes in it. It means that for millions of Americans, premiums will go up, because when people pay those new taxes, premiums will go up, and they will also go up because of the government mandates.”
Six months after the bill became law, the Wall Street Journal reported that individuals’ premiums were already going up.
Alexander has repeatedly urged his colleagues to repeal the law and replace it with immediate insurance reforms and step-by-step reductions in health care costs such as allowing buying insurance across state lines; permitting small businesses to join together to offer cheaper insurance to employees; limiting junk lawsuits against doctors; reducing waste, fraud and abuse; and expanding health savings accounts.

From U.S. Rep. Diane Black:
GALLATIN, TN – Diane Black today released the following statement regarding the Supreme Court ‘s ruling on Obamacare. She called the law a disaster for our economy and vowed to not stop fighting until it is repealed.
“This ruling does NOT change the fact that Obamacare is an affront to our rights as individuals and the concept of limited government. It is a horrible idea and it must be repealed. I have been fighting to fully repeal Obamacare, since I took the oath of office, and I am making progress. I am the author of the only law thus far that repeals a healthcare provision in Obamacare, saving taxpayers $13 billion dollars and I will not stop until the law is fully repealed. In fact, the House will vote AGAIN to fully repeal the law on July 11th and my first order of business as a member of the Ways & Means Committee will be to immediately start working on repealing the individual mandate ‘tax.'”
Black went on to express outrage over the disastrous impact this law has had on our economy, “Obamacare has been a disaster for the US economy. We’ve had 40 straight months of unemployment above 8 percent with no end in sight! Obamacare’s regulations, taxes, and mandates are killing our economy. The trillions of dollars in spending Obamacare adds to our nearly 16 trillion dollar debt is unsustainable. Every day this law stands is a day that more jobs are lost, more money is wasted and more people are losing their health insurance. I will not rest until this law is fully repealed.”

From U.S. Rep. Scott DesJarlais:
WASHINGTON, DC – Representative Scott DesJarlais, M.D. (TN-04) issued the following statement after the Supreme Court ruled 5-4 that the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate has been upheld as a tax.
“This is a sad day for health care, personal freedom and those opposed to the intrusion of big government into their lives. This was a law that we did not ask for, do not need and cannot afford. Today’s ruling does not change the fact that ObamaCare is still bad for patients, bad for taxpayers and destructive to our nation’s health care system. It is now even more critical that we move forward in fully repealing this law and instituting step-by-step, patient-centered solutions that will lower medical costs and expand access to care.”
“Today’s ruling confirms what House Republicans have been saying from the beginning: ObamaCare is now officially the biggest tax increase in American history.”

From U.S. Rep. Chuck Fleischmann
WASHINGTON – Congressman Chuck Fleischmann made the following comments following the Supreme Court decision to uphold the Patient Protection and Affordability Care Act.
“The Supreme Court made the wrong decision today.  The Constitution places specific limits on the government, and the court unfortunately did not recognize those limits in allowing Obamacare to stand.  While the Supreme Court may consider the individual mandate a tax, the Obama administration repeatedly claimed that this was not a tax when they tried to pass Obamacare. Like many conservatives, I believe the individual mandate cannot be justified as a tax,” Fleischmann said.
“Not only does Obamacare force Americans to buy insurance whether they want it or not, but it also forces Americans to subsidize birth control even if it violates their faith.   Additionally, the law creates IPAB, the Independent Payment Advisory Board.  This board is anything but advisory.  It has the power to control Medicare payments, and its decisions carry the full force of law.
“The results of Obamacare are clear:  Higher healthcare costs, hundreds of billions in tax increases, top down government control of healthcare, and a continuation of our massive deficits.  Now, it is time for Congressional Republicans to demonstrate our commitment to smaller government, and continue the fight to repeal Obamacare.  Our healthcare, our nation’s finances, and our national character demand nothing less.”
Rep. Fleischmann has been a consistent advocate of repealing Obamacare throughout his time in Congress, and has been critical of many of the bill’s provisions.  One of Rep. Fleischmann’s earliest votes was a full repeal of Obamacare in January of 2011.  He has cosponsored and voted to repeal the 1099 provision of Obamacare, cosponsored and voted for a bill to repeal the Independent Patient Advisory Board, and cosponsored and voted for legislation that repeals the Medical Device tax.

From U.S. Rep. Marsha Blackburn:
WASHINGTON – Congressman Marsha Blackburn (TN-7) today issued the following statement regarding the Supreme Court ruling on President Obama’s health care law:
“I join the American people in their disappointment over today’s Supreme Court ruling. This is unfortunate news for patients and for taxpayers. The President has consistently told the American people that this mandate was not a tax. This decision serves as yet another example of the lack of transparency and honesty coming from this administration, and it shows their willingness to lie so they can impose their will on the American people.
“There is no way to ‘fix’ this hopelessly broken law. It’s time for Congress to admit Obamacare was a mistake and give the American people what they want – a chance to start with a clean slate on real health care transformation. We must repeal Obamacare and work step-by-step to replace it with real solutions that work.  We are going to focus on 5 items – increase choice and options; decrease cost and mandates; simplify the system for patients and providers; restore the cuts Obamacare made to Medicare; and work to make health care tax-free.
“A good first step in this process would be for Congress to pass H.R. 371, the Health Care Choice Act, which I introduced last year. Allowing you to purchase health care insurance that fits your needs regardless of where you live is just the sort of cost-cutting, common sense health care reform that works.
“I believe Americans should have the freedom to make their own health care decisions. That’s why my colleagues and I will keep working to repeal Obamacare, and work to restore the freedom intended and secured by our founding fathers.”

Happy Young Democrat
NASHVILLE – Tennessee Young Democrats President Sean Braisted released the following statement in response to the decision by the Supreme Court to uphold the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act, which provides and strengthens health care coverage for millions of Americans.
“The 2010 Affordable Care Act allows for hundreds of thousands of young Americans to stay on their parent’s health insurance throughout college and as they start out life on their own. This provision alone has saved thousands of lives of people who previously could not have afforded care for chronic illnesses or emergencies.
“I am extremely pleased with the Supreme Court decision to uphold the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act and allow the state and federal governments to move forward with implementing key provisions that will expand access to affordable care for millions of working families across America and in Tennessee.
“Republicans have already shown they are still going to stick their heads in the sand and vote to repeal a law passed by a majority of Congress, signed by the President, and affirmed by a Supreme Court majority led by the Republican-appointed Chief Justice.
“Americans and Tennesseans deserve better. We need leaders who will work in a bi-partisan fashion to further enhance and expand the Affordable Care Act to drive health care prices even lower and hold large insurance companies accountable, not the political theater being offered by the Republican leadership in Tennessee and in Washington.

NFIB: A Tax That Should Be Repealed
NASHVILLE, June 28, 2012 — Jim Brown, state director of NFIB/Tennessee made the following statement today in response to the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling on the constitutionality of President Obama’s health-care law. NFIB joined 26 states in challenging the law in federal court:
“While we’re certainly disappointed, NFIB respects the decision to uphold the individual mandate by the Supreme Court. Clearly, this mandate has now become a tax on all Americans and a broken campaign promise from President Obama not to raise taxes.
“We are concerned about the precedent that this will set in Congress’ ability to mandate other aspects of our lives, but we will move forward from today to continue to fight, harder than ever, for real health-care reform for our membership.
“Under the health-care law, small-business owners are going to face an onslaught of taxes and mandates, resulting in job loss and closed businesses. NFIB will continue to fight for the repeal of health-care in the halls of Congress. Only with a full repeal of the law will Congress have the ability to go back to the drawing board to craft real reform that makes reducing costs a number one priority.
“The power and control of health-care decisions should be in the hands of the consumer, not the government.”

Norris: Time for Health Care Compact
(NASHVILLE, TN), June 28, 2012 — This is one of the most important decisions by the Supreme Court in our lifetime,” said state Senate Majority Leader Mark Norris.
“State’s rights, individual liberties and our ability to defend against governmental infringement of those rights have all been impacted in various ways.”
“As the State Senator responsible for passing a balanced budget each year, my first order of business is to determine the impact on our health care system and public resources. The Court’s remarkably expansive read on the federal government’s authority to tax is alarming. But the Court also recognized States’ rights to resist a further reach into our pockets. Perhaps next year our efforts to enact the Health Care Compact will finally succeed.”
“Unless and until Congress repeals the Act, our ability to interpret this complex ruling in such a way as to protect the taxpayer while preserving essential care is of utmost importance.”

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