Here is reaction to the Supreme Court's ruling on health care reform from across Wisconsin:
Gov. Scott Walker (R):
"I continue to oppose ObamaCare.
"One of my first acts as Governor was to authorize Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen to add Wisconsin to the federal lawsuit opposing ObamaCare.
"Wisconsin will not take any action to implement ObamaCare. I am hopeful that political changes in Washington D.C. later this year ultimately end the implementation of this law at the federal level.
"If there is no political remedy from Washington and the law moves forward, it would require the majority of people in Wisconsin to pay more money for less healthcare. Additionally, it would increase the size and cost of government, decrease the quality of healthcare and, in our state, reduce access for those truly in need of assistance.
"The federal government should not tell individuals and families what to do with healthcare. The alternative is more transparency and a more active role by consumers, so we can truly control costs."
U.S. Sen. Herb Kohl (D-Wisconsin):
"I believe the Supreme Court made the right decision today. There is much more work to be done in controlling health care costs, but the Affordable Care Act brings us closer to providing health care to all Americans at a cost we can afford. Under the bill, nearly 60,000 Wisconsin seniors on Medicare have already saved almost $38 million in prescription drug costs, more than 43,000 of our state's young adults have gained health insurance coverage, more than 400,000 women now have access to preventive cancer screenings and no one can be denied coverage for a preexisting condition. As we know, health care costs are a drag on our economy and the Affordable Care Act tackles some of the most rapidly growing health care expenses."
U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wisconsin):
"Today's Obamacare decision establishes that there is no area of Americans' private lives that is off limits to federal intrusion and control. Freedom took a real body blow. It is now up to Congress – and hopefully a new President – to repeal this unpopular monstrosity and replace it with free market reforms that will actually improve the quality and restrain the cost of health care in America."
U.S. Rep. Reid Ribble (R-8th District):
"I am disappointed with this decision because I believe that this law ultimately will do more harm than good by making our healthcare system even more costly and dysfunctional. I have repeatedly said that we need to fix the systemic problems in our healthcare system, but I have also been outspoken that this law was the wrong way to do it. Although the Supreme Court upheld the law's constitutionality, it doesn't mean that Congress should give up trying to improve our nation's healthcare system.
"It's important that both parties step up to the plate and continue to work on legislation that will lower costs, strengthen the patient-doctor relationship and protect access to quality care. This decision leaves in place a law riddled loopholes for the politically-connected as well as many other problems, which if not addressed, will cause even more undue stress on our economy and the American people.
"Actions speak louder than words, so when extreme partisans, who touted the passage of this law, tried to exempt the entire city of New York from the President's healthcare plan it should have been a clear warning of how damaging it would be. The Supreme Court's decision was unfortunate, but it does not represent the end of this effort. We do not have a government of the court, by the court and for the court…we have a government of the people, by the people and for the people. I will keep working with my colleagues on ways to remedy this flawed law so that every American, not just those with political clout, can have access to quality care at an affordable price."
U.S. Rep. Tom Petri (R-6th District):
"I am very disappointed by the Supreme Court's decision to uphold the constitutionality of President Obama's health care law. Just because it may be considered constitutional does not mean it is the right thing to do.
"The law is a significant overreach on the part of Congress and takes a fundamentally wrong approach to achieving the goal of making affordable coverage available to all Americans. I am pleased, however, that the American people will have an opportunity to make their voice heard on this subject later this year.
"I support health care reform which ensures that all Americans, including those with pre-existing conditions, have access to affordable coverage. However, I believe the health care law is flawed in its approach to achieving that goal and will only make worse our skyrocketing health care costs and federal deficits. A study last month found that the cost of healthcare services is expected to rise 7.5 percent in 2013, which is more than three times the expected rates of inflation and economic growth.
"I am also very concerned about the law's negative effects on job creation. I have met
with hundreds of employers in my district and hear constantly how the mandates and uncertainty created by the law are discouraging hiring. A report issued by the investment research firm UBS last September said that the health care law was, "arguably the biggest impediment to hiring." For these reasons, I voted in favor of repealing the law last year and have also been supportive of efforts to defund the implementation of the law.
"We need the right reforms to eliminate waste throughout the system and reward high quality, low-cost care. We should be choosing approaches which give consumers incentives to use their health care dollars wisely. Instead, we are going in the opposite direction by turning decisions over to the government. Instead of getting everybody into the old, dysfunctional system and then figuring out how to pay for it, we should reform the current delivery system by emphasizing advances in efficiency so that more people will be able to afford their health care, and the government will be better able to take care of the rest.
"Given the Court's ruling, I will continue to work with my colleagues to replace the President's health care law with real reforms to ensure every American has access to affordable health care."
Wisconsin Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen (R):
"My fundamental reason in joining this lawsuit on behalf of the State of Wisconsin was that the federal government was unconstitutionally expanding its powers, and in doing so, it was eroding the states' sovereign ability to self govern.
"On this issue, we as states have registered a resounding victory. The Court has very clearly stated, once again, that the federal government has limits to its use of the commerce clause and that it cannot be used by the federal government to force a citizen to purchase something.
"As well, we argued that mandating the states to participate in this law or risk losing all prior Medicaid funding, was unconstitutional under the spending clause as coercive. The Court agreed. States will now have much greater latitude to determine the scope of their Medicaid program.
"While the decision upholds the Affordable Care Act, it is a tremendous victory for re-establishing Constitutional limits on the power of the federal government. It should be clear that this ruling vindicates the states' legal arguments. This will be studied for years to come as a landmark decision that promotes federalism and limited government."
State Rep. Gordon Hintz (D-Oshkosh):
"I am pleased that the Supreme Court has determined that Congress acted within its constitutional powers when enacting the health care reform bill.
"Under the PPACA, nearly three million young adults nationwide can receive coverage under their parents' insurance plan, children with pre-existing conditions cannot be denied insurance coverage, those who become sick can no longer have their benefits discontinued, and 46,000 Wisconsin seniors are paying less for prescription drugs.
"This ruling assures our country can move forward in addressing the runaway insurance costs that are overwhelming our economy and the finances of Wisconsin's families. One of the ways the PPACA will address rising costs is by requiring insurance companies to spend 80% of premium dollars on actual medical care instead of padding their profits and agent commissions.
"I am hopeful that this ruling will prompt Governor Walker to immediately reverse his irresponsible decision to stand in the way of implementation of health care reform legislation, including his failure to set up Wisconsin's health care exchange as required under federal law and his decision to return a $38 million grant to fund the creation of Wisconsin's health exchange system. Numerous business leaders and insurance agents have expressed frustration that Wisconsin would risk turning over regulation of the state's insurance market to Washington to make a political point against a health insurance law."
U.S. Senate candidate Tammy Baldwin (D):
"Today's ruling by justices appointed by Presidents of both parties is an independent legal judgment. It is now time to come together and make this work.
"I disagree with those who want to rip up the decision of an independent court and start over.
"I am committed to continuing my work across party lines to make reform work and if there are bipartisan solutions that strengthen reform, we should work together to move them forward.
"I have previously authored bipartisan, health care reform legislation with Congressman Tom Price (R-GA) that earned broad co-sponsorship from 36 Republicans and 44 Democrats. I remain a willing partner to work across the political divide to advance bi-partisan solutions and protect the gains we have made for the people of Wisconsin.
"I believe middle class families should have the peace of mind knowing they will have access to quality, affordable health care, regardless of any pre-existing condition.
"I believe Wisconsin small business owners should receive assistance to provide
health coverage to their employees, allowing them to be more competitive in the global marketplace.
"I believe seniors should continue to have access to free preventive care, as well as affordable access to prescription drugs under Medicare.
"And I believe that it is the right thing to do to allow over 6 million young people who now have health care to stay on their parents' health care coverage."
U.S. Senate candidate Mark Neumann (R):
"Now more than ever it will take a conservative United States Senate to repeal ObamaCare. The Supreme Court's faulty decision today means we have to elect conservatives to the Senate this fall to end ObamaCare and eliminate the individual mandate.
"I am the only candidate for Senate who has actually taken action against ObamaCare. Back when this was first debated over two years ago I collected over 25,000 petitions opposing ObamaCare. This is not a politically expedient stance for me: this is who I have always been and who I will be in the Senate.
"Today is just another chapter on ObamaCare, but it is not the end of the story. This ends next year when a conservative Senate repeals it."
U.S. Senate candidate Tommy Thompson (R):
"My first vote as a US Senator will be for the full repeal of Obamacare. I will use every measure available to block any vote in the next term of the Senate until a full Obamacare repeal vote is taken. But that is not enough. I also have the ideas and experience to actually bring down health costs and increase availability, which is something nobody else in the race offers. That vote will only succeed if Wisconsin elects a Republican Senator.
"Furthermore, I would work with Governor Walker to make sure Obamacare is derailed in Wisconsin. We deserve better than a cost-increasing, choice-limiting political fix for a broken health care system.
"Tammy Baldwin's number one priority just became the relentless defense of Obamacare - and her willingness to unleash IRS agents onto the American people to enforce this unjust tax.
"What should frighten every Wisconsin voter is Tammy Baldwin's continued desire and support for even more government control over our lives and health care decisions. The road to repeal goes through Wisconsin, and I am by far the best person to defeat Tammy Baldwin and deliver this critical victory for Republicans."
Aurora Health Care President/CEO Nick Turkal, M.D.:
"Our focus as health care providers - physicians, nurses and caregivers - is not on the political or legal calculus of the Supreme Court's decision on the health care reform law. Our focus is on what's best for patients. Moving forward, we believe that imperative - the patient - should be foremost in everyone's mind.
"With the health care law upheld, many good provisions remain, such as prohibiting annual and lifetime limits on essential benefits, dependent care coverage to age 26 and covering pre-existing conditions. Other worthy reforms, like the focus on quality - accountable care and value-based purchasing - will also continue.
"Aurora Health Care and providers like us will continue to do everything we've been doing to deliver care to our patients in the spirit of these reforms. We are prepared to continue doing this and will work with policy-makers on what's best for patients.
"In the short-run, the court's decision on the health care law won't dramatically affect us; however, it still leaves us in the provider sector with some lingering questions. It's clear that there could be a state by state debate on certain provisions, such as the Medicaid opt-out clause. It's too soon to tell how this will turn out, but we are pleased that the decision does not affect current Medicaid funding. We will work with policy makers to shape a Medicaid policy that's good for our patients.
"This ruling is not the final chapter in the debate over how to reform health care. The majority of policy makers and citizens agree that continued reform is needed in the areas of access, insurance coverage, what we spend on care and how we as providers are paid to deliver it.
"With this mind, let's make sure we keep patients first and continue to work together toward reform that makes a real difference."
Wisconsin Hospital Association:
"While the Supreme Court ruling upholding the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) is garnishing much attention, health reform is not new in Wisconsin. Wisconsin hospitals have been quietly transforming health care by focusing on quality improvement and making innovative changes in both the delivery of, and payment for, health care here, according to the Wisconsin Hospital Association (WHA).
"'Health reform is already well underway in Wisconsin, and our journey down this path will continue, and would have continued, regardless of how the Court ruled today,' said WHA President Steve Brenton. 'Health care leaders have been reforming care in our state to improve quality, moderate costs, expand access and raise the value of health care in Wisconsin.'
"For example, Wisconsin
providers are already developing new systems of care that improve quality and reduce cost. Hospitals here are working with insurers to develop new payment models in health care, moving away from volume-driven, unit pricing toward outcomes/total cost of care. In fact, health systems, insurers and physicians are actively involved in the Wisconsin Partnership for Healthcare Payment Reform that is moving away from fee-for-service payments in favor of bundled payments that are tied to outcomes. A focus on performance-based outcomes where payment metrics are tied to outcomes is the better way to go, especially for Wisconsin.
"'Our commitment to improving health care quality, access and value continues forward,' Brenton said. 'Few other states are as well positioned to succeed, if not thrive, in the emerging reform dynamic—a strength WHA believes can be transformed into a competitive advantage for Wisconsin.'
"Since the health reform bill was signed into law in 2010, WHA has been working with a national coalition comprised of health systems, hospital associations and hospitals to work with policymakers on both sides of the aisle in Washington DC to help reform the health care delivery system in a way that rewards states that provide high quality, low cost health care.
"'WHA said it five years ago and it is even truer today—improving health care quality and value is health care reform,' according to Brenton."
Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce President/CEO Kurt R. Bauer:
"The fact that a divided court upheld the constitutionality of the health care law does not make it good public policy," Bauer said. "As Chief Justice Roberts noted in his decision, Congress, not the Supreme Court, made the policy choices under the Constitution and hopefully lawmakers will have the good sense to repeal this misguided law."
"The so-called Affordable Health Care Act will actually drive up the cost of health care, and in the absence of massive tax increases is likely to bankrupt the federal government.
The uncertainty that businesses of all sizes feel continues with today's decision and will be a drag on economic growth."
Wisconsin Right to Life Executive Director Barbara Lyons:
"It is extremely clear now that the only way to remove these offensive provisions is through a complete repeal of the Act, which can only be accomplished by electing Mitt Romney as president and a Congress willing to replace this horrendous anti-life measure."
One Wisconsin Now Deputy Director Mike Browne:
"It's time for Gov. Walker and legislative Republicans to stop fighting against Wisconsin consumers and work with Democrats to implement health insurance reform."
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