June 28, 2012

Health care ruling: Statements from Maine’s delegation

Following the United States Supreme Court’s decision today to uphold the 2010 health reform law passed by Democrats in Congress, U.S. Senator Olympia J. Snowe (R-Maine), a senior member of the Senate Committee on Finance, issued the following statement:

“Regrettably, today’s Supreme Court decision was a victory for a massive legislative overreach, broad and expansive government, and its power to tax – and in this instance, to impose an onerous new tax for Americans on a product which the health care law now requires them to purchase, regardless of cost of the plans which has yet to be determined.  Indeed, the Court accurately describes the individual mandate as a tax, which Americans can ill afford especially at this time of continued economic peril. This law represents an imposition of additional burdensome costs not only on individuals, but on our federal government – far beyond the original projections.

“The bottom line is, regardless of the Court’s decision, it is critical that Congress fully repeal the law so that we can go back to the drawing board.  Only then can we work together to enact workable reforms that would result in more competitive health insurance markets by expediting the ability of individuals and small businesses to purchase health insurance across state lines, which I have been a longtime proponent and champion of, and that would inject unfettered competition and new coverage options into stagnant insurance markets like those in Maine. 

“Frankly, if Congress had passed the simple, targeted legislation I first introduced in 2003 to allow small businesses to pool together across state lines to leverage their purchasing power to negotiate health insurance at lower costs – instead of succumbing to the special interest forces aligned against it – we wouldn’t be in this position.  We would already be ahead of the curve in lowering the outrageous costs of health care. 

“Instead, we were presented in the Senate with a bloated monstrosity of 2,700 pages that imposed a new mandate on businesses with more than 50 employees to offer health insurance or face penalties; a $210 billion Medicare tax increase that would disproportionally hurt small businesses and do nothing to improve the Medicare program; and a law that’s resulted in a total of $500 billion in additional taxes and more than 10,000 pages of new regulations. 

“We still don’t even have answers to the most basic questions about the plans under this law such as what the premiums, copayments, and deductibles will cost – questions I had specifically requested from the Congressional Budget Office, but that were never provided.  Shouldn’t we know if it’s affordable? 

“That’s why I have voted to repeal the health care law, and why I signed onto court briefs arguing against the constitutionality of the individual mandate.  Now, it remains necessary that we fully repeal the health care law and replace it with reforms that increase the competitiveness of policies such as those I’ve authored, as well as develop a plan for affordability by maintaining certain widely agreed upon elements of reform – such as outlawing unconscionable insurance industry practices, banning preexisting condition limitations, and allowing parents to keep children on plans until age 26.”

 

Congressman Mike Michaud released the following statement in response to today’s Supreme Court ruling that the Affordable Care Act is constitutional:   

“I am pleased that the Supreme Court’s ruling has provided the certainty Congress and the American people need on the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act.  While I have always said it is not a perfect law, the Affordable Care Act is a huge step forward in providing affordable access to health care for Mainers,” said Michaud.  “Now that this decision is behind us, I hope we can roll up our sleeves and concentrate on rebuilding our economy and putting Mainers back to work.”

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