UPDATE: 3:25 P.M. Friday — This story has been updated to include comments from Ken Paulus, CEO and president of Allina Health. Allina operates Allina Medical Clinic-Northfield.
One thing is certain about the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to uphold President Barack Obama’s Affordable Health Care Act: It has garnered a thunderous response.
Supporters and opponents of the legislation—commonly referred to as Obamacare—have spoken out locally and nationally, in print and through social media, and on the street corners and over the airwaves.
Patch has collected hundreds of responses since the court’s decision was announced Thursday morning.
Among those commenting on Northfield Patch’s Facebook Page are:
• Mitch Groder: “Reform is needed in this country and companies shouldn’t profit off of deying care to the people.”
• Jennifer Gilligan Edwards: “No one is denied care. Go to any ER and you will see that. “Our country is on a downward spiral continually writing checks we cannot afford.”
• Jana Ritch Kane: “Welcome to the Socialist States of America.”
As of 7:30 p.m. Thursday, 785 people had voted in a Patch Poll that asked whether the Supreme Court’s ruling was right or wrong. Click here to vote in that poll.
“As you know, the current focal point has been the question of a federal government individual insurance mandate, which was upheld by the Supreme Court as constitutional. The court ruled that since Congress has taxing authority, the penalties for not having individual insurance were essentially a tax.
“What remains to be seen is how states will approach: 1) the opportunity for expansion of the Medicaid program, and 2) the opportunity to establish state insurance exchanges. The Supreme Court ruled that if states did not expand their Medicaid program, they could not be denied existing Federal matching payments. Also, if states do not establish their own insurance exchange, they could participate in a federal insurance exchange.
“In the meantime, hospitals will continue to focus significant efforts on: 1) increasing access to care, 2) improving the quality of care, and 3) managing our expenses to keep care affordable. Historically, hospitals and health systems in the Midwest have scored very well as providing high quality care at an affordable price (= high value) when compared with the rest of the country.
"I believe health reform is good for our country. In the long run, it will be less expensive than caring for individuals through current charity-care policies," said Paulus.
"We embraced health reform as it rolled out. We decided it was our civic duty to get behind the law and make it work. We will continue to do that."
Second District Congressman John Kline (R-Lakeville) was critical of the court's decision.
"The Supreme Court’s decision is a devastating blow to the American people," he said. "The vast majority of the public does not support this government takeover of health care and Congress must continue its efforts to repeal."
"If Washington can penalize private citizens for failing to buy government-approved health insurance, then there is no reasonable limit on federal power,” he said.
Kline also said Obamacare continues to destroy jobs, raise health care costs, and weaken our economy.
Mike Obermueller, Kline’s DFL opponent in the Nov. 6 general election, issued this response:
"While I've been in support of the parts of the law such as eliminating coverage denials for preexisting conditions, making it illegal to charge women more for health care, allowing children up to age 26 to stay on their parents' health insurance and expanding coverage for seniors, I hope today will allow Washington to put an end to the political games and focus on fixing the things that don’t work.
“We have to do more to lower costs of health insurance, reduce the overall cost to taxpayers, and reduce unfair regulation for Minnesota small businesses. If I’m elected, you can count on me to continue fighting for better access to affordable and reliable health care in this country.”
State Rep. Pat Garofalo, who represents Northfield’s precinct in Minnesota House District 36B, took to Twitter to tell his fellow Republicans who aren't in favor of Obamacare to buck up.
"Conservatives can whine about SupremeCourt decision OR roll up our sleeves, win in November, and repeal this POS law. Which is it gonna be?" he wrote.
Minnesota AFL-CIO President Shar Knutson said the decision marks a great day for working Americans.
"The Supreme Court’s decision clears the way for millions of people to have the access to the affordable, high quality health care that had previously been denied," Knutson said. "Minnesota’s union members worked hard to make this law a reality, and we are pleased the court affirmed its constitutionality."
Do you want to voice your opinion about the court decision? Write it in the comments section before. Or, vote and comment in the Patch poll.
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