Local congressmen react to Supreme Court health-care ruling
Updated: July 3, 2012 6:07PM
Reaction from elected officials, as it comes in, to today’s ruling upholding most of the Obama Administration’s health-care law.
U.S. Rep. Dan Lipinski, D-3rd, of Western Springs, said he continues to have some concerns about the health-care law, specifically citing its costs, cuts to Medicare and that he thinks it allows federal funding of abortion. Lipinski voted against the law because of concerns about the abortion language, but also voted against a repeal last year, saying a replacement was needed first.
“The Supreme Court’s decision does not change my opposition to the law or my dedication to changing the law,” Lipinski said. “The soaring cost of health care is a very serious problem, and is among the biggest contributors to the budget deficits our nation faces. Amid the partisan reactions to this news, we should remember the real problems with our health-care system and the need to address them in a sensible and fiscally sustainable manner. The court’s decision may divide us, but the need for high-quality, affordable medical care unites us all.”
Lipinski was the first Democrat to cosponsor legislation to repeal the CLASS Act, which he called a flawed long-term care insurance program included in the health-care law that would have added billions to the federal deficit. He also helped lead the successful effort to eliminate a tax-reporting requirement for small businesses that was part of the law.
Lipinski continues to oppose the health-care law’s requirement that all employers provide insurance coverage for birth control and abortion-inducing drugs, calling it an attack on freedom of conscience and violates the long-standing tradition of protection for conscience rights in federal law.
U.S. Rep. Judy Biggert, R-13th, said with or without the health mandate, the cost of care continues to rise and work must be done by both Republicans and Democrats to work on solutions.
“I’m disappointed that the court did not put a stop to the government overreach,” Biggert said. “But Washington still has a responsibility to fix polices that are raising costs, hurting job creation, siphoning millions from Medicare, and placing an added layer of bureaucracy between patients and their doctors.”
Biggert lives in Hinsdale and currently represents much of The Doings area, but is running for re-election in a new district that includes parts of Burr Ridge and then extends west into Naperville and Aurora.
She said under the law too many families will lose the plans they have, and small businesses are afraid to hire new employees.
“We should go back to work on effective, bipartisan reforms that Democrat leaders ignored, like Association Health Plans for small businesses, allowing consumers to buy insurance across state lines, and medical malpractice reform,” she said.
She also said the government can and should maintain coverage for pre-existing conditions and young adults under 26.
U.S. Rep. Peter Roskam, whose 6th District now includes parts of Oak Brook but who is running for re-election in a district that will also include Clarendon Hills, much of Hinsdale and portions of Western Springs, said the justices could not take into account the practicality or effectiveness of a government takeover of the health-care system.
“The American people are disappointed in this law and fearful of its full effects because so far, the rhetoric does not match up to the reality,” Roskam said.
He noted President Obama said people would be able to keep their insurance if they liked what they had, but said estimate show up to 30 percent of employers will definitely drop their employee health coverage, forcing many into state exchanges.
“It is clear that the rhetoric of the health-care law does not match the reality,” he said. “President Obama’s takeover not only made our system more complex and expensive, but stalled our already tepid economic recovery by creating tremendous uncertainty for job creators and small businesses.”
Roskam said he remains committed to working for a full repeal of the law and replacing it with a “common-sense, patient-centered solutions that American families can afford.
“Unlike the Democrats, who drafted their law behind closed doors, Republicans will develop and present our reforms in the open, with input from the American people,” he said. “We will take power away from Washington bureaucrats, and return health care decisions to patients and doctors. The American people deserve better than what President Obama’s health care law provides. We can do better and we will do better.”
U.S. Rep. Mike Quigley, D-5th of Chicago, applauded the Supreme Court’s ruling to uphold the reform package. Quigley’s redrawn district for the November election extends from the lakefront in Chicago west into portions of Oak Brook and Hinsdale, including downtown Hinsdale.
“Now it’s time to put labels and political rhetoric aside and remember what this is about. An insurance company can no longer deny coverage to the 17 million children with a preexisting condition,” Quigley said. “Seniors no longer have to choose between paying the rent or buying their prescriptions. And college students will no longer lose their insurance on graduation day. It is our responsibility to provide access to affordable health care to Americans, and today’s victory should bring peace of mind to families across our country.”