Posts tagged: Affordable Care Act
OLYMPIA – In a world of e-mails and Twitter tweets, it’s usually nice to get a real letter. Except, maybe, if it’s a letter telling you to do something that you’ve already said you aren’t gonna do, or not do something you’ve said you will.
This is the case with the letter that U.S. Rep. Raul Labrador, R-Idaho, and a cohort of other Republican senators and congresspersons, sent to Gov. Chris Gregoire, urging her and her 49 fellow governors to “join us in resisting a centralized government approach to health care reform.” . . .
To read the rest of this item, or to commen, go inside the blog.
OLYMPIA — In the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court decision upholding the Affordable Care Act, Republicans have a split in their party's candidates for governor.
Attorney General Rob McKenna, by far the GOP frontrunner for governor, joined one of the key lawsuits that because he doubted the constitutionality of the individual mandate, said post-decision that that question was answered. Time to get on with implementation and stop talking about a wholesale repeal of the law, he said in a press conference.
Shahram Hadian, an Iranian-American Christian pastor is a long-shot to be sure, but is trying to close the gap by vowing to be as resolute against federal health care reform and “join other fiscally conservative, freedom loving, citizen defending, courageous governors to rise up against the implementation of this unconstitutional and outrageous law.” He lists some current Republican governors who he says are refusling to implement Obamacare in their states, and includes Idaho's Butch Otter in that list. (In fact Otter hasn't said much post-decision because he was out of the office when it came down, other than he's not calling a special session to deal with setting up a health insurance exchange or other looming provisions of the federal law.)
Hadian isn't the only other Republican sharing the primary ballot with McKenna, but he's the only other one with anything close to an active campaign, and the only other one allowed to address the GOP state convention. He a sent out a fund-raising appeal and press release late last week based on fighting federal health care reform: “As the next governor, I will invoke the 10th Amendment rights and fight tooth and nail in refusing to implement any part of Obamacare. Period.”
It's a strong appeal to the Tea Party wing of the GOP. But it seems to ignore the fact that unlike Idaho, the Washington Legislature has already set the state on course to have a health insurance exchange in time for the federal deadline. So he'd have to convince the Lege to repeal that law, toss out that work and give up the promise of federal funds for the exchange.
Of course, if Mitt Romney wins the White House and Republicans take control of both house of Congress, that all may be taken care of in the other Washington. But that would be the case for McKenna… or even Democrat Jay Inslee, should he win.
There was a wide range of reaction among Washington politicians to Thursday’s Supreme Court ruling on the Affordable Care Act. Here’s an example of how wide:
Jay Inslee, who voted for the law as a congressman and now wants to be Washington’s next governor, and insisted he wasn’t surprised by the ruling: “I always believed this was constitutional.”
That would seem to make him significantly more confident than the president, and four justices on the court.
Michael Baumgartner, a state senator who voted against bills to set up and expand a health benefit exchange this year and last – and wants to be Washington’s next U.S. senator – was surprised: “Today, the Supreme Court did something none of us expected – they held that the Affordable Care Act is not in violation of the Constitution.”
Baumgartner apparently never talked with Inslee.
As usual, Jon Stewart properly skewered CNN for botching the announcement of yesterday's U.S. Supreme Court decision on the Affordable Care Act.
The perils of jumping to analysis before one knows the facts.
Retired state Supreme Court Justice Gerry Alexander was in Spokane Thursday for the last scheduled meeting of the city's Use of Force Commission.
Afterward, we asked him about his thoughts about this morning's U.S. Supreme Court decision that upheld most of the Affordable Care Act.
“I had previously thought that they would strike the mandate down,” said Alexander, outside the Spokane City Council chambers. “It seemed to me that they were taking the Commerce Clause where it hadn't gone before.”
Alexander, who was appointed to the Use of Force Commission by Mayor David Condon, said he followed the case, but hadn't read the ruling Thursday afternoon. The majority of justices agreed with Alexander about the Commerce Clause, but a different majority upheld the law under Congress's taxing authority.
“I felt all along they could pass a tax for this,” Alexander said.
OLYMPIA – When a divided Supreme Court settled the question of whether federal health care reform is constitutional Thursday, it turned up the spotlight on the issue for Washington’s hotly contested governor’s race.
Now the question is, how long before that light dims?
Republican Attorney General Rob McKenna, one of the original plaintiffs in the failed multi-state challenge, said he was surprised at the ruling but insisted he was relieved, not disappointed.
Former U.S. Rep. Jay Inslee, Inslee’s likely Democratic opponent for governor this November, was happy: “I always believed this was constitutional. I had no qualms in voting for this bill.”
Gov. Chris Gregoire, who disagreed so strongly with McKenna’s decision to draw Washington into the court battle that she filed as a “friend of the court” on the other side, was both celebratory and caustic.
As his Republican opponent continues to call for the repeal of the Affordable Care Act, Democratic congressional candidate Rich Cowan said it's time to “put aside the partisan bickering.”“
Cowan's likely opponent in November, four term Republican Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, was one of the go-to commentators for the House GOP on the U.S. Supreme Court's decision today and called for Congress to “repeal and replace the law” in the face of the narrow decision that said the law is constitutional. She also blasted some scatological messages she said that came from national Democrats in the wake of the decision, and sent out a fund-raising appeal for the National Republican Congressional Campaign that asked those who also find the messages crass to donate $3 to “show Democrats what Mom-power looks like.”
Cowan said the court “did the right thing for our health care today” and cited some popular features that will continue, such as extended coverage for young adults on their parents' insurance and an end to coverage denials for pre-existing conditions. And he played the “I understand these things because I'm in the private sector” card.
“As a business owner I have experienced first hand how important basic, affordable health care is to employees,” he said in a press release. “here are parts of this law that can be improved, like cost containment and access issues, but it is time to put aside the partisan bickering and put America back to work.”
If this morning's CNN fiasco on announcing the Affordable Care Act wasn't a good enough reminder about how bad the media frenzy can get over something like a major Supreme Court ruling, this segment from The Daily Show on Wednesday night showed how silly the news network talking heads have been all week.
Democratic gubernatorial candidate Jay Inslee said his GOP opponent was “wrong from the beginning” to join the lawsuit challenging the federal health care reform law.
A couple hours earlier, Inslee's chief Republican rival, Attorney General Rob McKenna had defended his decision to join the lawsuit and said that with the court's 5-4 ruling, at least the state and nation has greater certainty on what Congress can and can't do.
“I always believed this was constitutional,” Inslee said Thursday afternoon at a brief press conference. “I had no qualms in voting for this bill.”
The ruling means the efforts to expand and improve the nation's health care system can move forward, he said. If he wins the race for governor in November “I will lead the effort to expand coverage,” Inslee said.
Whether or not McKenna's participation in the suit influences voters, health care remains a major issue for the state for years to come, Inslee said.
President Obama looked pretty happy when he took to the microphone earlier this morning to comment on the U.S. Supreme Court's 5-4 decision that upheld the Affordable Care Act.
For those who didn't see that, but wonder what he had to say, a transcript is inside the blog.
Attorney General Rob McKenna did his best to count victories this morning after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled against the lawsuit he joined to overturn the Affordable Care Act. And he said other Republicans should drop talk of a wholesale repeal of the law because “that's not going to happen.”
At a late morning press conference, McKenna insisted the ruling was good for Washington because the court ruled Congress doesn't have the authority under the Constitution's Commerce Clause to order people to buy health care insurance. “We achieved our goal” of finding that out, he said.
But he was surprised by the decision of five members of the court to rule the mandate is allowable under Congress's taxing authority, adding that Chief Justice John Roberts' determination that the tax isn't subject to the restrictions of some other taxes was “a bracket buster.”
The state should move ahead with its work to meet provisions of the law, such as the Health Insurance Exchange which will allow individuals to shop for insurance more easilly, he said, and to look for more ways to reform health care.
But other Republicans should stop talking about repealing the law, and instead focus on specific provisions that prove unworkable, he said.
Democrats passed a massive bill with many controversial provisions by pushing it through Congress. “To completely blow it up means we're essentially doing the same thing, in reverse,” he said.
Besides, the Democratically controlled Senate isn't going to repeal the law, and Obama isn't going to sign a repeal, he said.
Gov. Gregoire discusses health care ruling.
OLYMPIA — Gov. Chris Gregoire “couldn't be more happy and relieved” by the Supreme Court's majority decision that the Affordable Care Act was constitutional.
The decision is good for state residents with pre-existing medical conditions, for young adults who remain on their parent's insurance until they reach 26 and for people who will eventually have coverage through an expansion of Medicaid.
“The real winners are the people of our state,” she said.
She also had harsh words for Attorney General Rob McKenna, her wouldbe replacement, for joining the suit. He was wrong on his insistence that the court could overturn the individual mandate and keep other parts of the law that Washington needs, Gregoire said.
“He was dead wrong on that. You can't have your cake and it it too,” she said.
Health care reform is sure to come up in McKenna's run against former U.S. Rep. Jay Inslee, she added.
“Inslee went back (to Congress) and fought for health care reform and the attorney general was just wrong.”
Gov. Chris Gregoire is holding a press conference at 10:30 a.m. in Olympia on the U.S. Supreme Court ruling on the Affordable Care Act. She's already released a statement that she's pleased.
Attorney General Rob McKenna is holding a press conference at 11:30 a.m. in Seattle on the ruling. He was part of the group that opposed the law and lost, but he's described it as part of the nation's system of checks and balances.
Former U.S. Rep. Jay Inslee, McKenna's likely opponent for governor in the November election, has a press conference after a campaign luncheon in Seattle at about 1:30 p.m.
U.S. Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers is part of a House GOP squadron holding a press conference in Washington, D.C. at 10:30 a.m. She's already released a statement saying they'll keep trying to “repeal and replace” it.
OLYMPIA — Attorney General Rob McKenna was among the original plaintiffs challenging the Affordable Care Act and this morning defended the lawsuit, despite the loss, as part of the nation's “series of checks and balances”.
“While we’re disappointed that this close decision did not find in the states’ favor with regard to the individual mandate, the country benefits from a thoughtful debate about the reach of federal power into the legal rights of the states and the personal financial decisions of all Americans,” he said in a press release.
Other state officials who are Democrats were critical of McKenna for joining the lawsuit, and turned up the criticism when he said he was only challenging the constitutionality of the individual mandate but the suit called for throwing out the entire law. It's a major bone of contention between McKenna and former U.S. Rep. Jay Inslee, the Democrat challenging McKenna for governor, who voted for the law when it was in Congress. So it's unlikely to be viewed as merely a way of testing the checks and balances by them.
To read the entire press release from McKenna, go inside the blog.
OLYMPIA — Gov. Chris Gregoire said she believed the Affordable Care Act would withstand the legal challenge but was “extremely pleased” the Supreme Court agreed with some of the points highlighted in a brief she and others in the state submitted in support of the law.
Attorney General Rob McKenna, it may be recalled, signed on on the other side of the argument, as one of the officials from 26 states challenging the law.
With the decision, the state will continue efforts to expand health care, Gregoire said.
To read the full press release, go inside the blog.
Even if the Affordable Care Act is constitutional, as the U.S. Supreme Court ruled this morning, it's still unworkable, Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers insisted.
The Eastern Washington Republican was sent to the court as one of the GOP spokespersons to address the gathered media hordes. After listening to the decision, she issued a press release that vowed her party will continue trying to repeal the law that she called “an unprecedented expansion of government power.”
To read the full press release, go inside the blog.
The Republicans said all along that the individual mandate was a tax, Sen. Mike Crapo said this morning after the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the Affordable Care Act on that point. Democrats had insisted it wasn't.
“It's an incredibly big irony,” the Idaho Republican said.
President Obama rejected the GOP arguments that the penalties contained in the law amounted to a tax, and promised the American public he wouldn't raise taxes, Crapo said.. During the Senate debate on the Affordable Care Act, Crapo said he offered an amendment that would have stripped the bill of anything that violated Obama's pledge. It was rejected.
“Now, we're back into that argument,” he said. Although the law is constitutional, “this is still the bad law we said it was.”
Washington Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler was among the first with instant analysis of the U.S. Supreme Court ruling on health care reform.
Not surprisingly, Kreidler, who is a big supporter of the Affordable Care Act, was upbeat. His take: That Washington is ahead of most states because of steps it has taken to comply with the law. It's on track to set up a Health Exchange in 2014, as the law requires; some states have been waiting on the court ruling.
The state is also in line for federal subsidies for 477,000 for insurance for poor people, expanded Medicaid for poor children and a ban on insurance companies denying coverage to people who are sick.
The entire press release is inside the blog.
Viewers of CNN may have been justifiably confused this morning when, over a span of four minutes, the Supreme Court ruling was described as a major defeat for President Obama and the Democrats to a “huge, huge victory.”
That's because at about 7:12 a.m. Pacific, CNN said the court struck down the individual mandate, based on the reading of their reporter at the scene. Instant analysis by Wolf Blitzer and company began assessing the damage, and they were quick to call the game against Obama.
Meanwhile, other sources were reporting the Affordable Care Act was essentially being upheld. CNN was missing a key point, that the individual mandate was being upheld as a tax, and within the power of Congress.
By about 7:16 a.m. CNN was reversing course, acknowledging that the mandate was upheld. “This is a huge, huge victory,” Blitzer intoned.
They only touched briefly on the fact that they blew the initial call.
John King: “It's a complicated decision.”
Blitzer: “It's a historic moment.”
Apparently in those historic moments, TV anchors sometimes get a little overanxious..
Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers will be one of two House Republicans providing instant comments — they're calling it “messaging” — when the U.S. Supreme Court issues its ruling on the Affordable Care Act on Thursday.
Except she's more likely to be calling it by its favored GOP term, Obamacare, particularly if the court throws out all or part of the law.
A press release this morning from McMorris Rodgers's office said she'll be at the Supreme Court building Thursdah morning for the announcement of the opinion with Rep. Tom Price, R-Ga., who serves on the Ways and Means health subcommittee. They will “lead the House GOP's messaging in response to the ruling,” the announcement said.
Later, she'll lead a group of at least eight House Republican women talking about the decision at a press conference in front of the Capitol.