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Supreme Court upholds Affordable Care Act; Indiana leaders react


By Mark Keierleber



In a narrow 5-4 ruling, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld President Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act Thursday.

The health care law, which was passed by Democrats in 2010 and does not take full effect until 2014, will influence how Americans receive medication and health care.

As a result of the decision written by Chief Justice John Roberts, provisions in federal law prohibiting insurance companies from discriminating against individuals with pre-existing health conditions will remain in law.

A provision in the law closing the gap in Medicare prescription drug coverage, known as “the donut hole,” will also remain. Small businesses will continue to receive tax credits for offering coverage to their works.

Under the law, parents will be allowed to keep their children on family health care policies until the age of 26.

“The immediate implications for Indiana are a huge increase in health insurance rates, especially for young people,” Gov. Mitch Daniels said in a press release following the Supreme Court’s decision. “The Court’s ruling that the federal government has the constitutional power to do what it has done must be respected. But many actions that are constitutional are still unwise.”

While Democrats rallied in support of the Supreme Court’s decision, Republicans hinted at repeal efforts.

“Because of the negative effect on our economy and job creation, I’m disappointed that the so-called individual mandate requiring every American to purchase health insurance will stand,” Rep. Todd Young said in a press release. “However, I am pleased that the Court has affirmed that our federal government is constitutionally limited in its ability to regulate Americans’ lives.”

In a closed door House GOP meeting Thursday, Indiana congressman and gubernatorial candidate Mike Pence compared the Supreme Court’s ruling to the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, according to Politico.

“I certainly did not intend to minimize any tragedy our nation has faced and I apologize,” Pence told Politico in a statement following the conference.

In response to Pence’s statement, gubernatorial candidate John Gregg said in a statement that the firefighters, first responders and the families of thousands of Americans affected by the terrorist attacks deserve an apology.

“For him to compare a disagreement over health care to the deaths of 3,000 Americans goes far beyond the bounds of common decency,” Gregg said in the release. “To compare our legislative and judicial process to a terrorist attack is deeply disturbing and wrong.”

Greg, who beat cancer and has a son with Type 1 diabetes, said in a statement he knows first-hand how unexpected health care costs affect families in Indiana, as well as the economy.

“Today’s ruling answers questions for the thousands of Hoosiers who are currently covered under this law,” Daniel Altman, communications director for the Gregg for Governor campaign, said in a statement. “Insurance companies cannot cut your insurance because you get sick.  They cannot deny your coverage because you have a pre-existing condition.  Young adults can stay on their parents’ policy while they look for a job.  Finally, senior citizens will continue to get a break on their prescription drug costs.”

U.S. Sen. Dick Lugar, R-Ind., said in a statement he continues to support full repeal of the “massively expansive ObamaCare law.”

Lugar linked his opposition to the health care law to trillions of dollars in new spending, billions in new taxes and a failure to control an increase in health care costs.

He has repeatedly cited concern with ObamaCare’s trillions of dollars of new spending, billions in new taxes, and failure to control the rapid increase in health care costs.

“The reality is ObamaCare has presented additional burdens to small businesses and levies new taxes that will hit American families and job creators in the years to come,” Lugar said in a press release. “The law also fails to keep the President’s promise to let Americans keep the coverage they already have and enjoy.”

The Congressional Budget Office estimates that 3 to 5 million Americans could lose their employer-sponsored coverage as a result of the Affordable Care Act.

Planned Parenthood of Indiana President and CEO Betty Cockrum said in a statement that the decision made by the nation’s highest court will ensure affordable, quality health care to hundreds of thousands of Hoosiers.

Additionally, Cockrum said women across the nation will soon have access to birth control with a co-pay.

Nearly half of all pregnancies in Indiana are unintended, and more than half of all births are publicly funded at a cost to taxpayers of nearly $500 annually, according to the Planned Parenthood press release. Indiana has one of the highest teen birth rates in the nation.

“These factors carry an enormous cost, both to our economy and our society,” Cockrum said. “By preventing unintended pregnancy, we ensure that more of the children who are already among us have the opportunity to thrive.”

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