Even after the Supreme Court’s historic decision to uphold the mandate of the Affordable Care Act, Republicans continue to push for a repeal through the House of Representatives.
“There’s no way that the court’s decision is going to be overturned by their political shenanigans,” said Rep. Gregory Meeks of New York’s 6th Congressional District .
Meeks believes the GOP should use this time to focus on advising plans to create more jobs for the American people, rather than “wasting time and money.” He said Republicans should instead be helping President Barack Obama, since job creation and boosting the economy have been goals that he has campaigned for.
“We [Democrats] know that [Republicans] are not really trying to come up with an outcome…they’re playing politics and trying to do whatever they can to stop the agenda of President Obama,” Meeks said.
The court’s ruling maintains the requirement that all people acquire health insurance. They declared that the federal government has the power to require all Americans to acquire insurance if the fine imposed on those who don’t is considered a tax.
The Affordable Care Act, enacted by Obama in 2010, allows 3.1 million Americans to stay on their parents’ coverage until age 26. According to a press briefing from the Community Service Society, more than 160,000 young adults in New York have gained insurance through their parents’ plans.
“More than any other statistic, the Supreme Court decision ensures that the state and the nation will be physically and economically healthier,” said David Jones, president and CEO of the Community Service Society. “Health care costs have been the major cause for individual bankruptcies across the country. Emergency rooms have been filled with the uninsured of all ages who could find no other care.”
The law also provides access to affordable health coverage, which is especially important for African-Americans. In 2008, 19 percent of African-Americans were uninsured, compared to the national average of all racial and ethnic groups of 15 percent and 11 percent for non-Hispanic whites. In addition, the cost of insurance for small businesses will be drop between 5 to 22 percent. Small businesses will continue to get tax credits to help pay for up to 50 percent of health insurance costs for their employees.
However, Republican New York City Council Member Dan Holloran said small city businesses operate within a margin between 8 to 12 percent. “That means all small businesses are going to lose their profitability margins,” he said. “Once they lose that margin, why do you want to hire somebody? Why do you want to employ somebody? Why do you want to open the doors?”
With a 9.7 unemployment rate in New York City, which is a point below the national average, Holloran said this can’t possibly help out the economy. “Now if they could do that here in New York City, imagine what the consequences will be across the country,” he said.
Rep. Robert Turner, who represents the 9th District of New York, agreed.
“While declared constitutional, the Supreme Court’s ruling does not change the fact that it is still a very bad law,” Turner said. “Congress has already found many mandates in Obamacare that would hurt small businesses and kill jobs. Several more taxes and burdensome regulations on small businesses are set to go into effect in the next two years. Congress must now rededicate itself to appealing Obamacare and replacing it with commonsense proposals that will lower health care costs for all Americans.”
On the other hand, New York Rep. Charles Rangel said Republicans have not spent the time pursuing the necessities America needs.
“There has been no area–housing, jobs, taxes–that they have supported the president on at all,” he said. “As a matter of fact, they have decided that for the rest of this year, they are not going to do anything in a positive direction.”
The ruling wasn’t a complete loss for the GOP, however. The Supreme Court struck down the expansion of Medicaid coverage. The program provides health care to poor Americans, such as children and the elderly. If allowed, the Affordable Care Act would have provided Medicaid in 2014 to anyone with an income 138 percent below the federal poverty line.
However, even with the large division between Republicans and Democrats, Holloran acknowledged a possible compromise with the bill that both sides could benefit from. The ideal bill would allow people to buy insurance policies over state lines, control of court reforms, expansion of Medicare and Medicaid programs and purchasing power where the market share is increased, such as medical, preventive and dental care.
“These are all component pieces that we could have addressed, and it could have kept the courts to a reasonable number,” Holloran said. “Now none of those things are being done and those are the real problems in health care, and we have all these purchase prices, so in the end, we could have sat down and tried to compromise if people were interested in actually having the conservation.”
For two years, the GOP has been keeping a close eye on the president and has made attempts to stall the Affordable Care Act after his election.
“It was their goal, the first time he [Obama] was brought in, to try to destroy his reputation and to deny him any legislative victories,” Rangel said. “The president’s Affordable Health care Act is the law.”
“They have nothing else,” Meeks said. “That’s why Obama will be re-elected.”