by Patrick B. McGuigan, Editor
The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled ruled 6-3 to uphold the federal subsidy system in the Affordable Care Act (ACA), widely known as “ObamaCare.”
State Senate Minority Leader Randy Bass, D-Lawton, said in a statement sent to The City Sentinel: “The Affordable Care Act is far from perfect, but it is working. The subsidies are helping more than 87,000 Oklahomans access quality, affordable health coverage. But we can, and must, do more for hard working Oklahomans and their families.
“It’s time for Oklahoma Republicans to stop playing politics and stop fighting against this step in the right direction. Instead, we need to start taking more steps, together, toward making Oklahomans healthier and stronger.
“We need to work together to make sure more hard working Oklahomans have access to affordable healthcare. It’s long past time for us to expand healthcare coverage for low-income, hardworking Oklahomans by accepting Federal funds and expanding Medicaid.”
The Court’s ruling came in the case of King v. Burwell, issued Thursday morning (June 25).
Mark Hammons, the recently elected chairman of the state Democratic Party, commented:
“We are very pleased that the Affordable Care Act has been upheld by the Republican-appointed U.S. Supreme Court. This shows that even partisan judges have recognized that this Act is a reasonable and appropriate way to handle the health crisis in the United States.
“This represents an opportunity for the Republican Governor in Oklahoma to put aside partisan politics and embrace a bipartisan system that will bring billions of tax dollars back to Oklahoma, provide health coverage to over 200,000 Oklahomans, create more than 13,000 jobs in the healthcare industry, and save our rural hospitals from bankruptcy.
“Hopefully Governor Fallin will put aside partisanship and put the needs of the people of Oklahoma first.”
From Tulsa, the Oklahoma Policy Institute released this statement applauding the High Court ruling:
“The Supreme Court decision is a victory for tens of thousands of Oklahomans and millions of Americans. The Affordable Care Act’s subsidies are helping more than 87,000 Oklahomans purchase affordable health coverage and making Oklahoma a stronger, healthier state.
“This decision cements the reality that the Affordable Care Act is the law of the land and is here to stay. It is time for Oklahoma lawmakers to move past fruitless obstruction of the law and shift that energy into making sure that it succeeds in providing access to affordable coverage to as many Oklahomans as possible.”
OK Policy is the Sooner State’s leading liberal or “progressive” think tank. The organization’s statement, sent to The City Sentinel, continued:
“A good start would be to accept federal funds to extend health coverage to the 150,000 low-income, working Oklahomans in a ‘coverage crater” because they make too much to qualify for SoonerCare but not enough to receive subsidies on the federal marketplace.
“States that have accepted federal dollars to expand Medicaid have seen large gains in the number of adults with health insurance and given more citizens access to lifesaving screenings and treatments, all while saving money in state budgets. Hospitals in expansion states are treating fewer uninsured patients, and the amount of ‘uncompensated care’ they are providing is declining steeply.”
Also applauding the decision was Emeritus Professor Tom Guild, on two occasions the Democratic Party standard-bearer in the Fifth Congressional District of Oklahoma.
In response to criticisms of the Supreme Court ruling from state Attorney General Scott Pruitt, Guild said:
“Many of us have been waiting to exhale. Now that the Court by a 6-3 vote has upheld the subsidies under the Affordable Care Act, we can do so. Millions of moderate and low income Americans have health care coverage for the first time in their lives, because of the ACA.They can also exhale now.
The percentage without coverage has dropped in some estimates from 17+ percent to ~10 percent as a result of implementation of the ACA. …
“Kudos to Justices John Roberts and Anthony Kennedy.”