State Politics

Idaho leaders react to Supreme Court ruling on health care subsidies

Idaho’s congressional delegation and local health care leaders are reacting to the U.S. Supreme Court ruling Thursday that upheld health insurance subsidies, a key part of the Affordable Care Act.

Idaho is among the states that run their own health insurance exchanges under the Affordable Care Act. The challenge that produced Thursday’s ruling questioned whether subsidies could be provided for consumers in states with federally run exchanges.

So, the tens of thousands of Idahoans who purchased subsidized insurance through the exchange would not have lost the ability to receive those subsidies. But, a different ruling might have destabilized the Affordable Care Act in the long run.

IDAHO POLITICAL LEADERS

Gov. Butch Otter: “Due to the wise and prudent course set by the governor and Legislature to ensure Idaho implemented our own state-run exchange, Idaho would not have been directly impacted by the court’s decision in either direction. Idaho insurance exchange customers’ ability to receive subsidies or tax credits remains unchanged.”

U.S. Rep. Raul Labrador: “I am stunned that the Supreme Court expanded the power of the executive branch to rewrite law it doesn’t like. Not only does this decision prop up a failed policy, it enshrines the principle that the president can trump Congress.

“One of my first votes as your congressman was to repeal this massive government takeover of our nation’s health care. The challenge now before Congress is to unequivocally repeal Obamacare and replace it with patient-centered, market-based care. The president’s misguided policy has limited access and increased health care costs. It’s our job to expand access to quality care and restore incentives for innovations that improve and save lives.”

U.S. Sen. Mike Crapo: “Today’s ruling is disappointing and in no way validates the president’s health care law as some are claiming. The court did not rule on the merits of Obamacare, but, rather, on a one-sentence provision in a 2,700-page ill-advised law. Obamacare is broken — plain and simple. Millions of Americans, including thousands of Idahoans, have been pushed from their preferred health plans and doctors, and continue to see their premiums rise. In some cases, by as much as 50 percent in just two years – contrary to the president’s many oft-repeated promises. ... I will continue to work with my colleagues to push for nothing short of a full repeal of Obamacare. Only when we address the real drivers of the cost of health care in this country and put in place market-oriented solutions, such as allowing states flexibility to regulate the insurance market and prioritizing the doctor-patient relationship over federal mandates, will Americans have access to the truly affordable, quality health care they want and deserve.”

U.S. Rep. Mike Simpson: “While the Supreme Court made their ruling, it doesn’t change the fact that Obamacare is severely flawed. The House acted earlier this week to roll back two of the most onerous provisions of the Act. ... My colleagues and I will continue to look for ways to protect Americans from the harmful consequences and focus on finding patient-driven solutions to health care.”

U.S. Sen. Jim Risch: “I am disappointed but not particularly surprised by the Supreme Court’s ruling. Because of the disaster that Obamacare has visited on most Americans, we have worked to try to repeal it and replace it with a system that is patient- and provider-driven, provides substantially more patient choice and is substantially less expensive than Obamacare. Since it is obvious that Obamacare is going to need at least substantial change, and more appropriately, full replacement, we will continue to pursue that over the next 574 days.”

IDAHO HEALTH CARE OFFICIALS

Your Health Idaho Executive Director Pat Kelly: “No matter what the U.S. Supreme Court decided today, Your Health Idaho customers were always going to continue to have access to tax credits to help pay for health insurance costs because we are a state-based exchange. While other states spent a lot of time worrying about what the Supreme Court might decide, we were able to focus on taking care of our customers because of the wise decision our lawmakers made three years ago. (Gov.) Otter and state representatives knew from the very beginning the best way to serve Idahoans was to ensure we maintained control of our exchange and didn’t let important health insurance decisions fall into the hands of the federal government.”

St. Luke’s Health System CEO David Pate: “I think the court did get it right. ... The good news is that millions of people that have gotten access to affordable health care, that will now be preserved. I have no doubt that had the private plaintiffs lost, that the Republican Party would have come up with (a solution). ... But it’s just nice to know that we’re not in a position, especially in these days, that we’re relying on Congress to solve a problem.”

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