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Prince George's Leaders React to Health Care Ruling

Statements expected throughout the day from state, county and local officials.

UPDATE at 11:53 a.m.

The Supreme Court has upheld a key provision of President Barack Obama's 2010 health care reform law requiring most Americans to purchase health insurance or face a penalty.

Local Congressional Reaction

U.S. Sen. Ben Cardin (D-MD) praised the Supreme Court's decision. 

“Upholding the Affordable Care Act, in its entirety, was the right decision under the law for the Supreme Court," said Cardin in a press release. "I thank the justices for setting aside the politics surrounding this debate and actually following precedent and the law."

U.S. Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) said that the decision was a "huge victory" for health care access in America.

"The historic Affordable Care Act has changed the course of health care in our nation for the better, and will continue to improve the quality of life for all Americans as it is fully phased in," said Van Hollen in a press release.

Prince George's Reaction

Here in Prince George's County, local officials are still processing the ruling, with statements expected shortly from county and municipal officials. 

Riverdale Park Town Council member Jonathan Ebbeler (Ward 1) said that he was incredibly happy with the Supreme Court's ruling. 

"You can judge the health of a republic by how it treats the elderly, the young, the disenfranchised," wrote Ebbeler in an email. "Obamacare is a piece of hallmark legislation that provides the institutional framework to address collective public policy issues in a smarter, more aggregated and cost-controlled fashion."

defining the penalty for not purchasing health insurance as a tax. Justices John Roberts, Stephen Breyer, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Elena Kagan and Sonia Sotomayor ruled in favor of the mandate, while Justices Sam Alito, Anthony Kennedy, Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas dissented from the ruling.

Policy Implications

Don Kettl, dean of public policy at the University of Maryland, said that the decision was an "epic victory" for the president.

"Chief Justice did what many observers thought impossible--find a way to uphold the law without giving the federal government power to order citizens to act.  On both important fronts--the individual mandate and state requirement--Roberts cleverly crafted a majority that gives the federal government to craft national standards, to give citizens and states to opt out, but to force them to weigh the consequences," said Kettl. "This decision fundamentally transforms health care in the US--and the presidential race."

Ken Apfel, a former commission of the Social Security Administration and a member of Maryland's health care exchange board, said he breathed a sigh of relief after hearing the news. 

"The Supreme Court decision means that states can continue to move forward on their steps to provide health insurance for millions of uninsured Americans," said Apfel. "We still have a long way to go in implementing the Affordable Care Act, but we are moving forward. The United States is currently the only developed country in the world that does not provide universal health coverage."

Jocelyn Mingo June 28, 2012 at 04:01 PM
It continues to amaze me how heartless some people can be when it comes to the healthcare of our citizens. Anytime we can support paying athletes and entertainers tens of millions of dollars, and our family members can't care for their health because they don't have adequate health insurance, there is something wrong with that thinking. Watching my son's health deteriorate because he can't afford to go to the doctor is saddening. I can only afford to help but so much. In the most powerful country in the world, there is no reason why there is no free healthcare except that we want to continue to make those richer as we get sicker. If you can afford to pay for your healthcare wouldn't it be humane to take on a relative or a friend who can't and put them on your policy if we could? I would in a heartbeat.
tcmitssr June 28, 2012 at 04:48 PM
The upcoming Presidential election will now be framed around Obamacare. It's unfortunate that 1/6 of our economy has now officially been handed over to Federal control. Those of us who work hard, pay taxes and play by the rules will now be much more greatly subsidizing those who do not by their own voluntary decisions. This is income and wealth redistribution under the guise of "improved medical care." In reality, the majority of Americans will now received worse medical care while paying more for those who do not financially pay their own fair share. Here's to a new President and a solid Republican majority in Congress come January, 2012 which will make their first bill passed and signed the total repeal of Obamacare.
CM June 28, 2012 at 07:01 PM
The Supreme Court decision is very good news. Although most folks don't realize it, everyone is currently paying for those who don't have insurance by having their insurance rates increase because of this. There are many people with some pre-existing condition who cannot get health care insurance when they should be able to. I find it terrible that the insurance companies currently dictate how people get their health care. It about time that the government has the authority to work towards getting the insurance companies to not dictate health care folks get! I applaud the current administration for acting since the Congress, especially the Republicans, doesn't want to act--they're more interested in politics than the well-being of Americans!
HyattsvilleCouldBeBetter June 29, 2012 at 08:21 PM
@tcmitssr - If this new president you are referring to is Romney, don't you know that RomnyCare (Massachusetts) and ObamaCare are almost identical?

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