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State leaders and healthcare groups react to Supreme Court ruling

June 28, 2012|By Ricardo Lopez and Chad Terhune
  • Members of the Single Payer Action group opposed to the Affordable Care Act hold a sign outside the Supreme Court, which upheld the healthcare reform law in a 5-4 vote.
Members of the Single Payer Action group opposed to the Affordable Care… (Andrew Harrer / Bloomberg )

With the U.S. Supreme Court upholding President Obama's Affordable Care Act, state officials and healthcare leaders met the decision with mixed reaction, largely along party lines.

Sen. Barbara Boxer, a Democrat, called the ruling on Twitter "great news for America's families."

And Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein, in a statement, also heralded the news: "The Supreme Court today upheld the healthcare reform law passed by Congress in 2010, meaning Californians can be confident that access to affordable health insurance is finally a reality."

Conservatives, however, who have rallied against the healthcare law voiced their opposition to the ruling.

FreedomWorks, a national conservative group, vowed to fight the law.

“Our work is far from over,” said Dean Clancy, vice president of healthcare policy. “Republicans must strike while the iron is hot and immediately begin efforts to repeal the law in Congress and replace it with a patient-centered system, which is the most effective and compassionate option on the table for healthcare reform today.”

Timeline: Healthcare reform's long history in the U.S.

Locally, some healthcare advocates, like the Long Beach-based SCAN Foundation, welcomed the decision.

In a statement, Dr. Bruce A. Chernof, president and CEO of the group, which advocates on behalf of the elderly, said: “The Supreme Court’s decision today to uphold the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act clears the path for transforming our health and long-term care system into one that works for all Americans, young and old alike."

In a 5-4 vote, with Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. writing the majority opinion, the court ruled the healthcare law constitutional. He was joined by Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan.

Dissenting were Justices Anthony Kennedy, Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas and Samuel A. Alito Jr.

The decision has large ramifications for California, which has nearly 7 million uninsured, or about 20% of the population, according to the California HealthCare Foundation.

The state now stands to receive as much as $15 billion a year to extend coverage to millions of the poor and uninsured starting in 2014. 

Under the federal law, nearly 4 million Californians are expected to obtain new or improved coverage by 2019. About half would be covered through an expansion of Medi-Cal, the joint state-federal program for the poor and disabled.

Another 2 million are expected to purchase private policies with federal subsidies earmarked for families earning about $92,000 or less annually.

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