The Supreme Court decision to uphold the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act on Thursday was met with mixed reactions from politicians and elected officials in Virginia.
Most reactions were predicable and fell along party lines, however Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli II-R recently reversed his reaction to the decision.
“This is a dark day for the American people, the Constitution, and the rule of law. This is a dark day for American liberty,” Cuccinelli said in a statement released early today.
However later in an afternoon press conference, Cuccinelli, who was among the first attorney generals to file a lawsuit against the Affordable Care Act, revised his position.
“They’ve turned this whole thing into a spending and regulation question with this ruling. The individual liberty pieces were preserved, and states got strengthened here in the constitutional structure under this ruling,” Cuccinelli said.
The Supreme Court did not rule that the Federal Government has the power to require citizens purchase something against their will, when it reinterpreted the penalty for not purchasing healthcare insurance as a “tax.”
As expected Democrats, who helped to champion the act, were pleased with the Supreme Court ruling.
Former Virginia Governor and U.S. Senate candidate Tim Kaine-D framed the Affordable Care Act in terms of economic and social equality.
“The Affordable Care Act is an important first step in curbing discriminatory insurance company practices and increasing access to health care, but more needs to be done to bring down costs,” Kaine stated on his website.
He also praised the Act for expanding health insurance cover to more Virginians.
“It is worth noting what has already been accomplished under the Affordable Care Act. Nearly 63,000 more young people in Virginia have health coverage, more than 800,000 Virginia seniors have received free preventive care, millions of small businesses are now eligible for tax credits, and twenty million American women have access to cancer screenings and contraception without co-pays,” he said.
Furthermore, he stated that the Act would rectify “egregious abuses” by insurance companies that had previously refused patients with serious existing medical conditions.
Congressman Gerry Connelly-D, representing the 11th District of Virginia, also praised the Supreme Court decision, stating that 1.3 million Virginians with pre-existing conditions would now be able to receive healthcare. He stated that one-quarter million small businesses in Virginia will receive a credit to cover 35 percent of their health care costs.
However, Republican George Allen-D believes that the Supreme Court decision may be overturned; and that the Supreme Court decision will serve to rally his conservative base in the presidential elections.
“While disappointed in the Supreme Court’s decision on President Obama’s health care law, I believe it reinforces what is truly at stake during this pivotal election. This November the American people have an opportunity to choose new leadership in Washington who will listen to their voices and repeal this costly, harmful government health care law,” Allen said.
He believes the law takes the country in the wrong direction, away from its capitalist values.
“I believe it’s an infringement on individual liberty and free enterprise. As I have traveled throughout Virginia, I have heard from families, small business owners and seniors seriously concerned about the harmful impact of this health care law, and how it is increasing costs, discouraging businesses from hiring and trespassing on religious freedom,” Allen stated Thursday on his website.
Describing his approach to the healthcare issue, he stated,“Virginians and Americans would be better served by reforms that deliver on the promise of reducing costs, increasing access to quality care, and put people – not government – in control of their health care.”
Among the people there seems to be no clear majority on the issue of health care, but it is sure to be a hot button issue come November.
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