About two hours after the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the federal health reform law, President Obama called the decision "a victory for people all over this country," The Hill reports.
Obama acknowledged that the law has been "divisive" and reiterated that he did not pursue it because it was "good politics" (Parnes/Easley, The Hill, 6/28). Obama said his administration "will continue to implement this law," adding, "And we'll work together to improve on it where we can" (Lee/Bendavid, Wall Street Journal, 6/28). Obama said the country cannot afford "to refight the political battles" of two years ago, and he urged lawmakers to focus their attention on the economy.
White House aides said the ruling reaffirmed their long-held belief that the overhaul was constitutional.
"The stunning news provided a much-needed boost for the White House ahead of an election that many expect will go down to the wire," The Hill reports.
In a speech after the Supreme Court ruling was announced, presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney repeated his vow to repeal the overhaul if elected (The Hill, 6/28). Romney noted that the high court did not "say that ObamaCare is good law or good policy," but instead ruled that it "does not violate the Constitution."
Romney added that the law is bad policy, saying, "If we're going to get rid of ObamaCare, we're going to have to replace President Obama" (Sullivan et al., Reuters, 6/28). Romney argued that the overhaul imposes taxes on U.S. residents, cuts Medicare, and increases both the size of the federal government and the federal budget.
Implications for the Presidential Election
The full impact of the Supreme Court's decision on the presidential election is unknown, the Wall Street Journal reports. Although the decision is a major legal victory for the Obama administration, it could also galvanize Republicans.
The ruling could help Obama re-engage core parts of his party's base by allowing him to argue that he secured a longheld Democratic goal of expanding health coverage (Wall Street Journal, 6/28). The ruling also reaffirms the legal judgment of his administration, according to the New York Times' "The Caucus."
On the other hand, the decision could re-energize the conservative tea party movement, which was formed largely because of an opposition to the law (Shear, "The Caucus," New York Times, 6/28). According to the Journal, the decision could boost the GOP's argument that Obama has raised taxes, because the president has maintained that the individual mandate was not a tax. Had the court struck down the law, Romney would likely have faced increased pressure to provide details on how he would change the health system (Wall Street Journal, 6/28).
Both campaigns sought to turn the high court's decision into a fundraising tool, the San Francisco Chronicle's "Politics Blog" notes. Democrats sent an email to supporters 104 minutes following the ruling asking for donations to help "win a Democratic majority to keep making progress." Andrea Saul, a spokesperson for Romney, said the campaign raised $100,000 within 50 minutes of the ruling (Garofoli, "Politics Blog," San Francisco Chronicle, 6/28).
Democrats Welcome Ruling, Pledge To Work With GOP
Congressional Democrats on Thursday welcomed the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling on the federal health reform law, but they appeared "less celebratory than relieved," the New York Times' "The Caucus" reports (Steinhauer, "The Caucus," Times, 6/28).
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said in a statement that U.S. residents will benefit from "critical patient protections, lower costs for the middle class, more coverage for families and greater accountability for the insurance industry," adding that the ruling affirms that health care is "a right for all, not a privilege for the few."
In remarks on the Senate floor, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) praised the high court, saying the "rule of the law" had been placed "ahead of partisanship." Reid also pledged to work with Republicans to address some of the law's less popular provisions. Several other Democrats joined Reid in his pledge.
However, Reid cautioned Republicans from pursuing efforts to repeal the health reform law. "Our Supreme Court has spoken," he said (Steinhauer, "The Caucus," Times, 6/28). He criticized the GOP for being more interested in transferring power back to insurance companies than ensuring access to affordable health coverage (AP/San Francisco Chronicle, 6/28).
Republicans Renew Pledge To Repeal Health Reform Law
Republican lawmakers and other conservatives on Thursday said the U.S. Supreme Court's decision to uphold the federal health reform law will not derail their plans to repeal the law, noting that the ruling will spur them to intensify their efforts, the New York Times reports (Zeleny, New York Times, 6/28).
According to Politico, the high court's ruling has energized the GOP's "battle cry of 'Full Repeal'" ahead of November's presidential election (Donatelli, Politico, 6/28).
House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), in a statement released Thursday, said, "Today's ruling underscores the urgency of repealing this harmful law in its entirety" (Smith, Reuters, 6/28). He added that the GOP is prepared to work with a president who is willing to listen to the public, but Republicans "will not repeat the mistakes that gave our country 'Obamacare'" (AP/San Francisco Chronicle, 6/28).
Shortly after the Supreme Court issued its ruling, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) announced that the House GOP will hold a vote to repeal law when Congress reconvenes after the July 4 recess. The vote would take place the week of July 9 (Kim, "On Congress," Politico, 6/28).
Republicans and conservatives also used the Supreme Court's decision to allow the overhaul's individual mandate to stand as a tax (New York Times, 6/28).
In remarks on the Senate floor Thursday, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said the health reform law "was sold to the American people on a deception" because "one of the Democrats' top selling points" was that the mandate does not constitute a tax (Steinhauser, "The Caucus," New York Times, 6/28).