Supreme Court upholds Obama health care law

Arizona officials join the ranks calling for repeal of Affordable Care Act

Jan Brewer

Jan Brewer

KINGMAN - Before the ink could dry on the U.S. Supreme Court's 5-to-4 decision on the Affordable Care Act, Arizona officials joined the ranks calling for its repeal. Though it is unlikely that such a repeal would pass the U.S. Senate.

Congress passed the act in 2010.

According to data from the U.S. Census Bureau, nearly 50 million Americans did not have health insurance in 2010.

In a statement released to the media, U.S. Sen. John McCain called the decision "disappointing."

He said the act does not address the nation's health care problems and only drives up the cost of health care. That increased cost in care "impedes the economic recovery this country so badly needs," he said.

"Congress should immediately begin the process of repealing Obamacare and replace it with common sense reforms that ensure all Americans can get the care they need at a price they can afford," McCain said.

U.S. Sen. Republican Whip Jon Kyl called the act "highly unpopular" and "flawed."

"It appears that the American people themselves will have to overturn the law by the choices they make in November's election," he said in a news release. "We need to listen to the people to see what they would like; then, Congress can replace the flawed law with reforms that ensure Americans have health care that is affordable with a doctor of their choice and without increased taxes, mandates, and rationing."

Kyl also took issue with the reasoning behind the court's decision.

"It hardly matters to the American citizens that the requirement to buy government defined insurance cannot be justified under the Commerce Clause if it can be justified as a 'tax.' Forcing people to buy something and penalizing those who do not with a 'tax' leaves citizens in the same position as if the mandate were justified under the Commerce Clause," he said.

According to the opinion released by the court, the justices ruled that the Affordable Care Act did not fall under the Commerce or the Necessary and Proper clauses of the U.S. Constitution. The court instead ruled that the act was a tax or fine on those who did not purchase health care.

The Commerce Clause states that Congress has the right to regulate commerce that crosses state lines. The Necessary and Proper Clause gives Congress the right to enact laws that are "necessary and proper" to protect the nation and its people from harm.

In a news release, Gov. Jan Brewer called on the American people "to save our country from the fiscal and regulatory nightmare known as ObamaCare. Come November, we must elect a president who understands the economy, represents free enterprise and respects the Constitution and individual liberty."

"Today's decision by the U.S. Supreme Court flies in the face of what most Americans know to be true: ObamaCare is an overreaching and unaffordable assault on states' rights and individual liberty," she said. "The ramifications are sure to be vast, including a new tax on middle class Americans and the erosion of individual liberty as Americans begin to see their health insurance choices dictated by an overbearing federal government."

Brewer agreed that the nation's health care system was not perfect or accessible to all and that costs are too high.

"But the answer to rising health care costs is not - and will never be - Big Government," she said. "We need real, responsible reform. True reform will spring from sovereign states that are free to provide the coverage that best meets the needs of their citizens at a price they can afford."

She called for the repeal of the law and pledged to work with Congress to replace it. The Speaker of the Arizona House of Representatives, Andy Tobin, also released a statement Thursday.

"As former Chief Justice John Marshall once said, 'The power to tax involves the power to destroy'. If that is the case, President Obama will go down as having led the most economically destructive administration in American history," Tobin said referring to the court's decision that the law was a tax. "The House Republican majority will continue to fight for the right to exercise Arizona's authority over its own budget and healthcare policies. We will also support our congressional representatives in their efforts to repeal and replace the ACA."

Arizona Sen. Ron Gould, who is running for Congress, also weighed in on the matter.

"Today's ruling by the Supreme Court doesn't change the fact that Obamacare continues to be one of the most damaging pieces of legislation ever passed by Congress. It is nothing more than a massive tax increase and spending time bomb that threatens our economy," he said.

He too, pledged to repeal the legislation.

A full copy of the Supreme Court's decision can be found at www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/. The case is National Federation of Independent Businesses et al v. Sebelius, Secretary of Health and Human Services et al.