Dr. Ora Botwinick examines Dahlia Arbella, 5, at the Multnomah County's North Portland Health Center Monday, June 18, 2012, in Portland, Ore. No matter what the U.S. Supreme Court decides about the future of the federal health care law, Gov. John Kitzhaber's ambitious Medicaid overhaul will go forward, state officials said Monday. But if the court throws out the entire federal law not just the most controversial parts officials said the ruling could jeopardize a new health insurance exchange, a marketplace where individuals and small business can shop for coverage starting in 2014. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)
The Supreme Court on Thursday upheld the individual insurance requirement at the heart of President Barack Obama's historic health care overhaul and local officials, including Connecticut's Congressional delegation, are applauding the decision.
“If you become gravely ill, battling a costly condition like hemophilia, there are no longer lifetime caps on benefits. And beginning in 2014, if you lose your job, you will not lose your health coverage,” U.S. Congressman Joe Courtney said in a statement.
Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro called the decision “a victory for the American people.”
“Families across the country will benefit from the Supreme Court’s decision to uphold the Affordable Care Act. Women will still have access to affordable preventative services, children with preexisting conditions will get the care they need and seniors will continue to save billions on their prescription drug costs,” DeLauro.
She said the Affordable Care Act will help stem rising health care costs, such as ensuring "at least 80 percent of premium dollars actually pay for health care, not corporate profits.”
Congressman John Larson is also in favor of the legislation but said more work needs to be done to make health care affordable and accessible to all.
“The Supreme Court decision today is a great victory for children with pre-existing conditions, for women who have been unfairly discriminated against, and the start to providing a solid groundwork for ensuring that all Americans can get the care they need," Larson said.
Congressman Chris Murphy also said the Supreme Court did the right thing.
"(T)oday, Connecticut residents can have confidence that they will get better and more affordable care in the years to come," Murphy said. "Now that the law has been upheld, we know for certain that seniors will pay less for their drugs at the pharmacy, sick people will never be denied health insurance, small businesses will pay less to insure their employees, and the quality of health care will increase over time for all Americans."
Michael M. Krinsky, president of the Connecticut State Medical Society, said the society supports reform measures aimed at providing all state residents with affordable, quality medical care.
“Although the law does not guarantee patients access to medical care, it removes an important barrier to care, which is the ability to have health insurance coverage," Krinsky said in a statement. "Clearly even large insurance companies have come to understand the benefits of extending insurance coverage to young adults under their parents’ policies in agreeing to leave those benefits in place no matter the outcome of the decision."
State Comptroller Kevin Lembo called the decision "historic" and said it "upholds decades of work to ensure that millions of uninsured Americans, including at least a half million Connecticut residents, have access to health care.”
Lembo called the Supreme Court decision a new starting point and said the federal government and Connecticut “must maintain momentum to reform and improve our health-care system at every level.”
Gov. Dannel Malloy said on Wednesday that overturning the law would have cost Connecticut $100 million and affect 500,000 patients.
"This is a tremendous day for all Americans," Governor Malloy and Lieutenant Governor Nancy Wyman said in a release issued on Thursday morning. "(T)his decision demonstrates that the nation will do the right thing in ensuring accessible, affordable health care for all Americans."
Malloy and Wyman, who are both Democrats, said in their statement that Republicans in Congress "should cease their efforts to repeal the reforms and instead join President Obama in focusing on job creation."
In eastern Connecticut alone last year, 4,600 young people were able to remain on their parents’ health policy until the age of 26 while they transitioned into the workforce and the decision protects that permanently, Courtney said.
Attorney General George Jepsen said he is still reviewing the legal analysis, but applauds the court's decision.
“Today’s Supreme Court ruling is a victory for the millions of Americans who need health care, for the individuals living with medical conditions who would otherwise be denied coverage, for parents who will be able to keep their children on their insurance plan until age 26 and for seniors struggling to afford their prescription medications," Jepsen said in a statement. "Tens of thousands of Connecticut residents have already benefited from health care reform, and tens of thousands more will benefit as more provisions of the law take effect."
Planned Parenthood is also calling the decision a positive move and said women will have access to birth control without a co-pay starting in August 2012.
“This is a remarkable day for women’s health,” Judy Tabar, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood of Southern New England, said in a statement. “Today’s ruling will affect millions of women in such a positive way. 35,000 women in Rhode Island and 80,000 in Connecticut are in need of publicly funded family-planning services but are currently not being served. This will change tremendously.”