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Obamacare SCOTUS ruling: Alabama lawmakers disappointed, surprised over Supreme Court decision

June 25, 2015
In The News

Most of Alabama's congressional delegation slammed the Supreme Court's ruling Thursday that upheld a contested portion of the Affordable Care Act. Some members pushed for repealing the health care law in light of the court's 6-3 decision that ruled subsidies for coverage are legal in all states, not just in those that set up their own health care exchanges.

U.S. Rep. Gary Palmer, R-Hoover, said he agreed with Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia's dissenting opinion that the majority of justices effectively rewrote the law when it interpreted the phrase "exchange established by the state" to mean "exchange established by the state or the federal government."

"I've long been an advocate for repealing this unworkable and unaffordable law," Palmer said in a statement. "Today's decision by SCOTUS makes it even more imperative that Congress work to fully repeal it."

U.S. Rep. Robert Aderholt, R-Haleyville, called the 6-3 decision in favor of the subsidies "disappointing and surprising to so many of us on Capitol Hill."

"The Supreme Court continues to see gray when it comes to the black letter of the law as written in Obamacare's base text in the Affordable Care Act," he said. "If you look at the way the Democrats actually wrote the law, it seems to be very clear that subsidies were not available to those on the federal exchanges. This was not a typo. The language was written as it was written."

Gov. Robert Bentley also used "disappointing" to describe his sentiment. "With today's decision, the Supreme Court became an activist court by rewriting the law, clearly overstepping the role of the judicial branch to interpret the law," he said in a statement.

U.S. Sen. Richard Shelby, R-Ala., said he would try "to put an end to the negative impacts of this disastrous law" despite the ruling.

"Today's Supreme Court decision does not change the fact that Obamacare is an unworkable, deeply flawed, and damaging law," he said. "The problems with Obamacare go far beyond the issue debated in King v. Burwell and continue to harm American families and small businesses.  Obamacare's long list of broken promises has already caused Americans to struggle with higher premiums, to lose their preferred health insurance and doctors, and to be left with fewer choices."  

U.S. Sen. Jeff Session, R-Ala., called the ruling "Obamacare acrobatics" and that the decision "should dispel for good the comforting illusion that we can rely on judges to save us."

"Whether on socialized medicine, executive amnesty, or any other action which erodes our Constitution and the authority of Congress, conservatives will have to rally the everyday voting citizen," he added. "There is no greater power than winning the trust and loyalty of the American people. We will need to put down the donor agenda, pick up the banner of the American worker, and carry it to victory."

U.S. Rep. Bradley Byrne, R-Fairhope, who is a co-sponsor of a bill to repeal Obamacare, called the health care law "unworkable."

"Today's ruling does not change the fact that Obamacare is an unworkable law that is hurting far too many families across Southwest Alabama and the United States," he said in a statement. "I will continue to push for a full repeal of the law and work toward patient-centered health care solutions that aren't run by the federal government."

U.S. Rep. Mike Rogers, R-Saks, also called for Congress to gut the health care law. "Obamacare is a disaster, both for our economy and for working Americans," he said in a statement. "Regardless of the court's decision today, the American people know this law is not affordable, workable or even effective now or in the future. It needs to be replaced with market-based approaches and I will continue to work towards that end."

U.S. Rep. Martha Roby, R-Montgomery, voted a number of times on House bills to replace Obamacare. "This ruling does not change my commitment to working to replace the president's health care law with policies that make sense," she said in a statement. "It does show just how important it is for us to elect a president who will uphold the rule of law and appoint Supreme Court judges who will do the same."

U.S. Rep. Terri Sewell, D-Birmingham, was the only member of the state's congressional delegation to applaud the Supreme Court's decision, which she called "a victory for the 132,000 Alabamians who will be able to keep their health insurance, including 17,000 of my constituents in the 7th Congressional District.

She also disputed the characterizations of her colleagues that the law has been ineffective. "The law works, and the tax credits have helped millions of Americans in every state sign up for health insurance," Sewell said. "It's time to put an end to these pointless lawsuits that undermine this monumental law."