U.S. Rep. Chuck Fleischmann said he is shocked and disappointed by the Supreme Court’s decision to uphold most of a health care overhaul that includes an individual insurance requirement.
“In my view, the entire law was unconstitutional,” said Fleischmann, a Republican whose district includes Oak Ridge.
The decision was announced Thursday morning. The justices voted 5-4 to leave in place the basic provisions of the controversial health care overhaul.
During a brief telephone interview Thursday, Fleischmann said the Supreme Court referred to the individual mandate as a tax in upholding the law’s constitutionality, but he called that a sham.
“While the Supreme Court may consider the individual mandate a tax, the Obama administration repeatedly claimed that this was not a tax when they tried to pass Obamacare,” Fleischmann said in a press release. “Like many conservatives, I believe the individual mandate cannot be justified as a tax.”
The law is officially called the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, but critics refer to it as Obamacare. The legislation has been supported by President Barack Obama and Democrats, but opposed by Republicans.
Fleischmann said the law forces American to buy insurance and subsidize birth control, even if it violates their faith. Advocating free-market solutions, he said the bill is a bad law and bad policy, and he warned that health care costs and taxes will continue to rise.
“The results of Obamacare are clear: Higher healthcare costs, hundreds of billions in tax increases, top-down government control of healthcare, and a continuation of our massive deficits,” the first-term legislator said. “Now, it is time for Congressional Republicans to demonstrate our commitment to smaller government, and continue the fight to repeal Obamacare. Our healthcare, our nation’s finances, and our national character demand nothing less.”
Fleischmann said he has consistently advocated for repealing the legislation. One of his earliest votes was for a full repeal of Obamacare in January 2011, the congressman said.
“It’s basically a power grab by the federal government,” he said.
Fleischmann said his constituents in Tennessee’s Third District are furious.
“They didn’t want Obamacare,” he said. “They didn’t like it.”