Republican politicians looked to the November elections and a possible repeal of the health care law after the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the controversial bill Thursday, including its requirement that people buy insurance.
“Congress should repeal the law and then proceed step-by-step to reduce the cost of health care so more Americans can afford to buy insurance,” said U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander, a Tennessee Republican.
In a statement, Alexander said the bill, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, was a historic mistake, and he voted against it. He said it expanded a system the nation already couldn’t afford.
Like other Tennessee Republicans, including U.S. Rep. Chuck Fleischmann, Alexander advocated for other solutions, such as allowing people to buy insurance across state lines, permitting small businesses to join to offer cheaper insurance to employees, limiting “junk lawsuits” against doctors, and reducing waste, fraud, and abuse.
U.S. Sen. Bob Corker said he also voted against the health care law and has voted to repeal it.
“Today’s ruling makes it clear that it’s up to Congress to replace the president’s health care law with common sense reforms that our nation and its citizens can afford,” Corker said.
Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam said state officials will review the Supreme Court’s 5-4 decision, announced Thursday, to understand how Tennessee will be affected.
In its ruling, the court unexpectedly said that states cannot be forced to expand their Medicaid program, Haslam said. He said that part of the ruling is significant, but the impact on Tennessee isn’t known yet.
Haslam said his primary concern is that the legislation, called Obamacare by its critics, “takes away the flexibility for states to encourage healthy behavior, will cost Tennessee hundreds of millions of dollars, and does nothing to solve the crisis of the cost of health care in America.”
Tennessee Rep. John Ragan said the November elections have taken on added importance.
“The fight does not end here,” said Ragan, an Oak Ridge Republican. “The court’s decision does not change the fact that this law will put already cash-strapped states in an even tougher position, it will drive up the cost of healthcare, and will raise taxes on middle class Americans. Moving forward, I will continue to fight against an out-of-control federal government that insists it has the right to force individuals to purchase a private product.”