Lawmakers, community leaders react to U.S. Supreme Court's decision on ACA

MILWAUKEE -- Reaction to the U.S. Supreme Court's decision to save the controversial Affordable Care Act is generating reaction from lawmakers and other community leaders. Their statements are as follows:

Gov. Scott Walker (R)

“Today’s Supreme Court ruling upholding the administration’s implementation of ObamaCare means Republicans in the House and Senate must redouble their efforts to repeal and replace this destructive and costly law. From the beginning, it was clear that ObamaCare would fail the American people and this has proven to be true across the country and in Wisconsin. Workers have lost hours because of new costs faced by their employers, people have lost their insurance and cannot afford the dramatic premium and fee increases, and many can no longer see their preferred doctors. Now, instead of just finger-pointing from the president for why his law is failing, we need real leadership in Washington, and Congress needs to repeal and replace ObamaCare.”

Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett (D)

“Today’s Supreme Court ruling reaffirms the nation’s commitment to affordable health care coverage and improved health regardless of income. The City of Milwaukee and its partners will continue our efforts to make certain that all residents are informed about their health care insurance options.”

Sara Finger, Exec. Director of Wisconsin Alliance for Women’s Health

“This is a tremendous victory for all of us. We are thrilled that women and their families in Wisconsin will continue to have access to subsidies to make health insurance more affordable and accessible. Tens of thousands of low- and middle-income Wisconsinites will be helped by this decision.  Without the subsidies, monthly insurance premiums are just too expensive for many women.

“This decision means that we won’t turn the clock back on the progress we’ve made.  More than 180,000 Wisconsinites have already benefitted from greater health and economic security through the ACA. Our work is not finished.  We will continue our advocacy to advance the goal of access to health care for all Wisconsinites by advocating for Medicaid expansion to ensure Wisconsinites who cannot afford private insurance have access to the health care they need to live long, healthy and productive lives.”

Republican National Committee

“Today’s ruling makes it clear that if we want to fix our broken healthcare system, then we will need to elect a Republican president with proven ideas and real solutions that will help American families,” said Chairman Priebus. “Hillary Clinton supports big government mandates and expanding the government’s reach into our healthcare system, maneuvers that have made our healthcare system worse off. What you will not hear from Democrats today is any information on how to make healthcare more affordable at a time when premiums are getting more expensive.”

Wisconsin Democratic Party

"Today’s decision by the U.S. Supreme Court will preserve access to affordable healthcare for millions of Americans, including tens of thousands of Wisconsinites.

Thanks to the work of President Obama and Democrats like Senator Tammy Baldwin, the uninsured rate is at or near historic lows across the country, women aren’t paying more for their healthcare simply because they are women, kids are able to stay on their parent’s health insurance longer, and big insurance companies can’t deny coverage for people with pre-existing conditions – in short, the Affordable Care Act has been a huge success that has improved the lives of millions of people.

Now that the Affordable Care Act has survived yet another attempt by Republicans like Ron Johnson to return to the days when big insurance companies and special interests held all the power on healthcare, it is time for Scott Walker and the Republican legislature to stop the partisan gamesmanship in Wisconsin and allow our state to enjoy the full benefits the Affordable Care Act has to offer.

Right now, with our budget in crisis, there are $360 million in federal funds available to our state to strengthen BadgerCare. Accepting those funds will allow Wisconsin to insure tens of thousands more people at a lower cost to the taxpayers; in my years as a businesswoman, I can’t recall seeing a better deal than this. That’s why I’m proud that Democrats in the legislature have been fighting to make sure Wisconsin’s tax dollars are spent expanding healthcare right here in Wisconsin.

I hope Scott Walker will recognize that doing what’s right for Wisconsin is more important than currying favor with the far-right as he runs for president.”

Rep. Ron Kind (D – La Crosse)

“I am pleased but not surprised by the Supreme Court’s decision. Today, the court made the right decision and gave 166,000 Wisconsinites certainty that they can continue to access the affordable health care coverage they rely on.

“However, even with this decision there is still work to be done. I will continue to work with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to ensure all Americans have access to better care at a better price.”

St. Senator Leah Vukmir (R – Wauwatosa)

“I am disappointed by the decision of the Supreme Court.  The King v. Burwell ruling further blurs the lines among the executive, legislative and judicial branches in Washington.  America is a nation of laws and this decision continues to move us down a path of an ever-expanding executive branch that is unchecked by the courts, Congress or the states.  From the start, Obamacare has failed to actually address the health care issues facing our nation.  By upholding the law, the Supreme Court has simply ignored yet another issue with this law.

“While I believe in expanding access and reducing costs in health care, the track record of Obamacare and its implementation prove that there is a better way.  Where Obamacare places the federal government at the center of its approach, I believe a state-implemented, consumer-based model would provide better results for Wisconsin consumers and taxpayers.

“By leaving the law intact again, the Supreme Court has relegated the states to the sidelines in the health care debate.  There was a time when the U.S. Supreme Court viewed the states as laboratories of democracy.  I continue to believe states are better equipped to produce a multitude of possible solutions to the challenges we face.  Today, Obamacare stands as the single clearest example of top-down one-size-fits-all governance from Washington. I think the state of Wisconsin can do better and deserves better.”

Sen. Jon Erpenbach (D-Middleton)

“The decision of the US Supreme Court is uplifting and reinforces the balance of powers created by our founding fathers in the United State Constitution. Thousands of families in Wisconsin will not lose the tax credits that help them afford their health insurance coverage. We can rest easy that even though Governor Walker and the Republican Legislature has set up roadblocks for Wisconsin families desperate for health insurance coverage, the law of the land has prevailed.  Once again I renew my call to Governor Walker to accept the Affordable Care Act as it was intended to be implemented and bring Wisconsin taxpayer dollars back to Wisconsin so more low-income families can participate in BadgerCare.  There are a lot of things Wisconsin can do with 360 million dollars, including re-investing in our public schools and our world-class university system.  Governor Walker should focus on that instead of his relentless pursuit of higher office.”

Robert Kraig, Exec. Director of Citizen Action Wisconsin

“Today’s U.S. Supreme Court decision ensures that access to health coverage will continue for tens of thousands of Wisconsinites whose freedom was put needlessly at risk. This historic ruling reaffirms the Affordable Care Act as the law of the land. Now it’s time to move forward to build on the successes of health care reform by accepting enhanced federal funds for BadgerCare, reining in excessive costs, and making sure everyone has affordable health coverage that can never be taken away.”

Rep. Glenn Grothman (R)

"The uncertainty working families and employers throughout my district have suffered because of Obamacare is disappointing, to say the least. It is frustrating that once again the Supreme Court has disregarded Congressional intent. This ruling shows us that the rule of law is under attack by not only the Obama administration, but also the Supreme Court. The decision today doesn’t change the fact that I will keep fighting for patient-centered reforms that lower premium costs and create more flexibility for all Americans. I firmly believe Wisconsinites should be in charge of their health care, not Washington bureaucrats."

Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D)

"Congressional Republicans pushed a politically motivated lawsuit to repeal health care for millions of Americans. They lost and the American people won. Over 6 million people would have had their premium tax credits repealed; including 166,000 Wisconsinites, but this decision protects their health care security.

"The Affordable Care Act is working to provide affordable coverage to millions of people, to allow young adults to stay in their parents’ health plans, and to make sure insurance companies can no longer discriminate against sick people, or charge women more for their health care.

"It’s disappointing that Governor Walker supported this lawsuit, especially given the fact that he kicked 63,000 people off of their BadgerCare coverage and created a coverage gap for 27,000 people. It is my hope that this historic decision from America’s highest court will put an end to his support for repealing health care for Wisconsin families and that he will do the right thing and accept a federal investment in our BadgerCare program instead of clinging to his plan to cover fewer people at a higher cost to Wisconsin taxpayers. I also believe this Supreme Court decision should send a powerful message to Congressional Republicans. The time is now for them to stop trying to advance their political proposals that would increase the deficit, raise health care taxes and premiums on families, and expand the number of uninsured people in Wisconsin and our country. It is time to continue moving the Affordable Care Act forward."

Martha Laning, Democratic Party of Wisconsin Chair

“Today’s decision by the U.S. Supreme Court will preserve access to affordable healthcare for millions of Americans, including tens of thousands of Wisconsinites.

“Thanks to the work of President Obama and Democrats like Senator Tammy Baldwin, the uninsured rate is at or near historic lows across the country, women aren’t paying more for their healthcare simply because they are women, kids are able to stay on their parent’s health insurance longer, and big insurance companies can’t deny coverage for people with pre-existing conditions – in short, the Affordable Care Act has been a huge success that has improved the lives of millions of people.”

Americans for Prosperity Wisconsin

“The Court’s decision today offers no relief to Obamacare’s many victims," said Americans for Prosperity State Director Eric Bott. "For far too long, Obamacare’s burdensome taxes and mandates have wreaked havoc on American families and businesses. This law was hurting people yesterday and will continue to do so tomorrow.

"Obamacare remains wildly unpopular and for good reason: it limits access to care and has sent premiums skyrocketing. Americans for Prosperity Wisconsin will continue pressing Congress to provide relief from the law’s expensive mandates and continue fighting for patient-centered reforms that work."

Rep. Gwen Moore (D – Milwaukee)

“The Supreme Court of the United States has once again upheld the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The decision will allow millions of Americans who depend on the subsidies provided by the ACA to keep their health coverage. This landmark legislation provides all Americans, regardless of where they live, with access to quality health care, and is an important lifeline for our working and middle class families.

“This Supreme Court decision is further confirmation that the ACA is here to stay. I call upon my Republican colleagues to end their efforts to undermine the ACA, and to work with Democrats to improve this vital law that continues to secure the health and well-being of all Americans.”

State. Rep. JoCasta Zamarripa (D - Milwaukee)

"This is a major victory for working Wisconsinites that have found affordable, comprehensive health coverage through President Obama’s Affordable Care Act.  Due to Governor Walker’s failed leadership and partisan gamesmanship, thousands of Wisconsinites were at risk of losing federal subsidies that assist them in affording their health coverage.  Today’s ruling affirming the ability of the federal government to provide these subsidies to states that failed to set up their own exchange is a major victory for Wisconsin.

"The Affordable Care Act was a major step in the right direction in expanding access to affordable health coverage.  However, the work in Wisconsin is not done.  I again will be calling on my Republican colleagues and Governor Walker to bring our federal tax dollars home to expand BadgerCare services here in Wisconsin.  It is the right thing to do and would save our state’s taxpayers over $350 million over the next biennium."

Covering Kids & Families-Wisconsin

"Today, June 25, 2015, the Supreme Court of the United States ruled on the court case King V. Burwell in favor of Burwell. The outcome of this case confirms the use of advance premium tax credits for consumers using a state exchange or the federal Health Insurance Marketplace ( The Supreme Court decided that Congress’ intention was to make financial assistance available to all consumers regardless of the state they live in, or whether their state made the decision to create their own Marketplace.

This decision allows over 166,000 Wisconsin residents to continue receiving their federal financial subsidies for their health insurance through the Marketplace and continues to provide the access to future tax credits and financial assistance to people who may still be uninsured.

Consumers can dial 2-1-1 to find a local enrollment assister, and also contact the Marketplace Call Center at 1-800-318-2596 to enroll in coverage. There are many Navigator and Certified Application Counselors across the state that are ready to answer questions and help people access health insurance.  Consumers in the Milwaukee area can call 414-270-4677 to speak with a local Navigator."

Rep. Leon Young (D-Milwaukee)

“I stand in full agreement with today’s Supreme Court ruling that allows President Obama’s health care law to provide nationwide tax subsidies to help poor and middle-class people buy health insurance. This is a sweeping vindication for President Obama’s signature legislation: The Affordable Care Act.

More importantly, today’s court decision is a major victory for Wisconsin families, especially the 184,000 Wisconsinites – including 11,000 children – who stood to lose their health care coverage. Lastly, the delivery of health care in this country should be a right and not a privilege.”

Rep. Joe Sanfelippo (R-West Allis)

“Justice Antonin Scalia summed up the SCOTUS ruling better than most could in his dissenting opinion,” Sanfelippo said.

Pure applesauce ... This Court holds only the judicial power – the power to pronounce the law as Congress has enacted it ... The Court forgets that ours is a government of laws and not of men,” Scalia wrote in his opinion. “That means we are governed by the terms of our laws, not by the unenacted will of our lawmakers ... The Court’s decision reflects the philosophy that judges should endure whatever interpretive distortions it takes in order to correct a supposed flaw in the statutory machinery … If Congress enacted into law something different from what it intended, then it should amend the statute to conform to its intent.

Even Chief Justice John Roberts’ affirmative opinion called out Congress for passing much of Obamacare by using a complicated budgetary procedure that limited opportunities for debate and amendment, and for bypassing the Senate’s normal 60-vote filibuster requirement,” Sanfelippo said. “As the chief justice put it, Obamacare contains more than a few examples of inartful drafting and does not reflect the type of care and deliberation one might expect of such significant legislation.

I look forward to my Republican colleagues in Congress holding true to their promise that they intend to repeal and replace Obamacare,” Sanfelippo added. “It's simply unsustainable.”

Sen. Mark Miller (D-Monona)

“The Supreme Court made the right decision to uphold the will of congress,” said Miller.  “An adverse decision would have made it impossible for millions of Americans to afford private health insurance.  166,000 Wisconsinites would have been affected.

Miller criticized the Governor and Legislative Republicans for failure to establish a state-run health insurance exchange and for failure to accept federal reimbursement of Wisconsin taxes to expand Medicaid.

"Governor Walker demonstrated his disregard for Wisconsinites by failing to create a Wisconsin health insurance exchange, instead choosing to join in this lawsuit, which, if it had been successful, would have created severe economic hardships for thousands of Wisconsin families and millions of Americans.  He allowed ideology and political ambition to trump the welfare of the rest of us. Walker’s actions in joining the lawsuit compounded the errors of his previous decisions to let the federal government keep the taxes paid by Wisconsin taxpayers that could have been used to reduce expenditures for low-income health insurance.  He would not have needed to throw 88,000 Wisconsinites off Medicaid.  If Walker placed the welfare of Wisconsin citizens ahead of his ambition, not only would our people be better off, but the budget would have been easier to balance."

Rep. Jonathan Brostoff (D-Milwaukee)

“It is a relief to know that this basic right, health coverage, will remain accessible to our state’s poor and middle class. Now we need Walker to accept the federal Medicaid expansion funding.

Walker thinks the federal government may go back on the promise to provide this funding. Is that because he plans to promote himself on his presidential run by saying he wouldn’t honor commitments to our nation’s poor and middle class? Is this yet another example of how he cares more about his political ambition than the people he is paid to represent.”