Coloradans immediately spoke up with their opinions about the Supreme Court’s decision. Go to the comments section of any story to give your reaction.
Updated 2:45 p.m.
Americans for Prosperity – Colorado director Jeff Crank: “To say I’m disappointed by the Supreme Court’s misguided support for Barack Obama’s government health care takeover is an understatement. But I guess that’s what happens when you leave your fate to Washington lawyers and politicos. This leaves only one path left if Americans are going to reassert citizen supremacy and curb unchecked government intrusion into our personal health care decisions – and that’s by rallying pro-freedom forces to fight for the law’s complete repeal by Congress… Now isn’t the time to lie down and lick our wounds. Now is the time to rise up and go on the offensive… The Court got it wrong and now it is up to us to settle this dispute through the democratic tools at our disposal.”
US Rep. Diana DeGette: “Today is a good day for America’s families and for the future of our nation’s health insurance system. As a constitutional lawyer and one of the chief architects of the ACA, I have always believed the mandate was constitutional, and I am extremely pleased the Court agreed.
“There are some who may be celebrating the Court’s decision to allow states to reject the Medicaid expansion, which finally brings insurance coverage to some of the poorest among us. Governors or state legislatures may want to reject these funds for political reasons, but in the end I think the economics behind insuring the poor will lead states to embrace Medicaid. As far as Colorado is concerned, our state has a tradition of doing Medicaid expansions on their own.
“I’m sorry that Republicans continue to focus solely on repealing the ACA, as doing so will do nothing to help the American people coping with our nation’s continuing health care crisis, while actually ending important and popular benefits that have already taken hold. The truth is, behind the decision, the statistics, the politics, the pundits and the hyperbole, are real people; the same real people from across Colorado who for months have been telling me how this law is already helping them.
“The Supreme Court has spoken, and it is now time for all of us to move forward. We owe it to the millions of Americans and hundreds of thousands of Coloradans already receiving better access to care.
“Today I call on the Republican leadership to stop demagoguing this law and start working with us to make sure the ACA works effectively to create a health care system that enables the American people to succeed and our country to thrive for decades to come.”
Colorado Medical Society - official statement from President Brent Keeler: “By upholding the individual mandate, the Supreme Court has defined the constitutional boundaries of state and federal participation in health care reform. The ruling also means that the private and public sectors can continue the long-overdue process of providing access to care for the growing number of patients who have little or no coverage. Now we must get back to the real work. We must intensify our local efforts to repurpose health delivery systems to make Colorado the best state in which to provide and receive the safest, highest quality and most cost-effective care.”
The Colorado Trust – official statement:
This morning the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the Affordable Care Act, affirming this landmark law. The court’s ruling represents a significant step forward in helping to provide more affordable, meaningful health coverage for Americans, including the nearly one-third of Coloradans who are uninsured and underinsured.
Most of the provisions required through the Affordable Care Act closely align with the recommendations of Colorado’s own Blue Ribbon Commission for Health Care Reform, including Medicaid expansion. Today’s ruling assures that our state will have access to federally-funded Medicaid expansion, and underscores the need to maintain our commitment to Medicaid, working within the realities of our state budget.
The Colorado Trust stands firm behind its commitment to work closely with partners to achieve access to health for all Coloradans. The court’s ruling offers renewed hope for realizing this goal, and underscores the importance of providing Coloradans with good information, encouraging them to speak up about health care challenges and to be actively engaged in achieving workable solutions.
SCL Health System, operator of four hospitals in Colorado – official statement by President and CEO Michael Slubowski:
“SCL Health System is pleased with the Supreme Court’s ruling on the 2010 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA).
SCL Health System fully supports the ACA’s goal to provide access to safe and reliable health care services for more Americans.
We are also pleased the ACA provides appropriate financial assistance for the poor through premium subsidies and the expansion of government programs. This provision is particularly important to SCL Health System as part of our mission is to improve the health of the people and communities we serve, especially those who are poor and vulnerable.
We recognize the costs of health care are accelerating – affecting jobs and our economy – and we are holding ourselves accountable for the quality and affordability of the care we deliver. Along those lines, we support the ACA’s delivery system transformation efforts. This includes support for the gradual restructuring of physician and hospital payment models to reward improvement in quality of care, patient outcomes and efficiency and to move away from fee-for-service and procedure volume payment programs.
CO Dept. of Health Care Policy and Financing – official statement from Executive Director Susan E. Birch:
“Today’s decision means that more uninsured Coloradans could gain access to Medicaid beginning in 2014. We will spend the coming weeks further analyzing the specific impact of the decision. In Colorado, we have been working for years towards reforming our health care system and covering the uninsured.
“The Department, in collaboration with the Governor, our partner agencies, legislative partners, county partners, providers and other stakeholders, has been moving forward to implement the provisions of the Affordable Care Act. Had we not done this, we may have missed out on federal funding to modernize our eligibility and enrollment systems and would have faced challenges meeting the federal deadlines for implementation of the law.
“Because of the collaborative planning that has been done by the Department and stakeholders, Colorado is well positioned to successfully implement federal health care reform. The Department will continue to focus on improving health outcomes and containing health care costs in all of our programs. The additional funding provided by the Affordable Care Act will help us meet the goal of delivering the best value for every health care dollar spent.”
Bell Policy Center – official statement:
We are very pleased with today’s Supreme Court ruling. After months of uncertainty, Coloradans now have the security of knowing they will have access to quality, affordable health care.
Prior to the passage of the Affordable Care Act, there was a staggering gap between Americans who had access to affordable health care and those who did not. The act’s reforms are bridging that gap and will help to secure health care coverage for all Americans.
Many Coloradans have benefited from increased access to care, expanded services and peace of mind from the changes already in place. We look forward to additional benefits in the coming years.
While the legal debate is over, the political debate will continue. As a result, we remain committed to supporting and explaining efforts to repair a health care system that previously limited access to insurance coverage and care, strained the national economy and was unaffordable to tens of millions of Americans.
We are off to a good start under the Affordable Care Act. Much work remains, but now we can more forward to a better health care future, one that makes it possible for more Americans to lead healthy lives and one that provides a vital safety net for those who need it.
CitizenLink/Focus on the Family – official statement from Executive Director Tom Minnery (Colorado Springs):
“We are deeply disappointed that this law will continue, absent a political solution, to weaken us as a nation. It forces taxpayers to subsidize abortion, expands the size of government, and infringes on our fundamental rights of religion and conscience.
“While we can all sympathize with the aims of reducing the cost of healthcare insurance and expanding coverage to more Americans, we are not convinced that this law would accomplish those goals. We are also adamant that the threats to the preborn child and religious liberty resulting from this law are far more dangerous to this nation than anything the law purports to solve.
“There are other lawsuits still going forward challenging the reality of various parts of Obamacare. Those are not affected by today’s decision. Most important to us are the 23 lawsuits filed against the HHS mandate requiring most employers to fund coverage for possible abortion-causing drugs and contraceptives for their employees, even when that conflicts with their deeply held religious or moral beliefs.”
ProgressNow Colorado – official statement from executive director Joanne Schwartz:
“Today’s decision is a lifesaving victory for millions of Americans who will be able to get health coverage. Today’s upholding of Obamacare is a victory for thousands of Colorado citizens who are already benefiting from Obamacare’s protections for sick children, women, rural residents who need better health care, and small businesses who will get tax breaks to provide their workers with coverage. Millions of Coloradans can rest easy knowing there are no more lifetime caps on health coverage benefits.”
“It’s time for the right wing’s campaign of fear and lies against health care reform to end. The mandate for health insurance coverage originally was the right wing’s idea. The health insurance mandate was first implemented in Massachusetts by Gov. Mitt Romney. Everyone in America is part of our health care system, and a risk pool that includes everyone is the only way to make health care sustainable in America.”
“In 2010, Colorado voters rejected an attempt to undermine Obamacare in a statewide vote against Amendment 63. Our legislators have established a key component of Obamacare in our new health insurance exchange law. Now, there is no more doubt: the court has upheld the law, and the people of Colorado have spoken. Now it’s time to move forward.”
One Colorado – official statement by Executive Director Brad Clark:
“Today’s decision is a huge victory for all Americans who will continue to have increased access to more affordable health care.
“No longer is there any doubt about this law. Coloradans affirmed it when they voted down an anti-health reform ballot initiative and passed bi-partisan legislation to establish a health benefits exchange. And now the Supreme Court of the United States has affirmed its constitutionality.
“In addition to ensuring access to quality, affordable health care for all Americans, today’s ruling upholds critical protections for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people and their families.
“We know that LGBT people face significant and sometimes overwhelming barriers to accessing the care they need. The Affordable Care Act addresses many of the most pressing problems impacting the health of LGBT people and their access to quality care, including financial barriers to insurance coverage and to preventive health care, and discrimination in the insurance market and by health care providers.
“Because of the Affordable Care Act—transgender people will not be denied coverage just because of who they are. Folks with HIV will not have their insurance canceled. LGBT families, regardless of income, will have access to the care they need.
“To be sure, this law will hugely benefit LGBT people in the coming years.”
Kaiser Permanente (national) – official statement:
Today’s Supreme Court decision on the federal health care reform law resolves much of the legal uncertainty over implementation of the law’s provisions. While acknowledging that political uncertainty still remains, in the interest of our members we plan to continue our extensive reform implementation efforts, which began two years ago when the law first became effective. We want our members to know that they need not be concerned about any disruption of their coverage resulting from the Supreme Court’s decision today.
We are implementing state and federal reform laws as an integrated delivery system, which not only incorporates provisions around health care coverage, but also addresses broader improvements to the way health care is delivered now and in the future. This work involves continuing to improve the quality and integration of care, and ensuring that we have the resources in place — physicians, nurses and other staff, as well as the right health care facilities — to provide the care our members will need. We will continue to be guided by our goals of providing high-quality care, great service and affordability to our customers and members.
We are reviewing the Court’s decision to determine how it may affect the law’s expansion of Medicaid coverage to millions of Americans, which is planned to begin in 2014.
Earlier today, we got some initial reactions which were posted on our special coverage blog. See: More Coloradans comment on the decision.