By Jesse Roman, Staff Writer
The Salem News
---- — The Supreme Court’s decision upholding President Barack Obama’s health care reform law had some local leaders rejoicing and others vowing to repeal the law.
“The Supreme Court made a responsible decision today,” Congressman John Tierney, a Salem Democrat who voted for the health care bill in 2010, said in a prepared statement.
“Its ruling is a victory for the millions of Americans who will have the opportunity to access health care, the middle-class families who will see their health care costs decrease, the young Americans who will be able to stay on their insurance until age 26, the seniors who will continue to see the ‘doughnut hole’ close, and so many more.”
Local Democrats, including Gov. Deval Patrick, House Speaker Robert DeLeo, Senate President Therese Murray and Attorney General Martha Coakley also publicly applauded the court for the ruling.
“This historic opinion memorializes on a federal level what we are already doing here in Massachusetts — providing access to health care to all of our citizens,” DeLeo said, referring to this state’s own 2006 overhaul.
Republican congressional candidate Richard Tisei, who is trying to unseat Tierney, said he was surprised by yesterday’s close ruling but unfazed in his desire to repeal the law.
“If I am elected to Congress, I will vote to repeal the law,” Tisei said in an interview yesterday. “If it’s not repealed, I will work with Republicans and Democrats to take out the most egregious parts of the law.
“I want to work to put a bill together that, instead of forcing one model on every single state, incentivizes states to bring down the number of uninsured.”
The court said in its majority decision, written by conservative Chief Justice John Roberts, that the individual mandate to buy health insurance is constitutional because the penalty imposed for not buying insurance amounts to a tax, which Congress is legally allowed to impose.
“It’s now in the hands of the people who are opposed to that tax to elect a Congress and a congressman that is willing to repeal it,” Tisei said. “It will be decided in the next election.”
Democrats were united in calling for an end to Republican efforts to repeal the law, which they called nothing more than political theater.
“For the past three years, opponents of health reform did everything they could to distort and deceive. They tried to scare the American public with outright lies about ‘death panels’ and ‘socialized medicine,’” said Democratic Sen. John Kerry. “Enough time has been wasted in the United States Congress on pointless repeal votes designed to score political points.”
Tierney joined his fellow Democrats in calling for Republicans to back off.
“The American people, the Congress, the White House and now the Supreme Court has spoken,” he said, “and we should focus now on working together to implement the law and its benefits quickly and effectively.”
Republican Sen. Scott Brown expressed his disappointment with yesterday’s outcome and echoed Tisei and other fellow Republicans in saying that the law still needs to go.
“All we got out of this massive new federal entitlement is higher taxes, cuts in Medicare and additional debt at a time when we can least afford it,” Brown said yesterday. “The bottom line for me is this law makes it harder for our economy to add jobs, and for that reason I continue to oppose it.”