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Christie Calls Supreme Court Health Law “Screwy” [VIDEO]

Governor Christie called today’s Supreme Court ruling on the federal health care law a “screwy opinion” but says New Jersey will meet any deadlines required to implement the law.

Governor Christie on Ask The Governor
Governor Christie on Ask The Governor (Townsquare Media NJ)

During the opening minutes of Townsquare Media New Jersey’s Ask The Governor program, Christie said that Supreme Court Chief Justice Edwards was “reaching” when he referenced letters from Benjamin Franklin in his opinion. Christie called the opinion “long and complex.”

While saying the state will meet required deadlines, he is in no hurry to implement the state health insurance exchange program, instead promising that if Republican Mitt Romney wins the November election there won’t be a federal health insurance program.

The Supreme Court earlier today upheld the individual insurance requirement at the heart of President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul.

People march in support of the Obama administration's health care act
People march in support of the Obama administration's health care act in front of US Supreme Court building. (Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

The 5-4 decision means the huge overhaul, still taking effect, will proceed and pick up momentum over the next several years, affecting the way that countless Americans receive and pay for their personal medical care.

PREVIOUS: Supreme Court Considers Health Care Law

RULING: Read The Full Decision

PRESIDENT OBAMA: Watch his comments on the ruling

 

REACTION: Read Reactions To The Ruling  From Washington, Trenton & concerned organizations

AT A GLANCE: Key Points Of The Supreme Court Ruling

OBAMA: “VICTORY FOR PEOPLE ALL OVER THE COUNTRY”

President Barack Obama says the Supreme Court’s decision to uphold his health care overhaul is a “victory for people all over the country” and will make their lives more secure. The nation’s highest court today upheld the individual insurance requirement at the center of the president’s overhaul.

Obama said the decision upholds the fundamental principle that in America — the wealthiest nation on earth — no one should fall into financial ruin because of an illness.

The ruling hands Obama a campaign-season victory in rejecting arguments that Congress went too far in approving the plan.

ROMNEY: “BAD LAW”

Mitt Romney is promising again to repeal it. Romney says today’s decision is incorrect, and is “bad law.” He says it raises taxes and cuts Medicare. He hasn’t said exactly how he will repeal and replace the
law.

Stocks of hospital companies rose sharply, and insurance companies fell immediately after the decision was announced that Americans must carry health insurance or pay a penalty.

Breaking with the court’s other conservative justices, Chief Justice John Roberts announced the judgment that allows the law to go forward with its aim of covering more than 30 million uninsured
Americans.

MANDATE IS A TAX

The justices rejected two of the administration’s three arguments in support of the insurance requirement. But the court said the mandate can be construed as a tax. “Because the Constitution permits such a tax, it is not our role to forbid it, or to pass upon its wisdom or fairness,” Roberts said.

The court found problems with the law’s expansion of Medicaid, but even there said the expansion could proceed as long as the federal government does not threaten to withhold states’ entire Medicaid allotment if they don’t take part in the law’s extension.

LIBERALS VS. CONSERVATIVE

 Anti-Obamacare protesters
Anti-Obamacare protesters. (Alex Wong/Getty Images)

The court’s four liberal justices, Stephen Breyer, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Elena Kagan and Sonia Sotomayor, joined Roberts in the outcome. Justices Samuel Alito, Anthony Kennedy, Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas dissented.

“The act before us here exceeds federal power both in mandating the purchase of health insurance and in denying non-consenting states all Medicaid funding,” the dissenters said in a joint statement.

 

 

Kennedy summarized the dissent in court. “In our view, the act before us is invalid in its entirety,” he said.

The legislation passed Congress in early 2010 after a monumental struggle in which all Republicans voted against it. House Republicans announced in advance of the ruling they would vote to wipe out whatever was left standing by the justices, and GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney has joined in calls for its
complete repeal.

After the ruling, Republican campaign strategists said Romney will use it to continue campaigning against “Obamacare” and attacking the president’s signature health care program as a tax increase.

“Obama might have his law, but the GOP has a cause,” said veteran campaign adviser Terry Holt. “This promises to galvanize Republican support around a repeal of what could well be called the largest tax increase in American history.”

Democrats said Romney, who backed an individual health insurance mandate when he was Massachusetts governor, will have a hard time exploiting the ruling. “Mitt Romney is the intellectual godfather of Obamacare,” said Democratic consultant Jim Manley.

Justice Ginsburg said the court should have upheld the entire law as written without forcing any changes in the Medicaid provision. She said Congress’ constitutional authority to regulate interstate commerce supports the individual mandate. She warned that the legal reasoning, even though the law was upheld, could
cause trouble in future cases.

“So in the end, the Affordable Health Care Act survives largely unscathed. But the court’s commerce clause and spending clause jurisprudence has been set awry. My expectation is that the setbacks will be temporary blips, not permanent obstructions,” Ginsburg said in a statement she, too, read from the bench.

 

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