The U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to uphold President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul is being hailed as a vindication for Massachusetts. The state laid the groundwork for the 2010 federal health law with its own 2006 health care initiative, and it is the only state with an “individual mandate,” requiring that nearly all residents have insurance or face tax penalties.
Governor Deval Patrick says the 2010 federal law, which was inspired by Massachusetts’ 2006 health care law, gives families more security, holds insurers accountable, and helps Americans get the care they need.
At a statehouse press conference, Patrick, a Democrat, praised former Governor Mitt Romney for signing the state law, which he says has brought health care to virtually every Massachusetts child, expanded care and quality for many adult residents, and eased the insurance burden on the state’s small businesses.
“…and every one of the list of horrors that Governor Romney now says will happen in America because of Obamacare, did not happen in Massachusetts because of Romneycare.”
Many Connecticut officials are also cheering the decision saying the state can press ahead with plans to offer a new health insurance marketplace to residents. And in Vermont the decision could help the state’s ambitious plan for universal, publicly funded health care.
Thursday’s Supreme Court decision largely upholding the federal legislation is seen as a victory by Brian Rosman, research director at Massachusetts’ Health Care For All – a patient advocacy group.
“We here in the Bay State really led the way, and this means that we will continue to expand and really deepen our health coverage options for low-income people, for middle-income people, and help seniors who would not be helped if the decision had gone the other way.”
But Bill Vernon, the state director for the National Federation of Independent Businesses, which was the lead plaintiff in the Supreme Court case says he’s disappointed in the court’s conclusion.
“We respect the decision, and we will be continuing to work and fight harder, I guess, than ever. We have to fight for small businesses so that we can reform health care to actually lower the cost of health care, which is the problem with health care.”
Both proponents and opponents of the decision acknowledge that since Massachusetts health care reform was passed during then-Governor and current Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s tenure, the days leading up to November’s election will shine a spotlight on the state. Health Care For All’s Brian Rosman:
“You know Massachusetts is really an essential player in all this drama, and now with the law being upheld and Governor Romney running for President, I think there’ll be more attention on Massachusetts.”
Governor Romney has said that one of his first acts should he be elected in November would be to propose legislation abolishing the Affordable Care Act, which he calls Obamacare.