CREATED Jun. 28, 2012
PALM DESERT (AP) — California was among the nation's first states to embrace President Obama's federal health care law after it was adopted two years ago.
State officials are now among those breathing the loudest sighs of relief Thursday after the Supreme Court declined to strike it down.
The decision, health and insurance officials say, perfectly positions California to add 6 million residents to the ranks of the insured by a 2014 deadline.
Although there are lingering questions about how to find and pay doctors to treat all of those people, officials say they are confident details will be worked out with the help of billions in federal money.
State Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones says if the court's decision had gone the other way, hundreds of thousands of Californians could have lost their insurance.
California Democratic Party Chairman John Burton applauds the ruling.
"The highest court in the land has upheld the historic Affordable Care Act passed by a Democratic Congress and signed into law by President Obama," Burton said in a statement. "Millions of Americans are already experiencing the benefits of the law and more stand to benefit still in the near future."
Attorney General Kamala D. Harris today issued the following statement regarding the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision on the Affordable Care Act:
“Today’s decision is a historic victory for Californians, for the President, and for the country. The Affordable Care Act repairs a healthcare system badly in need of reform and ensures that every American has access to affordable health care. We never doubted the constitutionality of this law, and it is already making a difference in the lives of millions of Californians.”
Dr. Raul Ruiz, candidate for Congress in California’s 36th Congressional District, issued the following statement:
“The Supreme Court has now resolved the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act, ensuring that people with preexisting conditions, students, the middle class and thousands of small businesses will have access to affordable health care.
Clearly, there is more work to be done to improve the health care system, and as a doctor, I am uniquely positioned to help make that happen.
Lt. Governor Gavin Newsom says California should not wait for the federal government to take the lead in health care reform.
"There is a healthcare crisis in this country, a crisis with profound implications for each citizen in every city and county in America," Newsom released in a statement.
"Today’s United States Supreme Court decision, which upheld the individual insurance requirement, is just a start. But the decision allowing states to opt-out of Medicaid expansion still leaves millions of Americans vulnerable."
Newsom calls on Californians to "act now to do more to offer healthcare access to all."
"We do not have time to stand on the sidelines. There is a crisis but there is also a solution.
Americans know it is much less expensive to keep people healthy than it is to treat their sickness. This is particularly true when much of the treatment for uninsured Americans is provided in costly emergency rooms. Without a universal healthcare plan, our emergency rooms will continue to bear the brunt of this crisis and citizens will pay the price with higher taxes, more expensive premiums, hidden costs and increased fees."
While Mayor of San Francisco, Newsom launched the country's first local universal health care program, Healthy San Francisco.