WV reps in Washington react to healthcare ruling
June 29, 2012 ·
Echoing the Supreme Court’s divide, West Virginia’s representatives in Washington are split 3-2 in support of the court’s decision.
The Supreme Court yesterday ruled to uphold the Affordable
Healthcare Act that seeks to reform many healthcare practices throughout the US.
Surprisingly, it was Chief Justice John
Roberts — appointed during the George W. Bush administration and said to be a relentless
conservative—who cast the final vote deciding the 5–4 landmark decision.
Roberts joined the more liberal justices saying the individual mandate aspect
of the law which requires all
Americans to buy private health insurance was grounded not in the power
of Congress to regulate commerce, but in its taxing power.
Echoing the Supreme Court’s divide, West Virginia’s
representatives in Washington are split 3-2 in support of the court’s
decision. In a state where almost 40 percent (37.8 percent) of the population is covered by
government healthcare and almost 40% are covered by either Medicaid (18.3 percent) or
Medicare (18.8 percent), the healthcare debate continues to spin around the issue of
Republican house members Shelly Moore Capito and David
McKinley released statements expressing bitter disappointment in the court’s
decision saying the law burdens small businesses with higher taxes. McKinley
says the law is based on dubious Constitutional authority and Capito reports
that she will cast a vote to repeal the decision in July.
“For the past two years," Capito says, "I've listened to WV caregivers, small business owners, doctors, and constituents
who continue to say that the President’s healthcare law the
wrong direction for America and for West Virginia. While I respect the Supreme Court's decision, I continue to believe that this law is bad for West Virginia families and the American economy.”
Meanwhile, Democrats issued statements that generally
approve the decision saying that it affirms the very real need for congressional
action to curb healthcare challenges that many West Virginians face.
Congressman Rahall applauded the ruling saying that as long
as the law remains in place, no American will loose coverage when they need it
most, fall into bankruptcy because of limited coverage, or be denied coverage
because of a pre-existing condition. He also said without reform, those with
insurance will continue to pay for those without it.
Sen. Rockefeller said in a press release that over the
years his constituents are most often frustrated with premiums that continue to
rise each year — including a 55 percent jump in the past seven years. In West Virginia,
roughly 13 percent of the population goes without health insurance, or nearly
Rockefeller points out that people who seek care in
emergency rooms because they can’t afford insurance add $2000 on
average to family health insurance premiums and $760 on average to individual
health premiums in West Virginia.
Sen. Manchin was less enthusiastic in his statement
saying that the ruling will now allow congress to work toward fixing what is
wrong with the bill and saving what is right. He said the bill is good for West Virginians, many of whom are frequently discriminated against
because of pre-existing conditions, and are in need of better access to