ROUNDUP: 2016 Candidate Reactions to King v. Burwell Decision

Christine Rousselle
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Posted: Jun 25, 2015 12:15 PM
ROUNDUP: 2016 Candidate Reactions to King v. Burwell Decision

The Supreme Court made a decision in the King v. Burwell case over Obamacare subsidies for plans purchased in federal exchanges. Here's how the people who want to be president in 2016 reacted, with "too long, didn't read" summaries of their statements.

(Candidates are listed in the order of declared candidacy, if they have done so. If a candidate has not released a formal statement, a tweet from their official account was used instead.)

Republicans

Ted Cruz:

Cruz has not yet released a statement or tweet regarding the decision.

Today’s decision in King v. Burwell is judicial activism, plain and simple. For the second time in just a few years, a handful of unelected judges has rewritten the text of Obamacare in order to impose this failed law on millions of Americans. The first time, the Court ignored federal law and magically transformed a statutory ‘penalty’ into a ‘tax.’ Today, these robed Houdinis transmogrified a ‘federal exchange’ into an exchange ‘established by the State.’

“As Justice Scalia rightfully put it, ‘Words no longer have meaning if an Exchange that is not established by a State is ‘established by the State.” He also said, ‘We should start calling this law SCOTUSCare’ – I agree.

“If this were a bankruptcy case, or any other case of ordinary statutory interpretation, the result would have been 9-0, with the Court unanimously reversing the Obama administration’s illegal actions. But instead, politics intervened.

“For nakedly political reasons, the Supreme Court willfully ignored the words that Congress wrote, and instead read into the law their preferred policy outcome. These judges have joined with President Obama in harming millions of Americans. Unelected judges have once again become legislators, and bad ones at that. They are lawless, and they hide their prevarication in legalese. Our government was designed to be one of laws, not of men, and this transparent distortion is disgraceful.

“At the same time, crocodile tears are flooding our nation’s capital today over the Supreme Court’s decision to illegally rewrite Obamacare, which has been a disaster since its inception. But one day of faux outrage from the Washington Cartel won’t fool the millions of courageous conservatives across our country. They know the Republican leadership in Washington is quietly celebrating the Court’s decision. If they believe this issue is now settled so they don’t have to address it, they are sorely mistaken.

“Every GOP candidate for the Republican nomination should know that this decision makes the 2016 election a referendum on the full repeal of Obamacare.

“I have made repeal of this disastrous law a top priority since the first day I arrived in the Senate and have made its repeal central to my campaign. Any candidate not willing to do the same—and campaign on it every day—should step aside.

“The Court adopted the IRS’s blatantly unlawful reading of the statute to make subsidies available to individuals on federal exchanges, when Congress expressly provided the opposite.

“After today’s ruling, Obamacare will now be responsible for imposing illegal taxes on more than 11 million individuals and for burdening hundreds of thousands of businesses with illegal penalties on their workers, killing jobs, and further slowing economic growth. President Obama’s health care law remains deeply unpopular and is harming countless Americans by increasing costs and worsening the quality of care.

“I remain fully committed to the repeal of Obamacare—every single word of it. And, in 2017, we will do exactly that.”

TL;DR: The Supreme Court erred in their decision today, and Obamacare should be repealed. The Supreme Court illegally rewrote the law. Cruz would repeal Obamacare in 2017 if he is elected president. 

Rand Paul:

"This decision turns both the rule of law and common sense on its head. Obamacare raises taxes, harms patients and doctors, and is the wrong fix for America's health care system.

As President I would make it my mission to repeal it, and propose real solutions for our healthcare system.

As a physician I know Americans need a healthcare system that reconnects patients, families, and doctors, rather than growing government bureaucracy."

TL;DR: The decision goes against common sense, and Obamacare is a bad law for both patients and doctors. If he were president, he'd repeal the law and replace it with something better.

Marco Rubio:

Ben Carson:

Carson has not yet released a statement or tweet regarding the decision.

Carly Fiorina:

It is outrageous that the Supreme Court once again rewrote ObamaCare to save this deeply flawed law despite the plain text and in the face of overwhelming evidence that the law is not working for the majority of Americans.

ObamaCare has not lived up to what we were promised. Instead of more affordable care, premiums are rising. Instead of allowing those with insurance to stay on the plans they knew and liked, millions of people have been compelled to buy health plans that they didn't want. Many have been forced to move to Medicaid and yet more doctors are refusing to take Medicaid patients under this law. We were promised improved access and higher-quality care, but the complexity of ObamaCare is preventing the very competition that would allow more and better options for patients. Instead, hospitals, drug companies, and insurance companies are all consolidating. Instead of reducing the need for emergency care, we’re seeing more ER visits. There are a whole set of problems we’ve created and it has become clear that this law isn’t working.

The lasting solution here is what we've been saying all along. We need to repeal ObamaCare. It hasn't worked. We need to do the one thing we've never tried in our healthcare system—real competition. We know that competition provides lower prices and higher quality. But instead of a free market, healthcare so far has been a regulated oligopoly. We used to regulate insurance companies in all 50 states and now, we’ve nationalized that process. All Americans agreed with President Obama's goals of quality, affordable care, but that is not what we got. And competition doesn’t mean eliminating care for those with preexisting conditions. States should administer high-risk pools for those who have real needs. We’ve seen this in action – New Hampshire was able to administer high-risk pools effectively before Obamacare.

People are frustrated with a political class in Washington more interested in preserving their own power than solving the problems in front of them. Americans want Washington to stand up for them, to step up to the plate and solve the very real problems facing our nation. They want better access and better care – things that we know only come from competition. This doesn't mean we end all regulations on our healthcare industry. But it does mean we find a fair balance that ensures access and quality while ending the grip of crony capitalism on our healthcare market. It’s time for a real solution: repeal Obamacare and let the free market—not more crony capitalism—improve access and care for all Americans.

TL;DR: The ruling was "outrageous," and Obamacare is a flawed law that has seen rising premiums and ER visits contrary to what was promised. The law should be repealed and a free-market approach to health care should be embraced to truly lower costs and improve access to care.

Mike Huckabee:

Today's King v. Burwell decision, which protects and expands ObamaCare, is an out-of-control act of judicial tyranny. Our Founding Fathers didn't create a "do-over" provision in our Constitution that allows unelected, Supreme Court justices the power to circumvent Congress and rewrite bad laws. The Supreme Court cannot legislate from the bench, ignore the Constitution, and pass a multi-trillion dollar "fix" to ObamaCare simply because Congress misread what the states would actually do. The architects and authors of ObamaCare were intentional in the way they wrote the law. The courts have no constitutional authority to rescue Congress from creating bad law. The solution is for Congress to admit they screwed up, repeal the "nightmare of ObamaCare", and let states road-test real health care reforms.

Everywhere I go, I talk to American families who keep getting punched in the gut with outrageous insurance premiums and infuriating hospital bills. ObamaCare was railroaded through Congress to 'solve' our healthcare problems, but five years later, American families are getting railroaded by runaway mandates, big government bureaucracy, and out-of-control healthcare costs. ObamaCare is a $2.2 trillion Washington disaster that raided billions from Medicare and did nothing to fix our broken system of 'sick care,' which rewards irresponsibility and penalizes commonsense. As President, I will protect Medicare, repeal ObamaCare, and pass real reform that will actually lower costs, while focusing on cures and prevention rather than intervention. The status quo is unfair, unaffordable, unsustainable, and completely un-American.

TL;DR: Today's decision was an act of judicial tyranny and was an act of the Supreme Court legislating from the bench to circumvent Congress. American families have seen premiums rise and Obamacare did nothing to fix this. The law should be repealed and replaced with something better.

Rick Santorum:

George Pataki:

Lindsey Graham:

Graham has not yet released a statement or tweet regarding the decision.

This case was brought before the Supreme Court because President Obama and his Democratic allies in Congress rammed through their hastily and deeply flawed legislation to create Obamacare, apparently without even proofreading their own bill. The result has been a disaster from day one. Today’s decision only reinforces why we need a president who will bring about real reform that repeals Obamacare and replaces it with a plan that expands consumer choice, increases coverage, delivers better value for the dollar, and gives states more control, without stifling job creation. As president, this is the kind of reform I would put in place.”

TL;DR: The law is flawed and was rammed through Congress, and was destined to be a disaster. If president, Graham would repeal and replace the law with one that would expand consumer choices.

Rick Perry:

The Obama Administration has ignored the text of the Affordable Care Act time and again, and today’s ruling allows them to continue to disregard the letter of the law. While I disagree with the ruling, it was never up to the Supreme Court to save us from Obamacare. We need leadership in the White House that recognizes the folly of having to pass a bill to know what’s in it. We need leadership that understands a heavy-handed, one-size-fits-all policy does nothing to help health outcomes for Americans.

With individual premiums up more than 50 percent and nearly 5 million people losing their health plans, Americans deserve better than what we’re getting with Obamacare. It’s time we repealed Obamacare and replaced it with truly affordable, patient centered-health care reform, and I look forward to laying out my ideas on this issue.

TL;DR: The current administration is ignoring how the law is written, the ruling is bad, and we need better leadership in Washington to craft laws that actually help Americans with health care costs. The law should be repealed and replaced.

Jeb Bush:

"I am disappointed by today’s Supreme Court ruling in the King v. Burwell case. But this decision is not the end of the fight against Obamacare.

"This fatally-flawed law imposes job-killing mandates, causes spending in Washington to skyrocket by $1.7 trillion, raises taxes by $1 trillion and drives up health care costs. Instead of fixing our health care system, it made the problems worse.

"As President of the United States, I would make fixing our broken health care system one of my top priorities. I will work with Congress to repeal and replace this flawed law with conservative reforms that empower consumers with more choices and control over their health care decisions.

"Here is what I believe: We need to put patients in charge of their own decisions and health care reform should actually lower costs. Entrepreneurs should be freed to lower costs and improve access to care – just like American ingenuity does in other sectors of the economy.

"Americans deserve leadership that can actually fix our broken health care system, and they are certainly not getting it now from Washington, DC.”

TL;DR: Jeb Bush isn't happy with the decision, the law is fatally flawed and driving up healthcare costs. If he's elected, he's going to make fixing the health care system a top priority and put patients in charge of their own decisions.

Donald Trump:

Trump has not yet released a statement or tweet regarding the decision.

Bobby Jindal:

Today, the Supreme Court had its say; soon, the American people will have theirs.

President Obama would like this to be the end of the debate on Obamacare, but it isn’t. The debate will continue because the law has failed to accomplish its prime objective: Containing health care costs.

Republicans must outline a clear and coherent vision for health care to win the trust of the American people to repeal Obamacare. And right now, I am the only candidate to put forward a comprehensive plan.

Now that the Supreme Court has ruled, the debate will grow. Conservatives must be fearless in demanding that our leaders in Washington repeal and replace Obamacare with a plan that will lower health care costs and restore freedom.

TL;DR: Health care costs are out of control in spite of the law, and the fight isn't over. Leaders need to repeal and replace the law to restore freedom.

Scott Walker:

"Today’s Supreme Court ruling upholding the administration’s implementation of ObamaCare means Republicans in the House and Senate must redouble their efforts to repeal and replace this destructive and costly law. From the beginning, it was clear that ObamaCare would fail the American people and this has proven to be true across the country and in Wisconsin. Workers have lost hours because of new costs faced by their employers, people have lost their insurance and cannot afford the dramatic premium and fee increases, and many can no longer see their preferred doctors. Now, instead of just finger-pointing from the president for why his law is failing, we need real leadership in Washington, and Congress needs to repeal and replace ObamaCare."

TL;DR: The fight against Obamacare isn't over yet, and the law is generally having a negative impact on people. Congress should repeal and replace the law.

Chris Christie:

Christie has not yet released a statement or tweet regarding the decision.

Democrats

Hillary Clinton:

Bernie Sanders:

The Supreme Court recognized the common-sense reading of the Affordable Care Act that Congress intended to help all eligible Americans obtain health insurance whether they get it through state or national exchanges. Access to affordable health care should not depend on where you live.

“At a time when the United States in [sic] the only major country on earth that doesn’t guarantee health care to all Americans – and 35 million of our citizens today still lack insurance – it would have been an outrage to throw 6.4 million more people off health insurance.

“What the United States should do is join every other major nation and recognize that health care is a right of citizenship. A Medicare-for-all, single-payer system would provide better care at less cost for more Americans.”

TL;DR: Sanders is happy with the decision and thinks that the United States should implement a single-payer system.

Martin O'Malley:

Lincoln Chafee:

This post will be updated as candidates release statements.