ST. PAUL, Minn. (WCCO/AP) — Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton bet big on the federal health care overhaul, drawing federal money to expand Medicaid early and preparing for the day when the full law takes effect.
The Democratic governor’s wager paid off Thursday when the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the law, putting Minnesota ahead of states that waited to see whether the court would strike it down. The ruling has no practical effect on state efforts to develop an online health insurance marketplace under the law’s parameters or the preparations for a bigger Medicaid expansion in 2014. It also leaves intact Dayton’s 2011 push to extend Medicaid to 84,000 adults with annual incomes below $8,400.
“Today’s ruling will be met with relief by the Minnesotans whose lives have already been improved by this law,” Dayton said in a statement.
Minnesota political leaders on both sides of the federal health care debate reacted quickly and sharply to the Supreme Court’s decision to uphold the Affordable Care Act, which opponents dub “Obamacare.”
Here is a snapshot of the reaction:
Republican John Kline from the 2nd Congressional District said it’s the wrong decision and ultimately devastating to the nation.
“The Supreme Court’s decision is a devastating blow to the American people. If Washington can penalize private citizens for failing to buy government-approved health insurance, then there is no reasonable limit on federal power,” Kline said.
“It is now time for Republicans in Congress to end their vitriolic repeal campaign and work on effectively implementing this law to the benefit of the American people,” said Democrat Betty McCollum from the 4th Congressional District.
Rep. Michele Bachmann is one of the plan’s harshest critics and slammed the ruling, saying it was “schizophrenic” and undermines the Supreme Court’s credibility.
The former presidential candidate and tea party favorite told The Associated Press she thinks the court went out of its way to uphold the law, making it an activist court in her view. Bachmann was in the room when the Supreme Court issued its opinion.
She said the court’s decision to preserve an insurance requirement by calling it a permissible tax went beyond arguments that supporters used to defend the law.
“This undermined the credibility of the Supreme Court first by the court having a schizophrenic view of whether Obamacare is a tax,” she said. “They said it is not a tax for purpose of jurisdiction for hearing the case. Then they said it was a tax for upholding the constitutionality.”
Bachmann says she is “clearly disappointed” with Chief Justice John Roberts. The appointee of former President George W. Bush provided the swing vote in the 5-4 ruling.
Businessman Jim Graves, the Democrat challenging Bachmann’s re-election, argued against dwelling on past battles.
“Unlike my opponent, Michele Bachmann, we are not interested in politicizing issues,” he said. “Rather, we seek to come together as a nation and work towards bipartisan solutions to our challenges.”
Republican Chip Cravaack from the 8th Congressional District said the plan is bad for a majority of America, especially small businesses.
“The Supreme Court ruling means small business owners, doctors, patients and consumers will be forced into a government-run health care system that limits our freedom while driving up costs on all Americans. I don’t have to tell you this is unacceptable and un-American.”
Fmr. MN GOP Sen.: You Won’t Feel Role Of Gov’t In Health Care
So what do you say to all those people who are opposed to the individual mandate?
An often-heard argument against the Affordable Care Act is that it’s an intrusion of government into our lives.
Former Republican U.S. Senator Dave Durenberger has an answer to that:
“You won’t even see the government role,” he said. “I mean, the government role will be all of us who, when healthy and when young and when able are willing to provide some way in which to support the older and the sicker. We’ve done it all our lives. Now we’re going to do it in an improved health system.”
NewsRadio 830 WCCO’s Steve Murphy Reports
Durenberger, who now heads a health policy institute at the University of St Thomas, says that by 2015, Americans will feel the new system is a “heck of a lot better” than the current one — especially if you’re going without health insurance.
A Look At The Federal Health Care Law In Minnesota
Here is a look at where Minnesota stands on implementing President Barack Obama’s federal health care overhaul, which the Supreme Court ruled Thursday can go forward:
Number Of Uninsured: 509,000 state residents are uninsured, or about 9.8 percent.
Where The State Stands: Minnesota has embraced the health care overhaul more than many states. Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton used a provision in the federal law to extend Medicaid coverage to more than 80,000 vulnerable adults as soon as he took office in 2011. His administration has focused on developing an online health insurance marketplace envisioned as a key part of the law, securing $28.4 million from the federal government for Minnesota’s planning efforts.
(TM and © Copyright 2012 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved.This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)