OPINION COLUMNS

Politicians quick to react to health care ruling

By Brian Knox | Published Saturday, June 30, 2012

We had a historic Supreme Court ruling Thursday regarding the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (also known as Obamacare by many).

How do I know? Because my emails told me so.

My inbox runneth over Thursday with everyone (it seemed like) issuing “statements” giving their thoughts on the ruling, which upheld the constitutionality of the act – most of it anyway.

Brian Knox

Brian Knox

At last count, I had received 14 different emails with an “official” comment.

The following are a few highlights:

Governor Rick Perry seemed to take a physical approach, saying the ruling “will be a stomach punch to the American economy” and later in the statement saying, “Freedom was frontally attacked by passage of this monstrosity.” He also claimed the Supreme Court “has abandoned us.”

It was no surprise that those running for office were quick to jump into the commenting circle, using the occasion to stir up support of their conservative base. Our state representative, Phil King, said, “America took a tragic step toward socialism today,” and he encouraged voters to elect “dedicated conservatives at all levels: local, state and federal.”

Congresswoman Kay Granger expressed her disappointment but was already looking forward in her statement, saying that it was now up to Congress to repeal the health care law “and start over with health care reform that puts patient care back in the hands of health care professionals – not in the halls of Washington – keeping solutions that are most important to people such as guaranteeing coverage for pre-existing conditions, allowing children to stay on their parent’s insurance until age 26, and eliminating lifetime dollar limits on insurance coverage.”

Interestingly, I received an emailed survey Granger sent out to her constituents earlier this month where she was seeking feedback on the issue. Apparently the “solutions” she mentioned received a positive response from those who filled out the survey.

U.S. Senate candidate Ted Cruz said, “This is a sad day for liberty.” He said SCOTUS has “abdicated its responsibility to safeguard the Constitution, and it has rewritten Obamacare in an ill-advised attempt to save it.” His solution was, of course, to vote him and other Tea Party candidates into office: “Five federal judges have had their say. Now it’s the American people’s turn.”

But while Cruz saw it as a sad day for liberty, Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott apparently saw it differently, saying, “This is an historic victory for individual liberty, states’ rights and limited government.” He explained that the ruling “dismantled the centerpiece of ObamaCare – the federal government’s authority to compel Americans to purchase a product.” He added that “the court also agreed that states are individual sovereigns that cannot be commandeered by the federal government.”

I thought it was a very reasoned and well-explained statement that looked at the heart of the issue – the law – rather than trying to play on emotion. Which was why I was a bit disappointed when his last paragraph compared Obamacare to being “on life support – and we will continue our work to pull the plug on this unworkable and unpopular law.”

Interestingly, I received an “updated” statement a few hours later from the AG’s office. In that statement, both the “historic victory for individual liberty” and the “life support” statements were no longer included.

Texas Comptroller Susan Combs called the act “an attack on personal liberty” and invoked the name of Ronald Reagan in her statement when she said the law reminds her of Reagan’s warning when he said, “Government’s view of the economy could be summed up in a few short phrases: If it moves, tax it. If it keeps moving, regulate it. And if it stops, subsidize it.”

So we know what Republicans thought about the ruling. But what about the Democrats? The Texas Democratic Party sent out a statement calling the court’s decision “a victory for Texans.”

“Women can celebrate that their gender is no longer considered a pre-existing condition. Texans can have the peace of mind that they won’t be shoved off their policies when they need it most,” the statement read in part.

Now that we know what the politicians think about the issue, we want to hear your “official statements” on the ruling. You can leave comments on this column online, email news@wcmessenger.com or fill out a letter to the editor online at www.WCMessenger.com under the “submit news” option.

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