Iowa lawmakers react to SCOTUS upholding health reform - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Iowa lawmakers react to SCOTUS upholding health reform

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WATERLOO (KWWL) -

"We really can't afford this... It's unaffordable, it's unsustainable, and it's going to drive up health care costs and taxes.  And I think it's critically important that we elect a new president, and new leadership in the Congress, that's going to repeal this."

Those were Governor Terry Branstad's remarks after the U.S. Supreme Court upheld President Obama's signature health care reform law.  In a 5-4 decision, the court ruled the most controversial part of the law, that will require Americans to buy insurance, is legal and constitutional. 

Chief Justice John Roberts broke with fellow conservatives, joining liberal justices to declare the "individual mandate" constitutional.  President Obama says the ruling should mean moving forward with implementing his healthcare law.

"If you're one of 30 million Americans who don't yet have health insurance -- starting in 2014 this law will offer you an array of quality affordable private health care plans to choose from.  Each state will take the lead in designing their own menu of options and if states can come up with even better ways of covering more with same quality and cost, this law allows them to do that too," Obama said.

Iowa lawmakers have been chiming in about the high court's ruling.

Right now, some 366,000 Iowans don't have insurance.  But soon, many of them will get it, now that the Supreme Court's ruled the Affordable Care Act is constitutional.  Democrats say it's time to quit fighting and ensure the law works.

"I've often said the Affordable Care Act is not like the 10 Commandments chiseled into stone.  It's like a started home, suitable for improvements.  So I call on Republicans to join us in making sensible refinements as we continue to implement them into law," said Senator Tom Harkin, (D) Iowa.

But Republicans don't seem willing to compromise, as many renew the call for Congress to repeal it.

"The President sold this to the American people based on the fact this was not a tax increase.  So it was sold under false pretenses.  The American people, particularly the middle class, is going to be paying for, or subject to, a big tax increase," said Senator Chuck Grassley, (R) Iowa.

So you can bet the health care debate is far from over.  In this presidential election year, President Obama and Mitt Romney will go toe-to-toe about how the country should move forward.

"Republicans, and you're already starting to see this, are saying this is even more reason why we need to elect Mitt Romney as president because of this ruling:  The courts weren't able to overturn this, so we need a president who will.  For Democrats, they have to be a little bit careful on how much they play this up, but they can make the argument that this is now a legitimate decision," said Chris Larimer, UNI Political Science professor.

So the Supreme Court likely won't have the final say.  Voters will come November.

Right now, Iowa does not have a law establishing on online health insurance exchange, which the healthcare law requires.  Previously, Governor Branstad has said he would create such an exchange if the law was upheld.

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