Excerpts from newspapers around the country Friday. The following editorial appeared in the Los Angeles Times:
VINDICATION FOR ‘OBAMACARE’
The Supreme Court’s ruling Thursday upholding President Obama’s health-care reform law wasn’t the sort of ringing pronouncement that helps define the contours of government power and individual rights for decades to come. The justices were sharply divided, and Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr.’s controlling opinion reads like an exercise in splitting the baby. But the end result is one that Americans in general, and Californians in particular, should celebrate. …
The Affordable Care Act provides just a framework for a better healthcare system, not a complete solution, and there’s much work to be done. That work would have been significantly harder, though, had the four conservative dissenters on the court prevailed in their call for tossing the entire act. Granted, a new president and a new Congress could still repeal the law, which will almost certainly play a more prominent role in the November election now that the Supreme Court has let it stand. But unless and until that day comes, policymakers and healthcare leaders should continue to build on the foundation the law created for a more efficient, effective and affordable health-care system focused on keeping people healthy, not treating them when they’re sick.
The following editorial appeared in the Chicago Tribune:
FINANCING MEDICAID’S EXPANSION IN DOUBT
While the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the individual mandate in the Affordable Care Act, it also knocked down a hugely significant provision of the law. Democrats may have been so giddy over what happened Thursday — “John Roberts gave us a break?!” — that the impact of this hasn’t quite sunk in.
The high court said the federal government cannot compel the states to cooperate in a broad expansion of Medicaid. That was anticipated to provide health care for 16 million to 17 million people, half the people who would gain care coverage under the law. …
The enormous cost of this health care expansion, and the failure of its architects to be completely forthcoming about that cost, has been our central complaint about the law.
So Democrats have a lot of work to do. …
The following editorial appeared in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:
SUPREME COURT RULING MEANS A HEALTHIER AMERICA
The details of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision will be parsed and debated for months, probably years. The votes and motives of individual justices, especially the apparent swing vote of Chief Justice John Roberts, will be the favorite subject of talk shows and pundits for weeks. But the bottom line today is this: The essential provisions of the Affordable Care Act stand, and the United States will be healthier for it.
The following editorial appeared in the Seattle Times:
NOW FOCUS ON COVERAGE AND CUTTING COSTS
The U.S. Supreme Court changed the national discussion with its decision to uphold most of the Affordable Care Act. Time and energy spent debating medical-insurance coverage must now focus not only on providing care but also containing costs.
The latter is urgent because soaring health-care costs are the No. 1 threat to economic prosperity and government treasuries. The law did not address enough substantial reforms to rein them in.
Politicians on both sides of the aisle must accept the decision and move ahead. …
The following editorial appeared in the San Jose Mercury News:
SUPREME COURT HEALTH-CARE RULING GIVES HOPE TO MILLIONS
The United States is a step closer to joining the rest of the developed world in making health care accessible to most or all citizens, thanks to Thursday’s welcome ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court. And in writing the opinion, Chief Justice John Roberts took a step toward restoring the integrity of the nation’s highest court, which, until this case, was looking more and more like an arm of the Republican Party. …
The following editorial appeared in the Philadelphia Daily News:
SUPREME COURT SAVES THE DAY — AS WELL AS LIVES
It may not have been his intention — in fact, we’re pretty confident that it wasn’t — but in providing the deciding vote in Thursday’s Supreme Court decision to uphold the Affordable Care Act, Chief Justice John Roberts has saved millions of Americans from dying before their time.
But the legal rationale for the 5-4 decision to uphold the insurance mandate (short version: call it a tax) does not reduce the impression that the conservative justices on the court make their decisions based not on the actual Constitution, but on partisan political ideology. Except this time, Roberts did an end-run: he renamed the mandate a tax. Whatever. We’ll take it. …
The following editorial appeared in the Philadelphia Inquirer:
A SUPREME COURT VICTORY FOR COMMON SENSE
The landmark Supreme Court ruling Thursday upholding key tenets of the federal health-care overhaul was a victory for common sense. It offers hope to so many Americans who thought health insurance was beyond their reach.
Even as both parties jockey for advantage in November, the five justices who upheld the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act pulled the nation back from a disastrous U-turn on reform efforts soon to reach full stride. …
The following editorial appeared in the Raleigh (N.C.) News & Observer:
In the end, it was a defining characteristic of government — the power to tax — that saved the Affordable Care Act’s constitutional bacon in the Supreme Court. That and Chief Justice John Roberts’ disinclination to overturn from the bench the historic votes on the House and Senate floors that extended health insurance coverage to nearly all Americans.
The result was a crucial victory Thursday for a national goal Democrats had pursued for decades. But more than a win for a political party, this was a big step toward the promise of better health care for all of us, even if challenges remain. High and rising health-care costs must be addressed, and kinks in the lengthy Affordable Care Act must be ironed out as they come up. …
The following editorial appeared in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram:
HEALTH-CARE RULING A START, NOT AN END
… Key questions remain about how states like Texas will deal with the law’s expansion of Medicaid, the federal-state partnership to cover medical costs for pregnant women, children, needy families and the elderly and disabled.
Under the act, states must raise their income eligibility limits and cover childless adults to receive increased federal Medicaid funds.
A 7-2 majority of the justices said threatening to cut off all federal funds is like “a gun to the head” rather than constitutionally acceptable pressure to get states to act as Congress wants. That means states can decline to expand but not lose existing funding; most will probably participate, though, given that the federal government will initially cover 100 percent of the cost for new enrollees.
Texas was among the states that sued over Medicaid expansion. And Attorney General Greg Abbott on Thursday was tweeting unhelpful provocations like, “On #ObamaCare, we have only begun to fight. Who’s with me?”
Instead of continuing to pour money into legal bills, Texas should work harder to reduce its number of uninsured residents. Nothing in the law or the Supreme Court’s ruling prevents that.
The following editorial appeared in the Dallas Morning News:
HEALTH CARE RULING AN IRONIC WIN FOR OBAMA
… Texas was among 26 states that joined the National Federation of Independent Business and others in challenging the law’s constitutionality. Roberts’ opinion did soften the penalty against states that opt out of new Medicaid requirements, but Texas would not be wise to take that path.
Unfortunately, the fight to repeal the law will only gain shrill momentum now. House Republicans already have scheduled a doomed vote to overturn it, and Mitt Romney, Obama’s GOP challenger, continues to promise repeal. In polls, Americans still oppose the law, despite favoring some of its planks.
A wiser course would be to accept the court’s ruling and improve the parts of the law involving funding and cost containment. But that would require real leadership, another irony.
— McClatchy-Tribune Information Services
An excerpt from our editorial:
Thursday’s surprise ruling from the Supreme Court upholding the Affordable Care Act keeps the nation’s nascent health-care reforms on track, benefiting 32 million Americans without insurance and improving care for the vast majority with coverage. It also helps crystallize choices for voters in the November election: ex-Gov. Mitt Romney and the Republicans promise to undo “Obamacare”; President Barack Obama and the Democrats aim to see that it delivers on its high promises. Americans, of whatever political leanings, should resist any rewinding of the clock.
— Like it or not, the Affordable Care Act is the law of the land. Learn how it might affect you, when its various provisions take effect (some already have).
— The Editorial Board polled readers on various aspects of the Supreme Court’s Affordable Care Act ruling, from the politics to the ramifications for health-care delivery. What do you think? Take our Affordable Care Act poll.