SPRINGFIELD — The U.S. Supreme Court’s decision today upholding the federal health care law drw mixed reactions from interest groups in Illinois.

By Andrew Thomason

SPRINGFIELD — The U.S. Supreme Court’s decision today upholding the federal health care law drw mixed reactions from interest groups in Illinois.

The most controversial part of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, the requirement for everyone to have health insurance, was upheld by the court. The majority opinion in the 5-4 decision, written by Chief Justice John Roberts said that while the government couldn’t use the commerce clause to require people to pay for health insurance, that it was within the government’s powers to impose a tax.

“Today’s Supreme Court decision helps to strengthen our nation’s tattered social fabric and provides hope that constitutional law and democracy matters,” Jim Duffett, executive director of the Campaign for Better Health Care, which advocates for more accessible, cheaper health care, said. “People will start to see health-care costs stabilized.”

Mary Jane Wurth, president of the Illinois Hospital Association, applauded the ruling. “Illinois hospitals have long supported the expansion of coverage for the uninsured and reforms to eliminate exclusions for pre-existing conditions and coverage caps to improve the health and well-being of Illinoisans,” Wurth said in a statement.

John Tillman, executive director of the Illinois Policy Institute, a right-leaning think tank, disagreed, saying the Affordable Care Act will strain the health-care system as the federal government struggles to come up with the money to pay for it. Tillman said the law as is will force “children with throat cancer or other serious conditions to compete with even more people for fewer and fewer doctors.”

The court narrowed the part of the law that would greatly expand Medicaid, the state-federal health care program. The Obama administration had threatened to take away Medicaid funding if states didn’t expand their Medicaid rolls by opening the program to more people.

The court stated that essentially states can opt to not expand Medicaid without the risk of losing federal dollars they are already getting, only new dollars promised under the expansion.

In Washington, U.S. Rep. Jan Schakowsky of Evanston hailed the court’s decision.

Schakowsky said, “The law ends insurance industry abuses in the health system, improves Medicare and Medicaid for seniors and the disabled, and covers millions of uninsured Americans.”

She called on Republicans “to finally put to rest the relentless, partisan attacks against a landmark law that is already working to provide affordable, high-quality care.”  

Many on the right opposed to the law are still pushing for a full repeal.

“The Supreme Court’s decision to uphold ObamaCare – and specifically the individual mandate – was a severe blow to restoring Constitutional limits on federal power,” Tillman said. “Congress must repeal all of ObamaCare and replace it with reforms that put patients first.”

Even if the law survives additional attacks, Thursday’s ruling was only the start.

“It is impossible to enact the act as written,” Robert Slayton, president of the Illinois State Association of Health Underwriters, which lobbies on behalf of health insurers, said. Congress “will spend the next 10 years modifying the act to make it work the way it needs to work.”

Join the Conversation


  1. ACA

    The "fun" is just starting. The 2400(?) pages of ACA have yet to be written into legalese, and as Pelosi said: You must pass the bill to find out what is in it."

    1. ACA

      Vito, are you another one of those people who doesn't want the Federal Government getting involved with your Medicare?

      Also..someone on another website commented on how now that the Supreme Court ruled in favor of the law, and people start realizing all of the benefits of the law, the right-wingers are no longer calling it 'Obamacare' but are using the bill's (partial) legal name:  the Affordable Care Act.

      See this interview with former Senator Bob Bennett (R-Utah):

      “I don’t want that to be misinterpreted as I’m now a backer of Obamacare, as I’m not — or the Affordable Care Act, to use the correct title,” Bennett said. “I still think it’s a bad piece of legislation. Its financial structure doesn’t hold up at all. It’s paid for with smoke and mirrors that are simply not gonna work.”

      We'll see about the smoke and mirrors.  Of course, Reaganomics and the Laffer Curve are 'smoke and mirrors', but the Republicans never complain about that.

      The fact is, the Republicans have no serious alternative to Obamacare.  "Repeal it and replace it"  or "Repeal and start over" is all they say.  Replace with what?

      1. ACA is a “win”

        Dr Who Knows What?

        The government is already involved with my medicare. So involved that many doctors refuse to accept Medicare patients

        SCOTUS first discussed the incorrect application of the Commerce Clause (eviscerating use of that in the future) and everyone jumped — to assume is to blunder.

        There are 400 issues in ACA that are not resolved:

        • healthcare providers for 30 to 40 million new insured to be added
        • cost containment
        • the delivery of health care is not changed
        • ill people are astute shoppers of care
        • the risk pool may be primarily those and not the young and healthy whose tax alternative is less and they know they have no denial of insurance if they need care
        • risk pools are only intrastate and not across state lines limiting risk pool benefits
        • most large companies are self insured, insurance companies just handle billing for them
        • people may be forced to the exchanges if companies determine that dropping  employee health insurance as a benefit is a cost save and exchanges are an alternative
        • the 1% will be unaffected, it is the middle class who will bear the tax burden  (oops)
        • cost effectiveness panels
        • cost effective years of life to justify procedures
        • etc

        Cost saves will only come about by denial of care.

        A real victory for social justice!

  2. Schakowsky said, “The law

    Schakowsky said, "The law ends insurance industry abuses in the health system, improves Medicare and Medicaid for seniors and the disabled, and covers millions of uninsured Americans."

    She called on Republicans "to finally put to rest the relentless, partisan attacks against a landmark law that is already working to provide affordable, high-quality care." 

    I join the many people who see time after time that Schakowsky doesn't have the slightest idea what she said. If asked to repeat what she said, she would probably say, bla bla bla bla, blabbidy boo.

    After seeing this woman speak many times, you just know that she doesn't have a clue.

  3. Now it is a tax

    Remember Obama pledged no new taxes for those under $250,000. The only way the Court could let the Care bill pass was to recognize it WAS a TAX because the Commerce Clause of the Constitution [which Obama used to justify it] would not allow it.

    1. So what?

      Yes…Roberts says it is a tax.  So what?

      Most   (all?) of the people who are whining about this 'tax' or 'penalty' are not actually paying it.  If you already have insurance , you won't pay anything.  If you don't have insurance now, and get some, you won't pay the 'tax'.  The only people who will pay it are the freeloaders who show up in hospitals without insurance.

      Why are Republicans so interested in letting freeloaders get a free ride?

      Anyway, even if the 'tax' or 'penalty' were eliminated, and the mandate removed…that would hardly justify the Minority opinion's wish to repeal the whole law.   The Supreme Court routinely finds passages or sections of large laws – like omnibus budget bills – to be unconstitutional without tossing out the whole bill.  Yet for some strange reason, the radical Gang of Four wanted to gut the whole Affordable Care Act.

      We have a radical right-wing group in the Supreme Court that wants to ignore all ideas of judicial precedent in order to advance their crazy right-wing agenda.

      1. thank you

        Seriously people.  This is the Heritage Foundaiton plan.  More conservative than what Nixon tried to pass.  If it is Socialist then . . well, I don;t know what.  Welcome to the 20th century of responsibility for medical expenses, USA.  Every other industrialized, economically-developed country has been doing something like this for a hundred years.  I think the Republic will survive.

        1. Democrats will pay the piper for their reckless fiscal policies

          Are you paying attention to what's going on in Greece and Europe?

          America has the best medical technology and expertise in the world. Ever wonder why?

          Obamacare is a massive government entitlement program that ALREADY has caused healthcare expenses to rise. Illinois can't even afford the current Medicaid costs so why do Democrats think it can handle more Medicaid patients?

          Ever wonder why Medicaid and Medicare patients have a hard time finding doctors to treat them? Because these government healthcare programs pay nothing and the state takes about a year to pay the bills.

          And we now want the federal government to handle ALL of our healthcare? No thanks.

          The Democrats sold us Obamacare on a lie that the penalty for getting government-approved insurance is not a tax but we now know it is (Obama's lawyers argued to the Supreme Court that it was a tax but ssshhhhh, quiet, don't tell anyone).

          Ever wonder why Democrat candidates NEVER campaign on Obamacare? (About a dozen Democrat candidates are not going to the Democratic convention) I don't see Obama on the campaign trail bragging about it either. He wants us to move on but most Americans now want him to move out.

          What the Democrats basically did was give Americans the largest tax raise in the nation's history and did it during a Recession. The Democrats passed Obamacare without reading or debating the monstrous bill

          Obamacare is a Frankenstein monster that was unleashed during the second worst economic environment in this nation's history.  Pro-government union crony, Democrat Jan Schakowsky's felonious husband, Robert Creamer, wrote the book on Obamacare.

          Schakowsky is on record saying she wants private healthcare companies to go out of business despite the fact that five of the top 10 Illinois businesses are in the healthcare industry. Schakowsky's protege, Robyn Gabel, voted to raise the state's income tax a whopping 67 percent in a lame-duck session.

          Right now the U.S. debt is $16 trillion and each citizen owes $50,000 and going up as I write this. Illinois' debt is $180 billion with revenue at $105 billion and spending at $127 billion. There are 1.8 million people in Illinois collecting food stamps in a state with the worst fiscal condition in the nation. Go to and weep for yourself.

          Look at what our neighbors to the north and east are doing. Indiana and Wisconsin under fiscal conservative leadership not only have a balanced budget but a SURPLUS!!! 

          The Democrats will deservedly pay dearly Nov. 6.

          1. Creamer on healthcare

            Obamacare is a Frankenstein monster that was unleashed during the second worst economic environment in this nation's history.  Pro-government union crony, Democrat Jan Schakowsky's felonious husband, Robert Creamer, wrote the book on Obamacare.

            Don't be silly, Al.  Robert Creamer certainly did not 'write the book' on Obamacare.  In fact, Creamer had called for a public option or single payer system – neither of which is in 'Obamacare'.

            If anyone deserves credit for the most contentious feature of 'Obamacare' – the individual mandate – it is the guy who said:

            "Some of my libertarian friends balk at an individual mandate. But is it libertarian to insist that government pick up the tab for those without insurance or means to pay? An uninsured libertarian might counter that he could refuse the free care, but under law, that is impossible — and inhumane."   —  Willard Mittens Romney



        2. Trouble

          Yes, and everyone of those industrialized countries either has crappy healthcare or is about to collaspe under the weight of their socialize policies. Your right, our current government in Washington is working to make us part of this disaster.

          1. have you ever lived abroad?

            just asking.  I have.  The health care in Canada is not crappy (from a consumer's perspective) and most economically advanced democracies have better health outcomes than we do (lower infant mortality rate, lower cancer rates, lower chronic disease rates — asthma, diabetes).  Check WHO.


            (US maternal mortality rate per 100,000 live births = 24.  Greece =2.   Canada = 12.  Every country in Western Europe is in the single digits)  You should also check teen pregnancy rate — EVERY country in Eastern and Western Europe has lower rates than the US — except Turkey.  Prevelance of HIV — same stuff.  And how do we get these awesome stats?  by spending 15% of GDP on health care.  About double what Switzerland spends).

            Also, you get to keep whatever health insurance you want.  Why would you deny "crappy" care (that, I repeat — you will NOT have to participate in if you don't want to) to someone who otherwise has none?  You want them going to the emergency room when they are really sick?  Because guess what?  you pay for that too.  In taxes (for non profit hospitals) and in your insurance premiums (for profit hospitals).  

            You are paying for these folks EITHER WAY.  Why do you think they should go on paying nothing into the system?  At least this way, the "deadbeats" will be paying into the system (via the "tax" that you will NOT be paying if you have health insurance) that is going to take care of them anyway when they show up at the ER bleeding profusely, dying of cancer or whatever.  

            The bill requires a free market of insurance products that is transparent and accessible.  We don't markets anymore?  If you think the health insurance industry is a "free market" look at your last hospital bill — it is a racket.  Competition in the market should help clear that up, no?  



          2. Imaginary Europe

            My guess is that OneSmartGuy [sic!] has never been to Europe, and he is probably among the majority of Americans who don't even have a passport.

            Krugman has discussed the "GOP's Imaginary Europe" : 

            "But then, American conservatives have long had their own private Europe of the imagination — a place of economic stagnation and terrible health care, a collapsing society groaning under the weight of Big Government. The fact that Europe isn't actually like that — did you know that adults in their prime working years are more likely to be employed in Europe than they are in the United States? — hasn't deterred them. So we shouldn't be surprised by similar tall tales about European debt problems."

             In this Imaginary Europe (and Imaginary Canada too), there are long waits for doctors, substandard hospitals, and Socialist Death Panels deciding who gets to live.  People actually have to wait when they go to the Emergency Room (something that never happens at Evanston Hospital!), and sometimes people actually die in the hospital.

            Of course,  most people who are knowledgeable about  overseas healthcare know that many European countries ( Switzerland and Germany come to mind immediately) have universal coverage with hospitals and doctors that are comparable – if not better – than what most Americans have.  And they accomplish this with spending a lot less money – so that means that they can afford other things – like better schools, better public transportation, or even lower taxes.


          3. Other countries’ healthcare

            Dear Me Again:

            If you look a little deeper, you will find that the "health care systems" of many of these countries have a few problems (not that ours is perfect):

            • infant mortality: infants less than one year old are not counted in many countries
            • Why do Canadians come here for health care?
            • Ever look at the waiting times for procedures? Canadians sued their government health system to have procedures in the US — the wait times were ruled "denial".
            • Ever probe the "cost effectiveness" criteria? We lost a friend in Britain because, at his age, he was put at the bottom of the que for heart surgery.
            • Speaking of Britain: the biggest job perk in Britian is private health care.

            There is plenty that could be done here, but the 2700 page ACA is a mess and a sop to the insurance industry, i.e. no insurance sold across state lines.

            Take another hopium.


      2. Partisan gridlock

        Seems like simple minded partisans, like those who think only the other side of the court has a liberal or conservative agenda, are the primary reason we have so much political gridlock in this country.  What I can't figure out is if blind partisanship is just really hypocritical or evidence of a lack of intelligence.  What do you think?

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