The U.S. Supreme Court’s recent decision declaring the healthcare reform law constitutional, including upholding the individual mandate under Congress’ power to tax, has strengthened the resolve of both those who defend the legislation and those who want to repeal it.
The majority-Republican U.S. House is planning to take a repeal vote on the law on July 11. First District Congressman Tim Scott says he was surprised by the Supreme Court’s decision that upheld a law that Scott says amounts to a government takeover of America’s healthcare industry. “Obamacare takes over a sixth of our economy and it takes over the healthcare decisions for individuals, not empowering individuals. So you have to get rid of the philosophy and the legislation that underlies and strengthens that philosophy.”
Sue Berkowitz of the South Carolina Appleseed Legal Justice Center says labeling the law as a “government takeover” is a gross misinterpretation of the legislation that she says will make health insurance more affordable and accessible. “What it is doing is making sure that the private healthcare insurance market is available to more people in our country and the way it’s being done is through tax credits and tax subsidies for individuals who may not have enough money to be able to reach into their pockets and pay a full premium.”
Berkowitz says the law enables peoples to pay their fair share for health coverage. Under the old system, when a person without insurance was treated in the emergency room, those who could afford to purchase coverage paid for those without the coverage through higher premiums.
Scott told our affiliate WCRS in Greenwood he will vote to repeal the law, which is expected to pass the House. However, such a move will almost certainly be blocked by the Democratic-controlled Senate. “In a positive decision on behalf of the American people, I will vote for repeal,” he said. “It will go to the Senate and it will do what all good legislation does in the U.S. Senate– which is absolutely nothing. So we will be faced with this as an election decision.”
Scott says in order to rid the country of what he calls “Obamacare,” the nation will have to get rid of President Obama by voting him out of office in November.
Berkowitz says a number of provisions of the law will not go into effect until 2014, but thousands in South Carolina are enjoying the benefits of some provisions already in place. Berkowitz says if the law is repealed, those provisions will disappear, many that are having a positive impact on young adults and children. “There will be 50,000 young adults in South carolina who have not been able to afford insurance and have been allowed to stay on their parents’ family coverage who will lose it. Children who have pre-existing conditions and couldn’t be denied private insurance will be able to be denied private insurance again.”
Among the other benefits of the legislation , Berkowitz points out that 53,000 small businesses in the state are eligible for a health insurance tax credit this year.
Anne Eller, affiliate WRCS in Greenwood contributed to this report.