The Supreme Court Ruling: WGBH Analysis

June 28, 2012

obama signs health care bill

President Obama signs the health care bill into law at the White House on March 23, 2010. (J. Scott Applewhite/AP)

BOSTON — The Supreme Court has upheld the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act. Here's some of the analysis airing on WGBH radio and television.

> > Complete WGBH coverage of the decision

Michael Dukakis, former governor of Massachusetts:
"We're finally going to, I hope, move ahead with decent, affordable health care, especially for working families in this country — unless of course Mitt Romney, who's done his 125th 180 — in this case on health care — gets elected! If he does, then forget it." Listen to Bob Seay's interview with Dukakis on Morning Edition on June 29.

Gruber, Healey, David Kravitz of Blue Mass Group and Tufts professor Dr. Harry Selker talk with Emily Rooney (51 min.)

Jonathan Gruber, MIT economics professor who helped write Massachusetts' health care law, on the significance of upholding the individual mandate:
"The most popular and important part of the law is ending discrimination by insurance companies. No longer allowing insurance companies to deny people insurance or charge them more for insurance just because they're sick. You can't do that piece without the mandate."

Kerry Healey, Mitt Romney's lieutenant governor, on negative public opinion of the act:
"I just think the voters aren't stupid … there's nothing free coming from the government. Someone is paying for it, and that's the taxpayers."

Andrew Dreyfus, President and CEO of Blue Cross Blue Shield Massachusetts: 
"I think today's Supreme Court ruling really validates almost a decade's worth of work here in Massachusetts to expand health care for everyone in the country and now all Americans are going to have the same health care benefits and protections that people in Massachusetts have enjoyed for years. So we're excited about the ruling and supportive of it. … Not knowing how the Supreme Court was going to rule created a lot of uncertainty for employers, for health plans like ours, for hospitals and physicians because we really didn't know what the rules were. Now we have a clear message."

Renée Landers, professor at Suffolk Law:
"One of the unanswered questions ... is the extent to which the court has really imposed some greater restrictions on Congress using the power of the Commerce clause to legislate." Landers talks with Bob Seay on Morning Edition on June 29.

Dr. Paula Johnson, chair of the Boston Public Health Commission board, on why the federal law matters here:
"Through the Affordable Care Act we've seen elders getting rebate checks [and] physicians being able to get higher reimbursement rates for primary care ... We've had all the public health dollars that have come into our state ... so it absolutely has been a plus for Massachusetts."

Dr. Vivek Murthy of Brigham and Women's, president of Doctors for America:  
"I think this is a victory for the country, for patients, and it’s also a victory for providers like me who see patients everyday and who realize that many of our patients aren’t getting what they need because they are in a broken system. And this law being upheld gives me hope that we can now have a real shot at fixing the broken system. ...

"In this law, there are a number of provisions including wanting to set up health insurance exchanges like what we have here in Massachusetts which will place downward pressure on premiums because it will promote transparency in terms of pricing and information and also create more competition among insurance companies so that patients have more choice." 

Elizabeth Warren, Democratic U.S. Senate candidate:
"This is really about bringing health care into families in a way that works and starting down the line of trying to bring costs under control. … I think the Democrats are saying we've helped solve a problem. It may not be perfect but we have sure moved in the direction of getting it a lot better."

Arnesen, Whitcomb and Brian Rosman of Health Care for All discuss implications with Callie Crossley (53 min.)

Arnie Arnesen, N.H.–based political commentator:
"This was just an amazing piece of ballet on the part of the chief justice. It was genius. I wish I could have choreographed it."
Robert Whitcomb, editorial page editor of The Providence Journal:
"This is going to enrage people on the right — and they're going to pump vast quantities, even more money, into Romney's campaign."

U.S. Sen. Scott Brown, in a statement:
"The federal health care law may be constitutional, but it is wrong for jobs and the economy. In Massachusetts, we had already dealt responsibly with the problem of our uninsured without raising taxes or cutting care to our seniors. All we got out of this massive new federal entitlement is higher taxes, cuts in Medicare and additional debt at a time when we can least afford it. The bottom line for me is this law makes it harder for our economy to add jobs and for that reason I continue to oppose it.”

Kerry Healey for the red and David Kravitz for the blue discuss the ruling's political implications on Greater Boston

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