Dec 16, 2018 - Health

What we're watching: Washington reacts to Texas' ACA ruling

Republicans and Democrats took to the Sunday morning talk shows to react to Friday's decision by a federal judge in Texas to throw out key provisions of the Affordable Care Act — a ruling that could make its way to the Supreme Court and ultimately impact millions of Americans.

What they're saying: Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer slammed the conservative judge's decision as "an awful, awful ruling" on NBC's "Meet the Press," claiming that in addition to eliminating protections for pre-existing conditions, it would have far-reaching impacts on funding for opioid treatment, drug prices and women's health issues. Schumer said Democrats would fight the ruling "tooth and nail," and that they would put a vote on the floor "urging an intervention in the case."

  • "A lot of this depends on congressional intent, and if a majority of the House and a majority of the Senate say that this case should be overturned, it will have a tremendous effect on the appeal. So our first stop is the courts."

Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine)

  • Sen. Susan Collins, who voted for the repeal of the ACA's individual mandate as part of the GOP's tax bill, said on CNN's "State of the Union" that she does not agree with President Trump that this is "a great ruling for our country."
  • Collins said she thinks the ruling will be overturned, but explained why she thinks the individual mandate is so unpopular: "80% of the people that paid the [individual mandate] penalty earned under $50,000 a year. ... It's telling that when the tax bill was on the floor, not a single Democratic senator offered an amendment to strike the repeal of the individual mandate."

White House adviser Stephen Miller

  • Senior White House adviser Stephen Miller said on CBS' "Face the Nation" that "we've always known that Obamacare is unconstitutional" and "never worked."
  • Miller said he believes that the Supreme Court will uphold the ruling, and that the "more important question" is whether Democrats will work with Republicans to come up with a replacement that protects pre-existing conditions and keeps prices low.

Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.)

  • Sen. Amy Klobuchar called the ruling "absurd" on CBS' Face the Nation, specifically calling out the Trump administration for its efforts over the past two years to gut the ACA.
  • "You have an administration ... that basically is just standing while the house is burning down, and instead of going in there and putting out the fire, they're throwing lighter fuel on it. ... Justice Roberts and a conservative court has already ruled that the Affordable Care Act is constitutional, unlike what Mr. Miller said."

Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.)

  • Sen. Roy Blunt, appearing on "Meet the Press," was less enthusiastic about the ruling than some of his Republican colleagues: "I'm not in the job of questioning what state attorney generals want to do. ... When you challenge something like the Affordable Care Act, an attorney general in Texas doesn't have the obligation of coming up with what the alternatives are."
  • Pressed by Chuck Todd about Republicans' lack of a coherent solution for health care, Blunt said, "One thing I think that we would be able to unite on is that Medicare for All would wind up meaning Medicare for none."

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