The decision Thursday by the U.S. Supreme Court to protect subsidies paid under the Affordable Care Act drew a range of responses that fell largely along party lines in Wisconsin.
The ruling means residents of states that operate under the federal health care exchange system can continue to collect subsides to pay for their care. Had the court struck down that portion of the law, advocates worried that up to 184,000 Wisconsin residents could have lost their ability to pay for health care coverage.
In a statement, Governor Scott Walker said the ruling demonstrated the need for Republicans in Congress to “redouble their efforts to repeal and replace this destructive and costly law.” Walker, who turned down federal funding to create a state-based exchange, said “workers have lost hours because of new costs faced by their employers, people have lost their insurance and cannot afford the dramatic premium and fee increases, and many can no longer see their preferred doctors.”
Several Republican lawmakers in the state joined the governor in calling for continued efforts to repeal ObamaCare. Assembly Speaker Robin Vos (R-Rochester) said the decision “doesn’t lessen the fact that ObamaCare is wrong for America and wrong for Wisconsin,” and called for returning medical care decision back to individuals and their families. U.S. Rep. Glenn Grothman (R-WI) called it “frustrating that once again the Supreme Court has disregarded Congressional intent” with its decision. U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) said the ruling “upholds legislation that was falsely marketed and forced through Congress in a completely partisan fashion and that has harmed millions of Americans.”
The decision drew praise from many Democrats. State Sen. Jon Erpenbach (D-Middleton) said “we can rest easy that even though Governor Walker and the Republican Legislature has set up roadblocks for Wisconsin families desperate for health insurance coverage, the law of the land has prevailed,” while U.S. Rep Ron Kind (D-WI) wrote “even with this decision there is still work to be done.”
Health care advocates also breathed a sigh of relief following the ruling. Robert Kraig with Citizen Action of Wisconsin said the state “dodged a bullet” with the decision, which “ensures that access to health coverage will continue for tens of thousands of Wisconsinites whose freedom was put needlessly at risk.” Wisconsin Hospital Association President Eric Borgerding said the ruling helped avoid a situation where thousands could have lost premium assistance. Borgerding said “the disruption to our health care system and broader insurance markets would have been substantial.”