Alaska’s leaders react to the Health Care decision

The U.S. Supreme Court this morning upheld the Affordable Health Care Act as constitutional.

The controversial individual mandate that required people without health insurance to purchase it or pay a penalty was criticized as unconstitutional, however, the court ruled that such a payment fell under the right of Congress to levy taxes.

Alaska was one of 26 states that filed suit against the act, protesting the individual mandate and the requirement that states expand their Medicaid programs or risk losing Medicaid funding.

The court ruled that the expansion could proceed as long as the federal government does not threaten to withhold states’ entire Medicaid allotment if they don’t take part in the extension.

Gov. Parnell released a statement this morning stating that he remains concerned about the impacts of the federal law on individual and states’ rights.

“On the federal level, it will take congressional action to roll back what now appears to be the single largest tax increase in American history. This tax will not hurt the rich, because they have insurance. It will not hurt the poorest Americans, because it will not apply to them. It is a tax on the working poor and middle class Americans,” Parnell said.

Parnell said the state has begun reviewing the U.S. Supreme Court’s 193 page decision to determine how other provisions, like mandated state Medicaid expansion, have been affected by the U.S. Supreme Court decision.

U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski released a statement labeling the Supreme Court decision “an unprecedented federal overreach, and health care a tax hike in a struggling economy.”

Murkowski’s office posted this video shortly after the ruling was announced.

U.S. Sen. Mark Begich approved of the ruling.

“I’m pleased Alaskans will continue to receive important benefits such as coverage for young adults through their parents’ insurance, access to care for individuals with pre-existing conditions, tax credits for small businesses, increased services for our seniors, improved coverage for Alaska Natives, and even cash rebates if insurers don’t spend your premiums on health care.

“While the law is not perfect, the status quo was not an option,” Begich said in a news release. “Health care costs were skyrocketing and insurance companies were in charge of escalating those costs. There is still plenty of work to do, and I look forward to the State of Alaska moving forward on implementation.”

Representative Don Young is urging a repeal of the law.

“Today’s decision by the Supreme Court does not change the fact that ObamaCare sticks the American people with new taxes, new regulations and devastating cuts to Medicare.

“We must repeal and replace this law with a bill that increases accessibility, portability and affordability for the American people – and that’s what I intend on fighting for.”

Note: This story has been updated to include Representative Don Young’s response.