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Statement of Speaker William J. Howell Regarding Today’s Ruling on the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act
RICHMOND, VA – Virginia House of Delegates Speaker William J. Howell (R-Stafford) issued the following statement today following the release of the Supreme Court’s decision upholding the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act:
“I was very disappointed to hear of the Supreme Court’s decision today that the individual mandate and the PPACA at large are constitutional,” said Howell. “Republicans in Virginia have been among the most vocal opponents of President Obama’s healthcare law, which will cost an estimated $1.76 trillion over the next ten years, a truly unaffordable cost with the national deficit already precariously high.”
During the 2010 General Assembly Session, Republicans in Virginia passed House Bill 10, which provided that no citizen of the Commonwealth could be compelled to purchase health insurance. That legislation provided a legal basis for Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli’s lawsuit to stop the PPACA, an effort nearly three years in the making that ends with today’s decision.
“Today’s decision really is a terrible disappointed,” commented Majority Leader M. Kirkland Cox (R – Colonial Heights). “The President’s legislation undermines our economic liberties, increases regulations and notwithstanding its name is anything but affordable.”
The Supreme Court’s 5-4 decision was released this morning and includes a majority opinion written in large part by Chief Justice John Roberts, with Justices Ginsberg, Sotomayor, Kagan and Breyer joining in that opinion. The President’s health care law was upheld under Congress’ taxing power. Justices Thomas, Alito, Scalia and Kennedy joined in a dissenting opinion, which stated in part “[w]hatever may be the conceptual limits upon the Commerce Clause and upon the power to tax and spend, they cannot be such as will enable the Federal Government to regulate all private conduct and to compel the States to function as administrators of federal programs.”
“In addition to the spectacular cost of Obamacare, the legislation created an intrusive regulatory framework that will forever alter the balance of federalism in the United States and substantially undermine the economic privacy of Virginia’s citizens. Work will begin shortly implementing a state-run health benefits exchange in Virginia, as required by the PPACA.
NOTE #1: Richmond TEA Party supporters, along with other freedom groups, worked to pass House Bill 10 in 2010, the bill that Speaker Howell mentioned.
NOTE #2: The Congressional Budget Office originally estimated that ObamaCare would cost approx. $900 billion. The Democrats in 2009-10 knew they could never sell the bill with a price tag of more than $1 trillion. In the past two years, since we have had time to read what’s in the bill–as former Speaker Nancy Pelosi famously reminded us–the CBO has re-estimated the cost at almost twice the original price tag. How could the cost have almost doubled in less than two years without full implementation if the cost wasn’t that high to begin with?