The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

Local News

June 29, 2012

Healthcare law holds, citizens give mixed reactions

CLINTON — Mixed reactions to the Supreme Court ruling to uphold the 2010 Affordable Care Act buzzed throughout the country on Thursday and Clinton was no exception. 

Clintonians filled the spectrum from passionate believers to indifferent observers to worried skeptics.

Related: A look at the ruling upholding Obamacare

Robert Peterson, a 68-year-old veteran from Clinton said he thinks the health care law is a good idea.

“It’s way past due. I’m in full agreement,” he said. “There’s so many people that can’t afford healthcare. With everyone contributing it will lower costs.”

The Supreme Court upheld the entire law, including the highly contested individual mandate, which requires all individuals to have health insurance or face a fine. 

Chief Justice John Roberts said the mandate was constitutional by calling it a tax, which the government is allowed to enforce.

U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, said he respected the justices’ decision, but condemned the mandate explanation.

“The individual mandate hasn’t changed whether you call it a mandate or a tax,” he said during a call with reporters Thursday. “This is the one of the biggest taxes ever.”

In addition to the individual mandate, the law also stipulates coverage cannot be denied to anyone based on a pre-existing condition.

Related: Winners and losers in high court health law ruling

Laurie Fay, 46, of Clinton has a daughter with a pre-existing condition. Fay said she thinks the law is great.

“I think it’s a good thing. Especially since now I have a chance at healthcare,” she said.

U.S. Senator Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, called for Republicans to work with Democrats on the law following the court’s decision.

“The Supreme Court has made it clear what we have known all along: that those trying to block health care reform are on the wrong side,” Harkin said.

Most of the law does not go into effect until 2014.

Nicole Schimerowski, 19, of Clinton, said she didn’t follow the law very closely.  

“I don’t really know much about it, but I was never one who was against it. I guess I’m happy it was upheld,” she said.

In addition to excitement and indifference, Clinton residents also showed concern for how the law would be administered.

Arnie Shroeder and his wife, Marna, of Clinton, said they are tired of seeing their health care premiums rise, but Arnie was not convinced Obama would extend healthcare only to U.S. citizens.  

“Obama wants to make it mandatory. On the one hand, it’s a good thing. But in light of other things, I’m worried this is another perk Obama will offer to illegal immigrants,” he said.

The battle over the health care law is far from over. With the presidential election looming in November, many elected officials agree the conversation will continue to develop.

While Iowa’s Democratic Congressmen, including U.S. Rep. Dave Loebsack, applauded the ruling, they also agreed to work to improve the law.

“Today’s decision will bring stability to Iowans as they make critical health care choices for themselves and their families,” Loebsack said in a written statement. “As we move forward, the bill is not perfect and I will continue to work with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle.”

Congressman Bruce Braley agreed.

“The Supreme Court got it right today. This decision is good news for the middle class and affordable healthcare,” Braley said. “It’s not a perfect law. That’s why I’ll be working to bring Republicans and Democrats together to improve it and make it better.”

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