Recent Obamacare ruling by High Court spells ongoing controversy

Much to their chagrine, the Affordable Care Act – most commonly known as Obamacare — has withstood another repeal attempt in the U.S. House and Senate and Republicans are worried about what they see as the ever-growing size of the federal government.

Their concern is based in part on the fact that the U.S. Supreme Court’s Obamacare ruling on June 25 now lets states continue to use the federal system for enrolling people in health insurance rather than run independent marketplaces that would preserve subsidies for their residents.

The ruling specifically allows health insurance consumers to receive equal access to federal subsidies – no matter what each state’s role is in running its insurance market – and the Internal Revenue Service now may issue subsidies on behalf of consumers who bought a plan through the HealthCare.Gov site.

Several GOP lawmakers worry what the High Court’s ruling might mean for their states.

Rep. Lynn Jenkins, R-Kan., for instance, slammed the court’s ruling during a recent press conference.

“This disappointing decision does not change the hardships that folks around Kansas and across the nation are facing as they continue to deal with the uncertainty and failed promises of the president’s broken healthcare law,” Jenkins said.

Calling the law “fundamentally flawed,” Jenkins said it remains just as burdensome, confusing, and expensive “as the day it came into existence.” She seeks to implement better healthcare solutions that lower costs and empower patients to choose whatever care is right for them.

In his state, Rep. Mike Kelly, R-Pa., said the healthcare law has proven to be “unaffordable for millions of Americans, including thousands in Western Pennsylvania.”

Kelly also says that the law is forcing premiums and deductibles to rise, while the quality of medical care and innovation drops.

“It is hurting our economy and stifling job creation. No court ruling can change this reality,” Kelly said. “Unlike Obamacare, real health care reform must be carefully crafted with honesty, transparency, and a firm focus on helping people, not growing government.”

Likewise, Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen, R-N.J., agreed that Obamacare has created larger insurance companies and hospital systems and “done damage to the critical doctor-patient relationship.”

At the same time, he also thinks that Obamacare “has driven up healthcare costs for millions of American families — higher premiums, skyrocketing deductibles and elevated co-pays.”

The Supreme Court’s 6-3 decision, Frelinghuysen adds, “only highlights the need to repeal and replace this broken system with one that protects seniors, middle-income families and small business owners.”

As part of that larger effort, the U.S. House of Representatives has passed the Protecting Seniors’ Access to Medicare Act of 2015 (H.R. 1190), a bill that would repeal Obamacare’s Independent Payment Advisory Board, or IPAB.

Under Obamacare currently, the IPAB has the power to deny care to seniors by deciding unilaterally what specific care will be paid for, Frelinghuysen says. Instead, he thinks patients, families, and doctors should make their own medical decisions, “not some Washington-based board of unelected, unaccountable bureaucrats.”

On June 24, the bill was received in the Senate, where members referred it to the Finance Committee.