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Ohio's State, Federal Lawmakers React To Supreme Court Decision

Thousands of Ohio residents using subsidies to pay for federally-mandated health insurance could lose that funding.
Flickr/Creative Commons

The Supreme Court ruled 6-3 Thursday to uphold subsidies under the Affordable Care Act. That means about 160,000 Ohioans will be able to keep getting money to help them pay for their individual health insurance plans on federal exchanges.

For health insurance companies like CareSource, the news was good.

“When folks have been able to afford insurance, they are now seeking care for things they put off for 5, 10, 20 years, and we’re changing lives with the Affordable Care Act,” CareSource Ohio Market President Steve Ringel said.  

But for others it wasn’t that simple.

Ohio Gov. John Kasich’s office expressed disappointed in the ruling. In a written statement attributed to Kasich’s Press Secretary Rob Nichols, the governor’s office said the law should be “repealed and replaced with a program that relies on market-based solutions overseen by states.”

At question was language in the health reform law that left open whether the federal government could provide subsidies in 34 states, including Ohio.

The conservative Buckeye Institute’s Greg Lawson said the subsidies mean taxpayers are burdened with paying for other people’s health insurance. The average monthly premium for Ohioans who get a subsidy is about $150, compared to nearly $400 for those without.

Within minutes of the decision, Northeast Ohio Democrats Tim Ryan, Marcy Kaptur and Marcia Fudge sent releases calling it great news for millions of Americans – and tens of thousands of Ohioans. 
Ryan vowed “to continue working to improve and expand this law, which gives so many the care they need and so deeply deserve.” 

Republican Sen. Rob Portman told reporters the decision – like the entire Affordable Care Act – fails to address key concerns, including cost controls. He, too, is talking about changes, including limiting malpractice lawsuits.  

“There are a number of things that can and should be done to allow people to have healthcare in a more affordable way," he said. "And that’s what we should focus on.”

Republican Congressman Bob Gibbs went further, saying the decision “affirms Obama’s intent to throw more of the taxpayers’ hard earned dollars into a bottomless money pit.”