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Fairfield County Reacts To Obamacare Ruling

FAIRFIELD COUNTY, Conn. – Connecticut politicians and U.S. representatives had mixed reactions to the U.S. Supreme Court’s milestone decision Thursday to uphold President Barack Obama’s health care law that includes a mandate that requires individual insurance.

U.S. Rep. Jim Himes (D-4th District) said the decision would help those struggling in the economy. “Would-be entrepreneurs can now start their own businesses without fearing they won’t be able to purchase insurance for their families and employees, and recent graduates can take jobs at a startup or a nonprofit that doesn’t provide insurance — because they will be able to purchase it themselves,” he said in a statement. “You will not lose access to health care if you lose your job, women can’t be charged more than men for coverage, and kids with asthma and moms who survived cancer will be able to get health insurance.”

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, commonly referred to as “Obamacare,” was upheld by a 5-4 decision. Chief Justice John Roberts argued the penalty outlined in the individual insurance mandate “functions like a tax” and is therefore constitutional. The full decision by the Supreme Court can be viewed online .

“Today’s decision was a victory for people all across this country whose lives will be more secure,” Obama said after the landmark decision. He also clarified, “I didn’t do this because I thought it was good politics. I did it because I believed it was good for this country."

Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy, a Democrat, tweeted, “Today’s #ACA decision demonstrates the nation will do the right thing in ensuring accessible, affordable health care.”

Sen. Richard Blumenthal, a Democrat, said, "Connecticut is a clear winner – already, Connecticut has received tens of millions of dollars from the federal government to cover families on Medicaid, funds to combat fraud and waste, and grants to scrutinize unreasonable premiums. The decision also preserves the more than $44 million received by seniors to help with rising prescription drug costs, and the $45 million received by Connecticut's community health centers to expand and modernize services."

The ruling means access to health coverage for more Americans would move forward, Stamford Hospital Corporate Communications Manager Scott Orstad said. “This should ease the burden of uncompensated care provided by hospitals and allow for more resources to be reinvested into new programs, services and technology to care for patients,” he said. “Stamford Hospital remains committed to providing area residents access to the high-quality, patient-centered care.

Outgoing Sen. Joe Lieberman, an Independent Democrat, said in a statement he was pleased and relayed the support he had for the act. “Now that the constitutional debate surrounding the ACA has been resolved, Congress should closely monitor the implementation of the law to ensure that it is fiscally sustainable in the future. There are many outstanding issues surrounding this law that will demand Congress’ attention in the years ahead, including the accommodation of religious concerns and sticking to commitments to cut health care delivery costs.”

Linda McMahon, Republican candidate for U.S. Senate and a Greenwich resident, was not pleased. "Today's decision by the High Court is extremely disappointing," she said  in a statement. "The American people were told that this legislation would lower costs. It hasn't. They were told that it would not increase taxes. It does. The tax increases that finance this will devastate small businesses and middle class families.”

McMahon’s opponent, Republican Christopher Shays, said the decision to uphold the individual health care mandate “reaffirms the need to send someone to the United States Senate who has the ability to repeal this destructive law.” He added in a statement, "Obamacare is the single greatest infringement on our individual liberties and personal freedoms that we have seen in my generation. This was a power grab of the U.S. health care system by Chris Murphy, a Democratic Congress and the Obama administration.”

Now it’s your turn to weigh in on the ruling. Share your opinion on our poll or comment below.

Vanessa Inzitari, Alissa Smith, Casey Donahue, and Anthony Buzzeo contributed to reporting.

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