NUMBER OF UNINSURED: 1.21 million Arizona residents not covered, or about 19 percent
WHERE THE STATE STANDS: Arizona is among the states challenging the constitutionality of the health care overhaul. The lawsuit covers about 22,000 people statewide, including some 14,000 people in the Phoenix area.
Gov. Jan Brewer's administration is moving to implement part of the contested law by reviewing health insurance rates to see if they should be labeled unjustifiably high. The state also has accepted a federal grant to create a state health insurance exchange.
Brewer signed legislation in May relaxing Arizona's requirement for health plans to cover contraception. Employers that formally identify themselves as religiously oriented organizations can drop contraception coverage for birth control purposes but still must provide it for other medical reasons.
WHAT HAPPENS NOW: If the Affordable Care Act is upheld in total or in part, Arizona will make a final determination to move forward or defer to the federal government on the health insurance exchange, the rate review process and the other components of the ACA that can be implemented by states.
Governor Jan Brewer:
“Today’s decision by the U.S. Supreme Court flies in the face of what most Americans know to be true: ObamaCare is an overreaching and unaffordable assault on states’ rights and individual liberty.
“For defenders of freedom and the free market, the decision to uphold ObamaCare is nothing short of disheartening. The ramifications are sure to be vast, including a new tax on middle class Americans and the erosion of individual liberty as Americans begin to see their health insurance choices dictated by an overbearing federal government.
“Everyone recognizes that the American health care system is not perfect. Costs are too high, and accessibility remains a hurdle for many Americans. But the answer to rising health care costs is not – and will never be – Big Government. We need real, responsible reform. We need the innovation of states like ours – states that have enacted leading health care models promoting private sector competition, consumer choice, quality coverage and controlling costs. True reform will spring from sovereign states that are free to provide the coverage that best meets the needs of their citizens at a price they can afford. I stand ready to work alongside Congress, state legislators and stakeholders alike in developing sound proposals that enhance choice and competition and bring stability and predictability to our health care marketplace.
“If nothing else, today’s decision officially sets the stakes for the November election. It is now up to the American people to save our country from the fiscal and regulatory nightmare known as ObamaCare. Come November, we must elect a President who understands the economy, represents free enterprise and respects the Constitution and individual liberty.
“If Arizonans are to have access to the health care they need from the provider they choose, ObamaCare must be fully repealed.”
Attorney General Tom Horne:
The Supreme Court has upheld Obamacare on the basis of the taxing power. This is interesting because when the bill was passed, the Democrats insisted it was not a tax as that would have been unpopular. The Court did hold, as we had argued, that the mandate exceeded the limits of the commerce power.
Those who oppose Obamacare have an election in a few months in which they can express their view.
Finally, and most interestingly, by a vote of 7 to 2, the court for the first time in history put a limit on Congress’ power to micromanage the states using conditions on federal funding. They did this in restricting the Medicaid expansion mandate.
This has been the principal method by which Congress has interfered in states’ business to the extent never contemplated by the Constitution. This will be an important legal development.
Sen. John McCain:
“Today’s decision by the Supreme Court is disappointing. Obamacare is unpopular with the American people because it puts Washington in control of our health care choices and does nothing to address the real problems in our system – most importantly the rapidly rising and unsustainable costs. In fact, Obamacare does the opposite, driving up the cost of health care and, as a result, impedes the economic recovery this country so badly needs. Congress should immediately begin the process of repealing Obamacare and replace it with common sense reforms that ensure all Americans can get the care they need at a price they can afford.”
Rep. Ed Pastor:
This is a profoundly important day for all Americans,” Pastor said Thursday. “I commend the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to uphold the Affordable Healthcare Law and continue with its implementation of vital provisions.”
“With this ruling, the court recognized the opportunity we have as a nation to move forward and ensure that all Americans have the healthcare coverage they need and deserve. This decision will have a profound and positive impact on our country’s health delivery system.
“It is truly a great day for all Americans.”
Sen Jon Kyl:
“For over two years, the president’s health law has remained highly unpopular with the American people – particularly the mandate to purchase health insurance and other tax hikes. Because the Supreme Court did not strike down the most onerous provisions, it appears that the American people themselves will have to overturn the law by the choices they make in November’s election. We need to listen to the people to see what they would like; then, Congress can replace the flawed law with reforms that ensure Americans have health care that is affordable with a doctor of their choice and without increased taxes, mandates, and rationing.
“It hardly matters to the American citizens that the requirement to buy government defined insurance cannot be justified under the Commerce Clause if it can be justified as a ‘tax.’ Forcing people to buy something and penalizing those who do not with a ‘tax’ leaves citizens in the same position as if the mandate were justified under the Commerce Clause.”
Rep. Jeff Flake:
“Today’s ruling makes it clear that the burden now falls squarely on Congress to act. I opposed Obamacare in 2009 because a government-run healthcare system would lead to unmanageable costs at a time when the country can least afford it. I still oppose Obamacare today, and until Congress is able to fully repeal it, I will work to defund it and prevent its further implementation.
“This November Arizonans will have a choice -- whether to elect someone who stands with President Obama in supporting Big Government solutions like Obamacare, or to elect a candidate that will fight to repeal Obamacare. Our healthcare system is badly in need of reform, but Obamacare is not the answer. We need to replace it with effective, market-based health care reforms that increase competition, lowers costs, and raise the level of care for everyone. That’s what I have fought for in the House, and it’s what I will continue to do in the Senate.”