Local officials offered distinctly differing opinions on last month’s decision by the US Supreme Court to uphold the Affordable Care Act, the health care bill championed by President Barack Obama and opposed by most Congressional Republicans.
“It would do a lot of good for the state,” said Pickens County Democratic Party Chairman Mike Kiger. “It would help the state in many ways. I think it was the right ruling (to uphold the new health care bill).”
South Carolina’s Third District US Congressman Jeff Duncan disagrees.
“ObamaCare interferes with the doctor/patient relationship, causes health insurance premiums to skyrocket, increases our national debt, rations care for seniors, and is a major abuse of federal power,” said Duncan. “While I’m disappointed in the Court’s decision, this only strengthens my resolve to push for complete repeal in the United States Congress.”
A bill to repeal the law was passed last week by Duncan and other members of the US House of Representatives. The bill is not expected to go to the floor of the Democratically-controlled US Senate. Even if voted on and approved by the Senate, Obama has said he would veto the bill.
Kiger says there are many ways this reform will help the people of Pickens County.
“If you’re retired, if you’re a student just getting out of high school or college, or if you have a pre-existing condition and lose your job, this (health care bill) helps,” said Kiger. “South Carolina is an unhealthy state. The idea that there will be screening available for all sorts of medical conditions for free, we just didn’t have that before.”
While Kiger says the bill will provide much-needed assistance, Duncan says it is law is broken beyond repair.
“There’s no way to fix a law this bad,” said Duncan. “We’re going to have to continue to push for a complete repeal, and once ObamaCare is completely off the books we can start working for ways to reform the system that gets government out of the way and puts patients first. I’ve never counted on the Court to rule one way or another. Congress has been working from day one to repeal and replace this obtrusive law.”
While a repeal of the law will certainly be a campaign issue in the fall elections, Kiger says he is happy the US Supreme Court took a step in, what he believes, is the right direction.
“If you go to the doctor and need to have a certain exam, but can’t afford it. Maybe you can’t even afford to go to the doctor. Now, some of that stuff is going to be taken care of, and I think that is a move in the right direction,” said Kiger. “These are just simple things that I think will pay off in the long run.”
Duncan says the problem goes beyond the health care bill.
“The next step towards repealing ObamaCare begins with making Barack Obama a one-term President,” he said. “There’s no way we can repeal ObamaCare and enact the types of common sense health care reforms Americans deserve as long as he’s in the White House. Ultimately, the next battle in the fight to repeal ObamaCare will be fought by the American people at the ballot box in November.”