Athens Co. Politicians React To Health Care Ruling

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Local Democrats are both surprised and pleased with today's Supreme Court decision that upholds the Affordable Care Act.

“It was probably his [President Barack Obama's] biggest accomplishment in office, having this upheld,” said Kathy Hecht, Athens County Democratic Chair and Athens City Auditor.

In the ruling, the high court decided the most controversial provision, the individual mandate requiring people to have health insurance, is valid as a tax, even though it is impermissible under the Constitution’s commerce clause.

“I think that it will help Democrats across the county,” Hecht said. “It’s obvious there are a lot of people who support this program.”

But while Democrats are celebrating, Republicans are already calling for repeal.

“Everyone is just too worked up by the hype,” Athens County Republican Chair Pete Couladis said. “Once people start looking at the facts, they’ll turn against it.”

Couladis says that things are just getting started with President Obama’s health care program. He says it will continue to be at the forefront of politics, playing a large role in the upcoming November elections. However, Couladis says it is his own party that will have the upper hand.

“I think it’s going to energize the Obama opponents and the opponents of the federal government trying to run health care,” Couladis said.

The most-anticipated Supreme Court ruling in years allows the government to continue implementing the health care law, which doesn’t take full effect until 2014. That means popular provisions that prohibit insurers from denying coverage for pre-existing medical conditions and that allow parents to keep their children on family policies through the age of 26 will continue.