The area's federal and state political representatives weighed in with mixed opinions on Thursday's 5-4 decision by the U.S. Supreme Court to uphold the federal Affordable Care Act.
Their sentiments followed party lines.
U.S. Rep. Paul D. Tonko, D-Amsterdam, whose 21st District includes the Glove Cities and Montgomery County, defended the law.
"Today's decision ensures children under the age of 26 can stay on their parents' plan, people with pre-existing conditions are no longer denied coverage and seniors won't have to dig so far into their pockets to pay for prescription drugs," Tonko said in a prepared statement. "It is proof positive that the Constitutional merits of the Affordable Care Act are ironclad. While today's ruling certainly is significant, I look forward to continued implementation of the law."
U.S. Rep. Bill Owens, D-Plattsburgh, whose 21st District includes nine Fulton County towns and Hamilton County, said in a prepared statement, "Now that the court has ruled, Democrats and Republicans must come together to implement the law, which includes making changes where appropriate to improve provisions that still need work. The goal has always been to expand coverage, improve health care outcomes and reduce costs for patients and providers. Now the debate is over and it's time to move forward with those goals in mind."
U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand stated she is "pleased" the Supreme Court reaffirmed the "hard-fought progress that was made to ensure that no one can be denied coverage for a pre-existing condition, being a woman will no longer be a pre-existing condition, young adults will be covered, prescription drug costs for seniors will be reduced, preventive care, including life-saving mammograms, will be accessible and that insurance companies can't cancel their coverage when you get sick."
The Republican reaction was different.
State Sen. Hugh T. Farley, R-Niskayuna, said today the Affordable Care Act is a "tax" that no one likes.
"I respect the Supreme Court," Farley said. "They have spoken. Now it's up to the Congress to act on this [to possibly repeal it]. I think it energizes people who oppose Obamacare."
Farley said he's one of the opponents, and he finds the act "very offensive" and especially "dangerous" to the elderly.
"I think it will lead to the rationing of health care," Farley said.
State Assemblyman Marc W. Butler, R-Newport, said today he sees the Affordable Care Act as another unwanted layer of federal bureaucracy.
"I was very disappointed with the court decision," he said. "The path they're taking us with the federal government is a long way to go. I think we're seeing more and more government intrusion in all aspects of our lives."
In a prepared state issued Thursday, Victor Giulianelli, president and CEO of St. Mary's Healthcare in Amsterdam, stated, "The Supreme Court's decision is another important step toward health care that leaves no one behind, which includes 100 percent access and coverage for all Americans, including an estimated 15,000 in our region. Our job is not changed, our commitment to improving quality, enhancing patient safety and the patient experience, while reducing the cost of healthcare is unwavering."
Nathan Littauer Hospital Marketing Director Cheryl McGrattan couldn't be reached this morning for comment.
Michael Anich can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.