Prince George's County Talks Supreme Court Decision
State and county leadership say the Supreme Court ruling on health care affirms a trail Maryland was already blazing, while Maryland residents remain split on the issue.
Maryland leaders have had the chance to absorb the news: The Supreme Court, in a split decision, has upheld the individual mandate that requires the purchase of insurance as a tax.
Although there was some confusion Thursday, it's clear now that The Affordable Care Act will stay in effect, although opponents pledge they won't give up the fight.
While Marylanders apparently have mixed feelings about the ruling, the response among Prince George's County leaders was upbeat. They were early adopters of the Affordable Care Act that President Barack H. Obama championed. Thursday’s decision allows the law to stand.
“Today’s decision is a huge victory for the American people,” Rep. Chris Van Hollen Jr. (D-MD), whose district includes parts of Montgomery and Prince George’s counties, said in a statement. “The historic Affordable Care Act has changed the course of health care in our nation for the better, and will continue to improve the quality of life for all Americans as it is fully phased in.”
Sen. Ben Cardin, (D-MD), who blogs his opinions on Patch, called the decision "a win for the American people.”
"Before this law, every responsible American with health insurance was subsidizing the health care needs of the rest," Cardin said in a statement. "That unfair arrangement will be coming to an end soon, as all Americans become part of a more efficient, more cost-effective health care system.”
County Executive Rushern L. Baker III said many Prince George's County residents will benefit from Obama's healthcare plan since 80,000 residents are uninsured and 150,000 are underinsured.
"Every day these citizens worry about something happening to themselves or their families and how they would ever afford to pay for catastrophic illness or even routine health check-ups and procedures," Baker said in a statement. "Today’s ruling will alleviate this daily concern of theirs."
But he added that Prince George's County has been working to improve the county's health care system since the beginning of his term.
"Since taking office, my administration has been dedicated to improving access to healthcare for our citizens," Baker added. "From planning for a new state-of-the-art Regional Medical Center to utilizing mobile health vehicles and innovative private-public partnerships, we are making progress on all fronts to offer our citizens more health care options and greater access."
In a joint statement, Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley and Lt. Anthony Brown said in a blog:
“Today’s decision gives considerable momentum to our health care reform efforts here in Maryland. What it does not – and indeed must not – do, is give us license to take our eye off the ball or slow our progress. Moms, dads, and kids throughout Maryland are counting on their elected leaders to continue the mission of lowering costs, and improving the quality of care.”
So now it's time for you to chime in— tell us your reaction to the ruling by taking our Patch poll and tell us how you think thie ruling will affect the 2012 presidential election.