by Steven Hale
In the wake of the Supreme Court's apparently favorable ruling on President Obama's signature piece of legislation, the state's top Republicans have been lighting up our inbox with statements expressing their disappointment. They appear in full, below.
Gov. Bill Haslam:
“We will review the entire Supreme Court’s opinion to fully understand its impact on the State of Tennessee. From initial reports, it appears the individual mandate has been ruled Constitutional and has been upheld.
My primary issues with ObamaCare are that it takes away the flexibility for states to encourage healthy behavior, will cost Tennessee hundreds of millions of dollars, and does nothing to solve the crisis of the cost of health care in America.
What was unanticipated is the section of the opinion that says states cannot be forced to expand their Medicaid program. This particular portion of the ruling is significant, but it is premature to know the exact ramifications.
Now it is up to Tennesseans and Americans to turn their attention to the November election. By electing Mitt Romney, we can be sure that the entire law will be repealed.”
Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey:
"It is intensely disappointing that this court failed to recognize what constitutionalists and conservatives know deep in their hearts: A federal government which can coerce its people to buy a product is a government unrestrained and out of control. Democrat Governor Phil Bredesen called Obamacare the 'mother of all unfunded mandates' and stated it will cost Tennesseans 1.1 billion dollars in the next few years. However, the fight does not end here. The court may have made its decision today but the people have yet to speak. When they do, Mitt Romney will be elected president and I will do all I can to aid him as he fulfills his solemn promise to repeal this insidious law."
House Republican Caucus Chairwoman Debra Maggart:
“This is disappointing on a number of fronts. All of us know that limited government is a uniquely-American principle. Today’s decision goes against that principle.
“However, now is not the time to sulk. This signals the beginning of a new battle against Washington. States other than Tennessee are facing huge deficits and ObamaCare will only drown them in red ink. We must find a better solution to our rising health care costs and that begins with improving our economy.
“Make no mistake about it, we are going to continue pushing back. I am going to fight for the health care rights of Tennesseans and I won’t be satisfied until there is some measure of personal liberty back in health care decisions.”
TNGOP Chairman Chris Devaney:
“Getting rid of ObamaCare is now in the hands of the American people, and we can accomplish that by electing Mitt Romney President in November. Today’s Supreme Court decision will increase the determination of Tennessee Republicans to defeat President Obama and put an end to his reckless policies that have failed to address the economy and are only making things worse.”
We're seeking comment from Democrats and will pass them along if we get any.
UPDATE: This just in from House Speaker Beth Harwell:
“I am disappointed in the Supreme Court’s decision today. As states struggle to make ends meet, this law passes down an unfunded mandate of immense proportions. Fortunately, here in Tennessee, we anticipated this possibility and set aside additional funding to mitigate the initial impact.
“The decision does, however, strengthen my resolve to keep an out of control federal government at bay so that individual freedoms are protected. Individuals—not bureaucrats in Washington, D.C.—are best equipped to make their own decisions when it comes to health care. Electing Mitt Romney will be a positive first step in seeing this law repealed.
“The Medicaid portion raises many questions regarding the impact on Tennessee, and we will carefully analyze that part of the decision. Over the coming months we will carefully study how this law impacts our state and what needs to be done.”