Senate Democrats

Senators Leahy, Baucus, and Harkin Comment on the Supreme Court’s Decision to Uphold the Affordable Care Act

Statement Of Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.)
Chairman, Senate Judiciary Committee

“Today’s decision by the Supreme Court to uphold the Affordable Care Act is a win not only for the millions of Vermonters and other Americans who have long been victimized by a deeply flawed health care system, but for all Americans who will benefit as we continue to implement this landmark law.

“Over much of the last century, generation after generation has unsuccessfully grappled with how to answer complex and increasingly urgent questions about how to let every American have access to quality, affordable health insurance.  Out of control costs were eating our economy alive and forcing many employers to drop insurance for their workers.  The Affordable Care Act at last answered those questions.  Though no bill is perfect, these are good reforms, long needed by the American people, by American businesses and by the American economy.

“The nation and every American household now would be best served if this historic decision puts an end to the years of partisan attacks and obstruction of efforts to help the millions of Americans who have fallen through the cracks, and millions more who worry with good reason that they may fall through the cracks of our broken health insurance system.  The Court has spared the American people a return to those decades of spiraling problems and uncertainty that reached into every American household.

“The Court’s decision reaffirms what I have believed since the Senate debated and passed this law: Congress has the power under the Constitution and the Court’s own, long-standing precedent to protect Americans from abuses by health insurers and to help give all Americans with access to affordable health care, including some of the most vulnerable among us like children and older Americans.

“In passing the Affordable Care Act, Congress built on the cornerstones of modern America like Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, to strengthen the Nation’s social safety net and help protect hardworking Americans.  I have served in the Senate for 37 years, through seven presidencies.  I am one of the few people in the Senate today who can say that I served alongside representatives who voted to create our nation’s Social Security system, voted for the G.I. bill, passed the Voting Rights Act, and created Medicare, Medicaid, and Head Start.  Congress has come together to refine the laws establishing these programs.  We should similarly come together to further improve the Affordable Care Act where needed.  It’s time to stop the political posturing.  Congress works best for the American people when we are able to come together to solve national problems.  America is stronger when we do.”


Statement Of Senator Max Baucus (D-Mt.)
Chairman, Senate Finance Committee

“This is a win for millions of American families, small businesses, and seniors who are getting more affordable health care, tax cuts, and protections from insurance company abuses thanks to this law.  Now it’s time to put politics aside.  We need to move forward and find ways to work together to put America back on track.”


Statement Of Senator Tom Harkin (D-Ia.)
Chairman, Senate HELP Committee

 “Today’s decision by the Supreme Court is a rigorous, resounding confirmation of the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act.  It is great news for America’s families and businesses, and for our economy.  This decision keeps consumers, rather than insurance companies, in the driver’s seat, and protects the more than $1 trillion in deficit reduction included in the ACA. Today’s decision allows us to continue our work replacing the current sick care system with a genuine health care system – one focused on wellness, prevention, and public health, keeping people out of the hospital in the first place.

“I am heartened to see that the hundreds of millions of corporate dollars poured into the effort to kill the Affordable Care Act did not win. This law is a critical step in the right direction; I have likened it to a starter home, suitable for improvement.  I look forward to working with my colleagues to make sensible changes as we continue to implement the law.  I invite them to bring their tool kits, rather than their sledgehammers, so we can work together to improve the law.

“The choice is to go forward, or be dragged backward.  I believe the great majority of Americans want to go forward – and today the Supreme Court made clear what we have long known: that the opposition is standing on the wrong side of history.  Now let’s get back to work building a health care system that works not only for the healthy and wealthy, but for all Americans.”