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Sahil Kapur

Sahil Kapur is TPM's senior congressional reporter and Supreme Court correspondent. His articles have been published in the Huffington Post, The Guardian and The New Republic. Email him at sahil@talkingpointsmemo.com and follow him on Twitter at @sahilkapur.

Articles by Sahil

The fallout from the Supreme Court's historic ruling Thursday upholding the health care reform law clarified a key distinction between the two parties. Republicans reaffirmed their commitment to turning back the clock and Democrats insisted on letting go of past battles and moving on.

"The Supreme Court has spoken. The matter is settled," said Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV). "With millions of Americans still struggling in this tough economy, we can't look back. We need to look forward."

"Now that all three branches of government have ratified the law, the time for quarreling is over. The time for disputing its validity is over," said Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY). "Congress should now return to its full time focus: the issue of jobs and the economy."

"Politics be damned, this is about what we came to do," said House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA).

Republican sang a different tune, reaffirming their commitment to repealing 'Obamacare' and announcing they will hold yet another vote to do so.

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In a surprise move in its decision to uphold the 'Obamacare' mandate, the Supreme Court declared that states may opt out of the law's Medicaid expansion without losing all federal funds for the program.

"In the 47 year history of the program, there has never been a successful challenge to any of the Medicaid expansions, so this was rather unusual," said Ron Pollack, director of the consumer group Families USA.

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After the Supreme Court validated the 'Obamacare' individual mandate under Congress's power to tax, Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) was asked by reporters Thursday if he believes the provision is a tax.

"Ask Mitt Romney," he said.

 

In her concurring opinion to uphold 'Obamacare' Thursday, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg pointed out that Congress, in creating the individual mandate, was following the lead of Massachusetts.

It's an apparent jab at Mitt Romney, who enacted the same provision as governor in 2006, but has vowed to repeal the Affordable Care Act if elected president.

Ginsburg wrote:

Massachusetts, Congress was told, cracked the adverse selection problem. By requiring most residents to obtain insurance ... the Commonwealth ensured that insurers would not be left with only the sick as customers. As a result, federal lawmakers observed, Massachusetts succeeded where other States had failed.

In cou­pling the minimum coverage provision with guaranteed­ issue and community-rating prescriptions, Congress followed Massachusetts' lead. 

House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) said Thursday afternoon that the Supreme Court decision upholding the Affordable Care Act emphasizes the need for repeal.

"Today's ruling underscores the urgency of repealing today's harmful law in its entirety," he told reporters.

"Today's health care decision underscores the importance of this election," said Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA).

House Republicans are set to vote again to repeal the law Wednesday, July 11.

Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy added that the ruling "did nothing to end the debate in America on health care."

Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA), a GOP leadership member and point person on health care ruling fallout, said Thursday that "while we respect the court, we respectfully disagree with the decision."

"We are more determined than ever today to repeal this law," she told reporters. "The American people will have the last word."

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) told reporters Thursday that Democrats are not worried about the Supreme Court's decision limiting the Medicaid provisions in the Affordable Care Act.

"We're not bothered at all with the decision in regard to Medicaid," she said.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) dodged a question on whether the 'Obamacare' individual mandate is a tax, as the Supreme Court decreed in its ruling Thursday upholding the law.

"Call it what you will, it is a step forward for American families," she told reporters.

Pelosi said she'd like to see the language of the opinion before commenting further.

"The politics be damned, this is about what we came to do," she said. "We're very excited about this day. It's historic."

 

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) called Thursday "a pretty exciting day" after the Supreme Court upheld the Affordable Care Act.

"It was, as you know, no surprise to us," she told reporters, pointing out that Democrats always thought they were on solid constitutional ground.

A passage from Chief Justice John Roberts' majority opinion Thursday upholding 'Obamacare':

Members of this Court are vested with the authority to interpret the law; we possess neither the expertise nor the prerogative to make policy judgments. Those decisions are entrusted to our Nation’s elected leaders, who can be thrown out of office if the people disagree with them. It is not our job to protect the people from the consequences of their political choices.

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