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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

House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) said Sunday that while he was surprised by the Supreme Court's ruling, it only makes his party more determined to repeal 'Obamacare.'

"All it really does is strengthen my resolve -- and resolve of the Republicans here in Washington -- to repeal this awful law," he said on CBS' Face The Nation.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) argued Fox News Sunday that the Supreme Court opinion on the health care law opens the door for the Senate to repeal the individual mandate with 51 votes, as opposed to 60. 

"Look, reconciliation is available because the Supreme Court has now declared it a tax," he said. "They have unearthed the massive deception that was practiced by the president and the Democrats, constantly denying that it was a tax. … The chief justice has made it clear -- it's a tax. And as a tax it is eligible for reconciliation."

"Now the American people will have the final decision and I'm confident they'll give us the votes to repeal it."

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) told Fox News Sunday that the Supreme Court ruling means the health care reform law is "a middle class tax increase."

But the GOP leader dodged several questions about whether Mitt Romney's similar health care mandate in Massachusetts is a tax.

"Well I think Gov. Romney will have to speak for himself about what was done in Massachusetts," McConnell said. "I can tell you that every single Democratic senator voted for this tax increase."

White House chief of staff Jack Law pointed out on Fox News Sunday that Mitt Romney enacted a health care law broadly similar to 'Obamacare.'

"When he was governor of Massachusetts, Gov. Romney put a plan in place that has many of the features that the Affordable Care Act makes available on a national basis," he said.

Lew said now that the Supreme Court has upheld the law, it's time to move on and accept it.

On Fox News Sunday, White House chief of staff Jack Lew was repeatedly grilled on whether President Obama concedes that the health care law's individual mandate amounts to a tax hike on the middle class.

Lew pushed back on the contention and argued that the fine for not purchasing insurance will apply to "very few" people. "This penalty says you cannot be a free-rider," he said.

"It was set up and it was not called a tax," Lew added. "But there are powers that Congress has and you can justify a law in multiple ways. The court took that route. It is a penalty. It was defined as a penalty in the law. And it's something that people choose whether or not to be subject to."

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."

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