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Atlanta Journal Constitution - Both Sides of Aisle Comment on Court Decision

Op-Ed

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Location: Washington, DC

By Representative Tom Graves and Representative Phil Gingrey

We all now know that the Supreme Court has ruled to uphold Obamacare. The majority of justices reasoned that Congress does have the power to impose the individual mandate because it has the power to tax, thereby upholding the law. But when President Barack Obama came to the American people to justify his health care agenda, his explanation was the exact opposite. He publicly stated many times that the individual mandate in his law would not be a tax.

As Justices Alito, Kennedy, Scalia and Thomas stated in their dissenting opinion, "…to say that the Individual Mandate merely imposes a tax is not to interpret the statute but to rewrite it. Judicial tax-writing is particularly troubling." We could not agree more.

Warnings to watch for judicial activism in this ruling spread far and wide, yet few suspected the court would uphold Obamacare in this manner, given the president and congressional Democrats justified the law via the Commerce Clause and not through Congress's tax-writing power. By doing so, the court's ruling will impact Americans just as the president intended. Americans are now forced to purchase a product or pay a price. There is little difference, in practical terms, between the president deeming that price a penalty and the court deeming it a tax.

Simply put, this is un-American and is absolutely not a victory for patients, physicians or the American taxpayers. Patients don't want it, our constituents don't want it and Republicans' next act will be to again attempt to rid the books of this law in its entirety.

While the court upheld the president's health care law, it did not rule on its merits, which Americans overwhelmingly believe to be a disaster. The law accomplishes the exact opposite of everything the president promised. It raises taxes and premiums, encroaches upon citizens' freedom of choice and results in less access to health care for seniors, children and the poor.

America's taxpayers are also learning just how much of a fiscal nightmare Obamacare truly is. The president claims his law will boost our nation's economic engine, small businesses. But the reality is that the employer mandate is one of the most "anti-growth" provisions our country has ever seen. Costs for businesses will balloon under Obamacare, forcing many companies to cut jobs to make up for the loss to their bottom lines.

And remember when the president said, "If you like your health care plan, you will be able to keep your health care plan." The reality is that up to 20 million Americans stand to lose their employer-provided coverage under Obamacare, as reported by the Congressional Budget Office.

Patients must be able to make their own health choices, select their own health care providers, and make decisions with their loved ones and physicians. It's what American families deserve -- and it is the right thing to do. Repealing this law -- once and for all -- is now our only means to this end.

Republican Tom Graves represents Georgia's 9th Congressional District. Republican Phil Gingrey represents Georgia's 11th Congressional District.

Verdict is a step forward and best is yet to come.


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