By Dan Carden
The U.S. Supreme Court may be done dealing with Obamacare (for now), but the U.S. Congress is just getting (re-)started.
Despite a 5-4 ruling that saw conservative Chief Justice John Roberts join the court's liberal wing to uphold most of the Affordable Care Act, Congressional Republicans said Thursday they are determined to repeal the entire 2010 health law as soon as possible.
"Obamacare is still an unprecedented government intrusion into the lives of every American," said U.S. Rep. Todd Rokita, R-Ind. "Deciding what kind of health care is best for us is between us and our doctors -- not Washington bureaucrats."
Rokita, a Munster native who represents Newton and Jasper counties, voted with the House Republican majority to repeal the health law last year. That measure did not advance in the Democratic-controlled Senate.
U.S. Sen. Dick Lugar, R-Ind., and U.S. Sen. Dan Coats, R-Ind., both said voters must elect a Republican Senate and Republican president in November to make repeal a reality.
"The American people will have the opportunity to decide if they want a Congress and White House committed to more taxing, more spending and more federal mandates or one that will work to reduce spending, empower individuals and give states greater flexibility," Coats said.
But U.S. Rep. Pete Visclosky, D-Ind., who voted in favor of the health law, said Congress should instead work to effectively implement the law, which has improved the lives of millions of Americans.
"Because of the Affordable Care Act, children can no longer be discriminated against by insurance companies, millions of seniors will be better able to afford prescription medication as the Medicare Part D 'donut hole' closes, young adults can remain on their parents' plans until age 26, and in the future, individuals with pre-existing conditions cannot be denied coverage," Visclosky said.
On the campaign trail, Visclosky's Republican opponent Joel Phelps, of Portage, said if elected he would vote to repeal the law and "replace it with real health care reform based on free market, free choice solutions that restore our personal decision making power and reduce the costs of our family's care."
The two candidates in Indiana's U.S. Senate race -- Democrat Joe Donnelly and Republican Richard Mourdock -- each used the ruling to attack his opponent.
Donnelly said the health law is "far from perfect," but unlike Mourdock's "my way or the highway" approach to governing Donnelly promised to work with others in the Senate to improve it.
Mourdock said Donnelly's vote for Obamacare as a member of the U.S. House means Donnelly is responsible for increasing the national debt, deterring job growth and forcing thousands out of their current health plans.