Alabama's Republican members of Congress vowed to repeal the Democratic health care reform law that won the Supreme Court's blessing Thursday, while the state's lone Democratic House member praised the ruling.
The 5-4 decision was a blow to Alabama and 25 other states that had sued on grounds that the law's "individual mandate" provision, which requires everyone to carry health insurance or pay fines beginning in 2014, is unconstitutional.
"I respect the Supreme Court decision, however I am deeply disappointed by the outcome of this case," said Rep. Martha Roby, R-Montgomery. "There has never been a disagreement that health care costs are too high and that all Americans don't have access to it. What we disagreed with is how we get there."
Like other Republicans, she vowed to vote for a measure the House plans to take up on July 11 that would repeal the 2010 law and replace it with legislation to cap medical malpractice payments, allow people to shop for cheaper, out-of-state insurance policies and make other changes.
Repealing and replacing the law -- the rallying cry for all Republicans after the ruling -- won't be easy. Democrats in charge of the Senate would almost certainly refuse to even bring the legislation up for a vote -- as it did when the House passed a repeal measure earlier this year -- and President Barack Obama would veto it.
Roby and other Republicans vowed to press on regardless.
"We will do our work in the House and then the American people can hold the Senate and the president accountable," she said.
Rep. Terri Sewell, D-Birmingham, praised the ruling as a "monumental victory" for Americans. She said the ruling ensures that 36,000 children with pre-existing health conditions in her district can't be denied coverage, and 109,000 adults and children can continue to receive preventive care.
"Today's ruling confirms what I have always believed, that health care in America should be a right and not a privilege," Sewell said.
The individual mandate is central to the Obama administration's effort to cover about 30 million uninsured people, including more than 500,000 in Alabama. The idea is that increasing the number of insured Americans will lower premiums.