Photo Caption: Ohio Gov. John Kasich, R-Westerville, expressed his disappointment in the SCOTUS decision.
While the decision may be in the books, the debate is far from over with a wide variety of opinions flying after the ruling. The court's decision predictably prompted a positive reaction from President Barack Obama while Republican presidential challenger Mitt Romney said he agrees with the dissenting opinion – that the law should be struck down in its entirety.
Romney promised that he will begin the process of repealing the Affordable Care Act his first day on the job, if elected in November.
Those positions were echoed by local congressmen. What follows is a variety of statements that have rolled in since the ruling came down:
• Ohio Gov. John Kasich: ""We're very disappointed that this flawed law has been allowed to stand. The Supreme Court has confirmed what everyone knew all along-but that the White House tried to deny: this is a massive new tax on the middle class. Hopefully, Congress will eventually repeal the law altogether and replace it with improvements that actually address the most pressing needs in health care, especially the need to reduce costs in order to improve access. Until then, Ohio taxpayers could be saddled with dramatically higher costs. The Administration will carefully analyze the decision to determine the appropriate next steps."
• Charlie Wilson, D-St. Clairsville, 6th District congressional candidate: "Here's the good news for the people of eastern Ohio: The donut hole is closed, the cost of prescription drugs are lower, and families can keep children on their parents' plan until the age of 26," said Wilson. "Yet this law is not perfect, and I look forward to working with Members of both parties to improve the law by giving states more flexibility to innovate, to hold down costs, and to help small businesses spend less on health care and more on creating jobs."
• U.S. Rep. Bill Johnson, R-Marietta: "The Supreme Court's decision to leave President Obama's takeover of health care intact is deeply disappointing. This disastrous law is full of broken promises covered in empty political rhetoric that continue to make our economy worse," Johnson said. "Over 40 percent of small businesses are saying that this law is keeping them from hiring and expanding. The cost of this law has surged to almost $2 trillion and doctors are ALREADY limiting the number of patients they are seeing."
• Progress Ohio: "Somewhere in Ohio this law will help a family survive financial devastation from health care bills. Somewhere in Ohio this law will help a child born with a pre-existing condition survive and thrive. Somewhere in Ohio this law will help a person facing life or death decisions over fair access to affordable health care services."
• Ohio Association of Health Underwriters: "As the Supreme Court has spoken, implementation deadlines for Health Benefits Exchanges will be rapidly approaching and Ohio and many other states will now have to take a hard look at whether they want to implement a state Exchange or cede that responsibility to the Federal government. The implementation of Exchanges will mean that more people than ever before will be making an individual decision to choose their health insurance, which is why the role of the professional agent will be more important now than ever before."
• The Single Payer Action Network of Ohio: "The protections for patients in the bill are very important, " said Debbie Silverstein, SPAN state director. "No one wants to see those go away. The ability to get coverage for those with pre-existing conditions is extremely important. For those people, it is a critical need."
• Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine: "I am disappointed by the Supreme Court's decision on the constitutionality of Obamacare. It is a matter now that will again be fought in the political arena and will be the preeminent issue of the presidential campaign. There is a victory in this case. The Supreme Court did not expand the powers under the Commerce Clause. While I am disappointed in Justice Roberts' decision, he was the leader in restricting the Commerce Clause, an expansion of which would have been detrimental to our country. If that would have been upheld, it would mean there are no limits to what Congress could compel Americans to purchase. While we lost the battle over Obamacare, we did win the war on the true meaning of the Commerce Clause."
• U.S. Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio: "While the Court has deemed the law constitutional as a tax on the American people, it is still flawed policy that is unaffordable for our families, our small businesses, and our government. The President's one-size-fits-all health care spending law is the centerpiece of a failed agenda that has increased economic uncertainty, stalled job creation, and deepened the spending hole that Washington has dug."
• National Federation of Independent Business: "This is a disappointing outcome for our members, but NFIB respects the decision to uphold the individual mandate by the Supreme Court. We are concerned that this sets a precedent in which Congress will have the ability to mandate other aspects of our lives and not just the purchase of health insurance. Having said that, we will move forward from today to continue to fight, harder than ever, for real health-care reform for our membership."
• Ohio Liberty Coalition: "The Supreme Court has ruled that the law is legal, that does not mean that the law is right or what the American people want. Our course is now crystal clear. Our only recourse is through the election process, which is why our movement is committed to winning the presidential race and Senate races in Ohio. Gov. Romney has made it clear that, if elected, he would repeal the bill. That is what we want, and therefore it is up to us to convince our fellow Ohioans to vote for conservative candidates in November."
The Athens NEWS will add statements to this story periodically as they come in.