Louisiana Republicans were up in arms Thursday after the US Supreme Court's decided to uphold President Obama's Affordable Care Act.
Louisiana was one of 26 plaintiff states contending the law is an unprecedented overreach of federal government authority.
In a statement, Governor Bobby Jindal said the ruling is a blow to our freedoms and maintains his stance that the healthcare law is unconstitutional and must be repealed.
WRKF's Ashley Westerman spoke with Louisiana 6th District Representative Bill Cassidy from his office in DC about his reaction and where the GOP will go from here.
WESTERMAN: What are your thoughts on the decision handed down from the Supreme Court this morning on the Affordable Care Act?
CASSIDY: Two levels of disappointment. The first most obvious level is that I was hoping the bill would be overturned, it was upheld. The second level of disappointment was that, frankly, the American people were lied to. The American people were told, very explicitly, that this was not a tax. As it turns out, it was recognized for that which it is; it was a tax and the largest tax increase of the history of the American republic.
WESTERMAN: Are there any portions of the bill that you would have kept?
CASSIDY: Of course it's all inter-related, that said, there is something specifically about something called duel-eligibility. There is a problem currently about how Medicare and Medicaid structure funding, which needs to be reformed and, frankly, the bill had some things that would begin to do that. So indeed there are some things that are positive but the focus on those relative to the fact that states and federal government are going to be stuck with huge bills going forward that we cannot sustain overwhelms those things which I would consider good.
WESTERMAN: Okay, and let's bring this down to a state level. How will this affect the people of Louisiana taking into consideration the economic climate here and things of that nature?
CASSIDY: First, it is inhibiting small businesses from creating jobs. There's an uncertainty regarding the taxes and regarding the reporter burdens that are placed upon them. So if you speak to a small business woman right now, she's very concerned as to whether or not she should hired more or prepare for higher taxes and ore regulations and the cost thereof that's coming down. Secondly, there is an expansion of Medicaid in here. Right now Louisiana had such a difficult time balancing our budget last session because of the cost of Medicaid. We're about to have another huge issue regarding Medicaid. And all this is before the requirement of Obamacare. That said, the Supreme Court somewhat limited the application of the Medicaid provision. But then that opens up a whole another can of worms of how you pay for the folks that Obamacare insists be covered. Our tax payers are just going to either see it on their federal tax return or their state tax return and there will continue to be negative effects on the economy.
WESTERMAN: And finally, look forward, now that the Supreme Court has handed down this decision, where does the GOP go from here?
CASSIDY: Well clearly a lot depends upon November. If President Obama is reelected and, frankly, it's a victory for deception. If President Obama's replaced then presumably President Romney would do something which is more patient-centered, less injurious to the tax payer and more likely to be sustainable over the long-term. And as a Conservative I hope President Romney is elected.
WESTERMAN: That being said, there's been a lot of talk, that Obamacare IS Romneycare. Or is very, very similar to what's been passed in Massachusetts. What has the GOP argument been to that and what is it going to be in the upcoming election?
CASSIDY: I think it's self-evident that there's a huge difference between what a state elects to do and that which is imposed upon the American people. If a state desires to experiment and put in and, by the way, under the Constitution states can coerce behavior. They can actually force people to buy things. Then the state is allowed to do so. On the federal level, it's quite different. Secondly, I can say that Massachusetts has some of the highest insurance costs in the nation. Indeed for small business, they are the highest in the nation. And so I would say, you know, way back when when Romney and the others gave it a good college try, well they gave it a good college try. But if we fail to learn from experience, we are doomed. And that is a system Obama, by deception, imposed upon the American people.
WESTERMAN: Rep. Cassidy, thank you so much for speaking with me today.
CASSIDY: Hey, thank you, Ashley.