Maine's AG 'disappointed' by Supreme Court ruling

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June 28, 2012, 6:20 pm

(NECN: Marnie MacLean) - Maine Governor Paul LePage called the Supreme Court's decision to uphold the majority of President Barack Obama's Affordable Health Care Act Thursday "disasterous."

Maine was the only New England state to sign on to the court challenge of the Affordable Health Care Act.

In a statement, Gov. LePage said the law is an enormous tax and that, "this massive tax hike will only destroy the American economy as it forces us over the financial cliff."

As a plaintiff in the case, Maine Attorney General William Schneider had a front row seat when the challenge to the Affordable Care Act was argued in front of the Supreme Court.

That part, he liked - the decision, he doesn't.

"I am disappointed that the result was the way it was, that the ACA was upheld, but there's not much that I can argue with in the court's opinion," said Schneider.

Schneider was one of 26 Attorney's General who felt the health care reform law was unconstitutional and hoped the court would strike it down.

He disagrees with the court's decision to call the individual penalty on those who refuse to buy health insurance a "tax" and is therefore constitutional.

"The fact that the ACA is still in place is not good for Maine or the country," said Schneider.

There is a silver lining for Maine's Attorney General. He said he's pleased the court told Congress it can't penalize states that refuse to take part in the program by taking away all of its Medicaid funding.

"The fact that the decision was a strong validation of the limited powers of the federal government is a very important thing to take out of this," said Schneider.

Gordon Smith, executive vice president of the Maine Medical Association, said a win is a win, and believes this is a good step forward.

"Incremental progress is really important, because you are not going to reach that political sweet spot where all of a sudden we're going to have a perfect system," said Smith.

Smith said the best way to bring down health care costs is to get everyone covered.
The court has upheld the part of the law that does that. Former Maine Supreme Court Justice Howard Dana read the decision Thursday and says the Chief Justice's opinion is persuasive.

"If you are in favor of national health care, he's your hero," said Dana.

It's not the word Maine's Attorney General would likely use, as he says this was an unexpected decision, but one Maine will have to live with.

Tags: maine, Supreme Court, health care reform , Attorney General, Marnie MacLean, Paul LePage, Affordable Care Act, Obamacare, William Schneider
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