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Lawmakers react to Supreme Court decision upholding Obamacare


(WASHINGTON) — President Joe Biden and Democratic lawmakers praised the Supreme Court’s decision Thursday to uphold the Affordable Care Act, known as Obamacare, in a case challenging its individual mandate.

Former President Barack Obama made a point to emphasize that this isn’t the first time the high court has upheld his presidency’s landmark legislation, which Republicans have sought to dismantle for years.

“Today, the Supreme Court upheld the Affordable Care Act. Again,” Obama wrote. “This ruling reaffirms what we have long known to be true: the Affordable Care Act is here to stay.”

At least one Senate Republican criticized the decision but notably made no mention of an effort to continue to challenge the law.

“The failed Obamacare system will stagger on as a result of this decision,” said Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., a doctor and senior member of the Senate Finance Committee who has helped lead repeal efforts in the past. “Every American’s health care has been harmed by Obamacare.”

Ahead of those reactions, the president, who was Obama’s vice president when the legislation passed, welcomed the decision in a tweet.

“A big win for the American people,” Biden wrote. “With millions of people relying on the Affordable Care Act for coverage, it remains, as ever, a BFD. And it’s here to stay.”

Biden was playfully referring to a moment in 2010 when he was caught on a microphone telling then-President Barack Obama in the East Room of the White House at the bill’s signing that the passing of the Affordable Care Act was a “big f***ing deal.”

Biden’s chief of staff, Ron Klain, was one of the first to react from the White House and raised the famous gaffe Thursday morning.

“It’s still a BFD,” Klain tweeted.

In an official statement later, Biden expanded on the significance of the Supreme Court’s decision and what it means for everyday Americans.

“Because of this law, they don’t have to worry about being denied coverage due to a pre-existing condition like diabetes or watching their coverage being capped during a cancer treatment. Because of the law, they are able to get free preventive screenings that can save their lives and improve their health,” he said in a statement.

“Today’s victory is also for all the young people who can stay on their parents’ insurance plan until they turn 26 years old, and for the millions of low-income families and people with disabilities receiving health care because their states expanded Medicaid under this law,” he continued.

At her weekly press conference on Capitol Hill, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi also applauded the “historic decision” before slamming Republicans for being on the wrong side of history, she said, for supporting the lawsuit challenging the individual mandate.

“We will never forget how Republican leaders embraced this monstrous way to rip away America’s health care in the middle of a deadly pandemic,” she said.

Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., chair of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions, also warned that Republicans may continue their crusade against the legislation.

“This ruling is cause for celebration — but it must also be a call to further action, not an excuse for complacency,” she said. “While I hope this victory for families is the final chapter in Republicans’ long, damaging campaign to undermine the health care hundreds of millions of people rely on, I know our work to help patients is far from over.”

A record 31 million people access health care through the law, according to the White House.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, who was minority leader when the Senate saved the law from a “skinny repeal” in 2017, also greeted the news from the Senate floor.

“Today, the American people have won again! After over a decade of Republican attacks: The ACA is here to stay,” he said.

Thursday’s decision was the third time the Supreme Court has upheld the health care law against legal challenges.

Several Democrats took the opportunity to remind Americans that the special enrollment period for the Affordable Care Act is open until Aug. 15, extended due to the coronavirus pandemic.

ABC News’ Allison Pecorin contributed to this report.

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