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Local Officials React To U.S. Supreme Court's Ruling On Obama Health Care Law

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- Local officials from around the Tri-State are speaking out about the U.S. Supreme Court's decision to uphold the "individual mandate" component of President Barack Obama's health care reform law.

The decision, which was handed down Thursday in Washington D.C., means that most Americans will be required to have health insurance or pay a fine.

It also requires insurance companies to cover pre-existing conditions and allows children to stay on their parents' insurance until age 26.

Since the Supreme Court's ruling, politicians, community leaders, organizations and others have been reacting to the landmark decision:

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo

"Thanks to the leadership of President Obama and his administration, particularly Secretary Sebelius, the Affordable Care Act will provide access to health care to millions of Americans nationwide and more than one million New Yorkers, and I am pleased the Supreme Court upheld this law. We will continue to move forward with implementing the health exchange that will lower coverage costs for New York's businesses and help ensure that uninsured New Yorkers have access to health care. We look forward to continuing to work together with the Obama administration to ensure accessible, quality care for all New Yorkers."

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie

"I've been clear from the very beginning that I do not believe a one-size-fits-all health care program works for the entire country and that each governor should have the ability to make decisions about what works best for their state. Today's Supreme Court decision is disappointing and I still believe this is the wrong approach for the people of New Jersey who should be able to make their own judgments about health care. Most importantly, the Supreme Court is confirming what we knew all along about this law – it is a tax on middle class Americans."

Conn. Gov. Dan Malloy

"It's great news for the United States. Finally we join most of the rest of the industrialized world and making sure that our citizens will have access to health care."

New York Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver

"The message sent today is loud and clear -- the individual mandate is constitutional and no one should have to live without affordable and quality health insurance. I hope that with this ruling, Republicans will finally stop playing politics with our health and well-being and work with Democrats to erase the healthcare disparity we are faced with, particularly for our working families, seniors and children."

New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli

"The Supreme Court's decision to uphold the Affordable Care Act is a victory for New Yorkers and all Americans. The law has significant fiscal implications for our state, providing more than $1 billion annually in new Medicaid assistance and delivering  affordable health coverage for New Yorkers. While we have not yet solved the challenge of balancing health care access and cost,  today's decision moves us one step closer to reforming our nation's costly health care system."

U.S. Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ)

"Today a tremendous victory was won by the American people who have lived far too long with a broken health care system. It is a victory for the 73,000 New Jersey residents under 26 who will remain covered through their parents' policies. It is a victory for families who have been subjected to a health care system in which the size of a person's wallet determined the level of care they received. The health care law is not perfect, and I intend to help fix what needs work, but this is good news for families and seniors all across New Jersey."

Congressman Jim Himes (CT-4)

"With this decision in place, people and businesses across the country can move forward with the certainty that they will have access to affordable health insurance. Would be entrepreneurs can now start their own businesses without fearing they won't be able to purchase insurance for their families and employees, and recent graduates can take jobs at a startup or a nonprofit that doesn't provide insurance because they will be able to purchase it themselves. You will not lose access to health care if you lose your job, women can't be charged more than men for coverage, and kids with asthma and moms who survived cancer will be able to get health insurance. We can now move forward with the Affordable Care Act's reforms, which will lower costs, better coordinate our health care, and provide more financial stability for families and businesses that purchase health insurance."

Congressman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY)

"By not caving in to the most craven political calls, it appears the Court has stood by more than 70 years of legal precedent to ensure that: some 32 million Americans will have access to health insurance; we stop the unnecessary deaths of 42,000 Americans annually who die simply because they lack health insurance; insurers can no longer deny a child health care because of pre-existing conditions; millions of young adults receive coverage on their parents' plans until age 26; insurers can no longer impose lifetime limits on coverage; millions of Americans receive free preventive care; and, seniors save billions of dollars on prescription drugs."

Rep. Joe Crowley (D-NY)

Over two years ago, President Obama and Democrats in Congress took on the longstanding challenge of improving our nation's health care system. We worked to put an end to runaway premium increases and arbitrary coverage denials, to improve and strengthen Medicare, and to create options for individuals and small businesses to purchase quality and affordable insurance. I am pleased that today, our hard work was validated."

Assemblyman Hakeem Jeffries

"The Supreme Court has spoken and President Obama's historic health care reform is now the law of the land. As I said during my campaign, I plan to go to Washington to work with the president, and one of my priorities is making sure that this new law is implemented fairly and effectively."

U.S. Rep. Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-NJ-8)

"Today decisively proves the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act and affirms once and for all that it is the law of the land.  We can now move forward in the historic undertaking of implementing this landmark legislation: making affordable, quality health care available to all Americans. I was proud to vote for this landmark legislation.  As millions of Americans who have taken advantage of the many benefits in the Affordable Care Act already know, this legislation is working to both drive down the cost of health care in this country and ensure that everyone has access to high quality care."

New York City Comptroller John C. Liu

"Today's historic decision by the U.S. Supreme Court upholding President Obama's Affordable Care Act ensures that approximately 1 million New York City residents without health insurance will no longer have to choose between buying the medication they need and paying the rent. New York State, as a longtime leader in health insurance reform, already had in place critical elements of the Affordable Care Act, including guaranteed eligibility  regardless of one's health condition and expanded access to Medicaid. New Yorkers will now benefit from increased access to primary and preventive care, added help in finding and using insurance coverage, and an overall focus on spending our healthcare dollars  more wisely. As implementation of the law continues and funding streams change, the Comptroller's office will be monitoring closely to ensure that the Health and Hospitals Corporation has adequate resources to carry out its critical mission of serving the  City's most vulnerable populations."

Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer

"I am thrilled that the Supreme Court has upheld President Obama's Affordable Care Act, assuring that millions more Americans will have access to health insurance. This landmark decision affirms the Federal Government's power to take bold action to improve public health. We must now work hard to ensure that the Affordable Care Act is fully implemented in New York, where millions have already benefited and millions more stand to benefit when the law takes full effect in 2014."

New York Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman

"The Supreme Court's decision to uphold the Affordable Care Act is a historic victory for the tens of millions more Americans who will be covered by health insurance. The law's effects will be significant in our state, where over two million people are uninsured. Over a million uninsured New Yorkers will soon have access to affordable coverage. This law will continue to provide a spectrum of key consumer protections including keeping young adults on their parents' plans, ending pre-existing condition restrictions, and increasing consumer information about health care choices. My office stands ready to enforce the Affordable Care Act to ensure that all New Yorkers will benefit from the law's protections."

Congresswoman Nita Lowey (D-NY)

"I am pleased the Supreme Court today upheld the Affordable Care Act, protecting access to health insurance and quality of coverage for millions of Americans. This decision protects the coverage of 17 million children with pre-existing conditions, 6.6 million young adults on their parents' plans, and 86 million seniors and families receiving free preventive care.  I will continue to work with my colleagues to improve the law and make health care more affordable for New Yorkers."

Healthcare Association of New York State President Daniel Sisto

"New York's hospitals and health systems are pleased that the Supreme Court decision makes possible the extension of health insurance coverage to 32 million Americans. Insurance will be made more affordable, particularly for those with pre-existing conditions among others who had been effectively shut out of the health insurance marketplace. Achieving universal coverage through affordable and comprehensive insurance is a cornerstone of HANYS' mission."

Garden State Equality Chair Steven Goldstein

"We are breathing a stunned sigh of relief at the U.S. Supreme Court's decision largely to uphold the Affordable Care Act. The Court said the law is constitutional based on Congress' taxation powers, not under the Commerce Clause. We'll take it. Had the law been overturned, the Court would have plunged the nation into a dark moment in history, not only for health care, but also for the civil rights of LGBT people, women and other persecuted communities."

Planned Parenthood

"This is an amazing victory for women's health and for all Americans. One million currently uninsured New Yorkers will now gain insurance coverage and hundreds of thousands of young adults will continue to have insurance coverage through  their parent's plans. New York's women will be able to have access to birth control later this summer without a co-pay."

Camille Rivera, Executive Director of United New York

"This is a good day for the 99% -- working class people and young adults trying to go out on their own -- in terms of health care reform. The court's decision shows that Republican efforts to discredit President Obama's Affordable Care Act were unfounded and just plain wrong. This is a much-needed health care reform that will ensure that all Americans can receive health insurance for the lowest cost possible and will rein in health care costs and help grow the economy. This is a solid defeat for conservative Republicans who care only about the 1%, and not the rest of us."

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