BY WESLEY P. HESTER
This morning’s U.S. Supreme Court ruling to uphold President Barack Obama’s landmark health care overhaul will provide months of fodder in the high-stakes U.S. senate battle between former governors Timothy M. Kaine and George Allen.
Both candidates wasted no time in reacting to the high court’s decision and put it to use as a political weapon.
Allen, who’s seeking to reclaim the Senate seat he lost in 2006, lamented the decision, but said it “reinforces what is truly at stake during this pivotal election.”
He added: “My opponent believes this health care law is a ‘great achievement,’ but I believe it’s an infringement on individual liberty and free enterprise.”
Allen said he hopes to be the deciding vote to repeal the health care law, instead calling for health care reforms that “provide Americans with affordable, portable, and personal market-based health care solutions including Health Savings Accounts.”
At a morning event in Northern Virginia, Allen said the justices had used “judicial creativity to call the mandate a tax.” Interestingly, Allen voted to appoint John Roberts, the court’s chief justice who joined with liberal justices in upholding the law.
Allen has often praised Roberts, saying in a 2005: “John Roberts, I believe, will go down in history as one of the great Chief Justices of the Supreme Court. Let him also become a role model for all other men and women who will follow on federal benches.”
Kaine, a former Democratic National Committee chairman under Obama, did not directly mention the court’s decision at all in his statement, but touted the health care law’s accomplishments.
He also called it “an important first step in curbing discriminatory insurance company practices and increasing access to health care.”
Kaine noted that Allen has calls for a repeal of this law “despite the positive results it’s already delivering for Virginia.”
He added: “In the decade encompassing George Allen’s six years as a U.S. Senator, the average insurance premium for families more than doubled and over 12 million more Americans were uninsured. Clearly, inaction was not a solution, and neither are continued calls for repeal.”