Ruling won’t end political debate over health care

Keywords: Politics,

One of the most dramatic Supreme Court terms in recent years is over, but voters can expect candidates to relive it on the campaign trail this summer.

Rep. Scott Tipton, R-Cortez, decried the high court’s ruling that allowed Congress to require people to buy health insurance, and he said it would be an issue during the campaign.

“This is something that is hurting jobs, not addressing real health care issues for Americans. The Supreme Court has just now put that back into the limelight,” Tipton said.

Tipton wants Congress to repeal President Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act, but he says he agrees with parts of it.

Tipton said Congress should help people who can’t get insurance because of pre-existing illnesses, and parents should be able to keep their kids on their policies up to age 26.

However, insurance companies say they can’t cover pre-existing conditions unless they can spread the costs by making sure everyone has health insurance.

Democrat Sal Pace said he would not have voted for the mandate for all people to buy health insurance, and he called the Affordable Care Act “far from perfect.”

“While I am glad we aren’t going back to a system where people are denied coverage for pre-existing conditions and college graduates are ineligible for their parents’ insurance, the ruling does not signify finality as we still have a long way to go to fix our health care system,” Pace said in an email.

Pace said he didn’t like the near party-line vote on the Affordable Care Act, and he said Colorado’s legislature did a much better job with its own health care reforms, which it passed on bipartisan votes.

Tipton defeated Democrat John Salazar in 2010, after Salazar voted for the Affordable Care Act.

Tipton was less outspoken about the week’s other big ruling, which overturned most parts of Arizona’s stringent illegal immigration law.

The court threw out parts of Arizona’s law that make it a state crime for legal immigrants to not carry their immigration papers, and for illegal immigrants to apply for a job. Congress has made it a crime to hire illegal immigrants, but not for them to apply for work.

The court upheld the part of Arizona’s law that requires police to check the status of people they suspect are illegal immigrants.

Tipton said he think’s it’s OK for police to check someone’s immigration records if they stop a person for another reason, but he doesn’t want to see any police “dragnets” specifically meant to find illegal immigrants.

“I will not support something that’s going to be looking like we’re pulling people over with racial profiling, if they look Hispanic or they look Irish or something,” Tipton said.

Pace also was not enthusiastic about the Arizona ruling.

“I believe the Supreme Court’s ruling a mixed bag at best. If Congress would address our country’s failed immigration policies, we wouldn’t be in this position to begin with,” he said in an email.

“I do not support the ‘show me your papers provisions’ as it casts a shadow of doubt on too many people who are here legally, like my wife who is a sixth generation Coloradan,” Pace said.

Pace would focus penalties on employers by making it illegal to knowingly hire an illegal worker.