HARRISBURG, March 28, 2012 — State Sen. Anthony H. Williams (D-Philadelphia/Delaware) issued the following statement today as the U.S. Supreme Court argues to constitutionality of the federal Affordable Care Act:
“As we follow the arguments being made in the U.S. Supreme Court for and against reforming health care in this country, it’s amazing to me that a nation built on free-thinking and innovation can be so mired in such backward approaches to how we evolve as a society. We need the Affordable Care Act. Period.
“We can’t demand that people exercise ‘personal responsibility’ on one hand, and then excoriate a mandate to do that on the other. This law is not asking us to purchase something frivolous or selective, like a pair of sneakers or a car. Everyone needs health care at some point in life. And right now, nearly 2 in 3 of the uninsured use one of the costliest forms of health care – the emergency room, and at our expense. Here, in Pennsylvania, where nearly 2 in 5 residents are either under 18 or older than 65, it’s a guarantee that those emergency rooms will be filled. It’s just a matter of who will be footing the bill.
“Our state budget tells us that we can’t afford to continue down the road we’re on. Pennsylvania requires a healthcare system that’ll address the needs of all, not just the interests of a few. Arguments about “freedom” are bogus; this lawsuit is about the balance of power, and I for one hope that it tips where it belongs, in the hands of the people.
“I remain ashamed that the Commonwealth I represent is part of this nonsense. And I’m embarrassed that some of my colleagues are so set to work against our wider interests, proposing things like Senate Bill 10 to call for a constitutional amendment to bar this law – at an estimated price of $2 million when we say we’re broke, no less.
“The longer we delay its full enactment, the more lives we stand to harm, possibly irreparably. It is my hope that the justices rule in favor of the people, and insist that the Affordable Care Act stands.”