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Local News

June 29, 2012

Local parties split on ruling

Dems celebrate victory; Republicans mourn lost freedom

Thursday was a day of celebration or a day of defeat depending on which local or regional politician you spoke to about Obamacare.

“What a great victory for the people,” said Paul Ulerick, chairman of the Cass County Democratic Party. “Every working man and woman has the opportunity to have affordable health care to raise healthy children.”

Ulerick said Cass County was impacted by Obamacare because of its 8 percent unemployment rate and its 17 percent poverty rate in 2010.

“The last thing you want to worry about is not being healthy,” he said.

The Supreme Court on Thursday upheld the individual insurance requirement at the heart of President Barack Obama's historic health care overhaul. The decision means the huge overhaul, still only partly in effect, will proceed and pick up momentum over the next several years, affecting the way countless Americans receive and pay for their personal medical care.

Tom Weatherwax, vice chairman of the Cass County Republican Party, said he had called U.S. Rep. Joe Donnelly twice to ask him not to support the bill, and he criticized the measure for not being a bi-partisan effort.

Weatherwax, a former state denator, said the measure would come at a “huge cost” for businesses and he has spoken with business owners who say they will either pay the penalty for not participating or lay off workers to get the total number of company employees below 50, the threshold for this law.

“This was sold as a no-tax to the middle class or businesses,” Weatherwax said. “We have a real dilemma. I’m afraid that this is the start of a huge loss of freedom for our country.”

Donnelly, a Democrat, said the law was “far from perfect” and vowed to work with both parties to improve it and protect Medicare.

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