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Gubernatorial Candidates On Health Care Decision

Lesley McClurg

Both of Washington's gubernatorial candidates claimed victory Thursday after the Supreme Court upheld the Affordable Care Act. Republican candidate Rob McKenna was one of 26 attorney generals arguing that it was unconstitutional to force uninsured people to buy insurance. This morning the Supreme Court ruled that the individual mandate is in fact constitutional.

Democrats called it a defeat for McKenna. They said the decision could hurt his run for governor against Democratic Congressman Jay Inslee. But McKenna disagreed.


Attorney General Rob McKenna said it was good news that Congress wasn't putting the mandate in place under the commerce clause because that would have given Congress overreaching powers.

McKenna: "In other words we argued that the constitution prevents Congress from taking over your personal spending decisions about health care or anything else — that Congress can't force you to buy something you don't want or is not right for you."

Instead the Supreme Court said the individual mandate was a tax. McKenna said that could lead to problems for Congress down the road. However, for now he's ready to put the case to rest. Unlike many Republicans he doesn't think Congress should appeal the new law.

Mckenna: "One of the criticisms of many in my party of the act is that they rammed, they rolled everything up together in one enormous 2,700 page package and rammed it through. You know, to completely blow it up means were committing the same sin but in reverse. And besides, it's completely politically unrealistic."

Congressman Jay Inslee called the decision good news for Washingtonians. He said the decision will bring better care to more people.

Inslee: "It was a decision well within the United States Constitution and about 200 years of jurisprudence. I always believed this was constitutional. I believe it will help us move forward to bring affordable care to Americans. I had no qualms in voting for this bill."

Neither candidate said the decision changes any of their previous campaign proposals on health care.

For KUOW News, I'm Lesley McClurg.

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