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Local Lawmakers Look Ahead After SCOTUS Health Care Ruling

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A health care reform supporter outside of the Supreme Court June 28. 
A health care reform supporter outside of the Supreme Court June 28. 

Many lawmakers in the region were stunned by the Supreme Court ruling upholding the president's signature health care law, but now some of them are getting down to analysis of what this will mean for individual states

In front of the Supreme Court it was a mixture of anger from the Tea Party and jubilation from the president's supporters. The latter seemed to be feeling the wind in their sails as chants of "four more years" filled the air after the ruling.

Many Democrats in the region had been quietly pessimistic about the law's chances in front of a fairly divided Supreme Court. But the pessimism gave way to jubilation as the court narrowly ruled the law's individual mandate will remain on the books. 

"I thought it was a good day for America," said Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md.) The policy allows us to move forward with quality, affordable health care for all Americans."

The justices also ruled states can reject Congress' effort to expand Medicaid coverage. That has Democrats in Virginia worried the Governor and the House of Delegates may reject extra federal funds to expand the program in the commonwealth. 

Rep. Jim Moran (D-Va.) believes the battle isn't over yet. 

"I think that now what's going to have to happen is that people within individual states like Virginia are simply going to have to be mobilized politically to get their state legislature to extend coverage to everyone that is eligible under the federal law," Moran said.

Republicans see things differently. Besides being disappointed the court ruled with the president on the individual mandate, Rep. Morgan Griffith (R-Va.) believes it would be foolish for the legislature to greatly expand Medicaid. 

"You know there's always the temptation to sell the sovereignty of the commonwealth all for a few shekels of silver," Griffith said. "I do not think the legislature as currently comprised will do so. And I think they will do everything in their power to throw road blocks in the way of this disastrous plan."

If Virginia accepts extra federal funding to expand Medicaid, more than 400,000 residents could be eligible for the government run program. 

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