Friday June 29, 2012

The U.S. Supreme Court's decision Thursday to uphold most of the Affordable Care Act became a platform for local political candidates to sound off on the divisive national issue.

Two of the three Democratic candidates for Massachusetts' new 1st Congressional District heartily applauded the decision, while a third called for the implementation of "Expanded Medicare for All."

Incumbent U.S. Rep. Rich ard E. Neal took partial credit for the law that provides insurance for those with pre-existing conditions and covers young adults under their parents' plans until age 26.

"As a senior member of the House Ways and Means Committee, I worked closely with President Obama as he drafted the landmark Afford able Care Act, and I can tell you we are on the right path toward universal care for all Americans," Neal said in a statement.

In lauding the announcement, one of Neal's opponents, former state Sen. Andrea Nuciforo, pointed to his own work on Mass achusetts' health care overhaul, calling the individual mandate "an unparalleled success."

"My strong record of support for health care reform in the Massachusetts Senate demonstrates my commitment to this key issue," Nuciforo said in a statement.

Congressional candidate Bill Shein said certain provisions of the Affordable Care Act were important, but overall he redoubled his call for a single-payer health care system as the real solution.

"It's time for progressive Democrats to speak out boldly to advance the reform that provides high-quality health and dental care for all, contains costs and disconnects health insurance from em ployment," Shein said in a statement.

In the state's race for U.S. Senate, Republican Sen. Scott Brown released a statement calling the Supreme Court decision "bad for the economy and jobs," while Democratic challenger Elizabeth Warren characterized the move as a relief because it ensures Americans access to affordable health care and "fair treatment from insurance companies."

-- Amanda Korman