Hanna and Owens disagree on next step for health care act

Despite the U.S. Supreme Court’s 5-4 decision upholding the controversial individual mandate at the heart of the president’s health care law, Rep. Richard L. Hanna, R-24, Barneveld, says he supports the law’s repeal.

Meanwhile, Oneida County’s other congressman, Rep. William L. Owens, D-24, Plattsburgh, stands by the Affordable Care Act and wants its implementation to proceed.

Hanna maintains the law is poor policy, but does say health care reforms are needed.

"I respectfully disagree with the Supreme Court’s ruling," he said. "I will work to repeal the unsustainable health care law because we’ve seen no increase in the quality of care.

"What we have seen are increasing costs and new taxes that make it harder for small businesses throughout upstate New York."

The first-term congressman says needed health care changes can be achieved other ways.

"I will continue advocating for improvements that increase access to coverage through lower costs, without compromising our ability to put New Yorkers back to work," he said. "I support promoting competition and choice, expanding incentives to encourage personal responsibility, allowing people with pre-existing conditions access to affordable coverage, reforming the medical liability system, preserving a patient’s ability to keep a plan if he or she likes it, and ultimately increasing the number of insured Upstate New Yorkers."

In siding with the Democratic leadership and President Barack Obama on one the most sweeping pieces of federal legislation in years, Owens voted in favor of the measure in 2010, a decision he called at the time "one of the most important choices of my lifetime."

On Thursday, after the court issued its decision, he said it is time to follow through on implementing the law, including making changes where appropriate, to improve health care in the U.S. He called on Democrats and Republicans to work together to make this happen.

"The goal has always been to expand coverage, improve health care outcomes, and reduce costs for patients and providers," said Owens. "Now the debate is over and it’s time to move forward with those goals in mind."