BOISE -- Idaho's top-ranking Republican politicians largely condemned Thursday's ruling by the Supreme Court to uphold President Obama's controversial health care reforms.
However, Idaho's top Democrat at the Statehouse largely approved of the measure.
Governor C.L. "Butch" Otter issued the following statement at 2:30 pm.
“Although five Supreme Court justices upheld Obamacare and the individual mandate under Congress’s power to tax, it does not mean it’s the right thing to do. Obamacare has been bad for America from the beginning. This is a sad day for self-determination and for individual liberty. Change is now in the hands of the American people and we must elect a new president and congressional candidates who will repeal Obamacare and protect our freedom to remain the architects of our own destiny.”
Those reforms -- a collection of laws known as the Affordable Health Care and Patient Protection Act -- were deemed constitutional in a split decision by the high court just after 8 a.m. M.D.T.
Jim Risch Mike Crapo
Risch and Crapo condemn the decision
On the heels of Thursday's decision, Republican U.S. Senators Mike Crapo and Jim Risch both quickly criticized the decision. Both senators said they believe upholding the law won't successfully combat the rising cost of health care in the U.S.
"Today's decision is very disappointing, and it is not the ruling that the American people wanted," Crapo said in a prepared release.
Risch said he believed upholding the law under congress' tax authority was a flawed plan.
"Those who voted for this, every Democrat in Congress, should join us in repealing this massive tax increase and replace it with a reasonable and understandable plan," Risch said.
Raul Labrador Mike Simpson
Labrador and Simpson
Idaho's Republican U.S. Representatives, Raul Labrador and Mike Simpson, also criticized the law.
Labrador released a statement saying he felt America's forefathers "would be appalled" at the ruling, largely due to its intrusion on the personal freedom of Americans.
"This should frighten all Americans who believe in freedom and liberty," Labrador added.
Rep. Mike Simpson offered less of a negative tone, writing "While I accept the Supreme Court's decision, I am disappointed that the government now has the ability to tax American citizens if they don't purchase a private product and I remain concerned with the precedent that sets for the future."
Idaho's top House Democrat expects lower costs
However, not all Gem State political heavyweights were opposed to the ruling.
House Democratic Minority Leader Rep. John Rusche is a retired physician from Lewiston. Rusche told KTVB he believes the decision will help cut health care costs for Idahoans in the long-run.
"I think it means that we have an opportunity to move forward to deal with the issues of cost, quality, and access that have plagued the American health care system," Rusche told KTVB.
Rusche said he views the measure as a way to increase the number of insured health care consumers in Idaho's health care system -- further dividing the cost of health care by more people -- and thereby decreasing the cost.
"My expectation is that Idaho is one of the places that sees a significant cost change," Rusche said.