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State leaders have mixed feelings in Affordable Care Act ruling

Members of North Dakota's and Minnesota's congressional delegations had mixed feelings on the U.S. Supreme Court's decision Thursday to uphold nationwide tax subsidies under the Affordable Care Act.

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John Hoeven
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Members of North Dakota's and Minnesota's congressional delegations had mixed feelings on the U.S. Supreme Court's decision Thursday to uphold nationwide tax subsidies under the Affordable Care Act.

King v. Burwell hinged on whether those who purchased coverage through federal exchanges were eligible for tax subsidies. The 6-3 decision was seen as a major victory for President Barack Obama and his signature health care law.

Still, Republicans representing North Dakota said Thursday they will continue to work to repeal the law.

"Despite the Supreme Court's ruling today, Obamacare is not the answer to reforming America's health care system," Sen. John Hoeven, R-N.D., said in a statement. "The law is increasing costs, reducing patient choice, and burdening our economy."

Rep. Kevin Cramer, R-N.D. said he and his colleagues will focus on repealing the law and replacing it "with a plan which offers Americans access to high quality, affordable health care."

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Meanwhile, Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, D-N.D., said there are parts of the health care law that need work, but she welcomed Thursday's decision.

"Today's Supreme Court decision confirms that ripping away health insurance from those who already have it isn't the way to accomplish needed reforms in the Affordable Care Act," she said in a statement.

North Dakota is one of 34 states that opted not to create its own exchange.

Urban Institute researchers estimated that a decision against allowing federal subsidies in states without their own exchanges would make coverage unaffordable for many people. Insurance premiums for those remaining in the marketplace would have increased by an average of 35 percent, the Institute added.

Still, that decision would have little to no effect on insurance provided by employers, according to the Brookings Institution.

Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., said the Supreme Court "made the right decision."

"This is a huge victory for millions of people across the country who can continue to have access to affordable health coverage," he said in a statement.

Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., said the decision will "allow 6.4 million Americans to maintain the health care coverage they need."

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"Now that the Supreme Court has spoken, we must keep working to ensure that the Affordable Care Act helps families across the country with access to the high-quality health care that they deserve," she said in a statement.

Minnesota Rep. Collin Peterson, a conservative Democrat who voted against the Affordable Care Act in 2010, said he has "always supported the exchanges and their components.

"Maybe now Congress can get away from an all-out repeal and fix the parts of the law that need fixing," he added.

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