TRI-STATE —Hagerstown resident Ed Reed was vocal Thursday about his support for the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to uphold most of President Obama’s historic health care law.
“It’s a good law, and more people will be insured,” he said. “Somebody had to do something.”
Reed, 70, was among area residents who offered their reactions to the high court’s ruling that also validated the constitutionality of a controversial individual mandate requiring people to have health insurance.
“Either way, you’re going to have to pay, and you’ll pay more if uninsured people have to go to the emergency room,” he said. “The mandate is part of life. People need food, shelter, and health care.”
But Bob Schleigh of Hagerstown was equally adamant in his opposition to the court decision.
“It’s just another case where Obama wants to be a dictator,” he said. “I don’t think it’s right.”
Schleigh, 73, said he does not agree with the individual mandate, either.
“I don’t think people should be forced to take out health care,” he said. “They’re infringing upon my freedom.”
Schleigh’s wife, Pat, 76, said she is also against the law and the ruling.
“It doesn’t give people choices,” she said. “I don’t think it’s a good thing, and I think the individual mandate is unconstitutional.”
Kenneth Canfield, 62, of Hagerstown said he favored the ruling.
“There are not enough people who have health care benefits,” he said. “Obama is putting forth the right foot to getting something started.”
Martinsburg, W. Va., resident Vernon Cartwright also said he supported the ruling.
“There are a lot of poor people who need health care and can’t get it,” he said. “America is the richest nation in the world, and some people can’t get health care.”
However, Cartwright, 68, admitted he was skeptical of the mandate.
“If everybody can afford it, they should be required to buy it,” he said. “But how can you penalize somebody who can’t buy it?”
But Bill Wolford, 74, of Hagerstown, who supports the law, said he believes the mandate is constitutional.
“The Supreme Court ruled that the mandate is a tax and not commerce, and we can be taxed,” he said. “At least this is one step toward fixing our health care system.”
Chambersburg, Pa., resident Joe Russo said that he is against the ruling but that he understands why people who could benefit from the law are supporting it.
“It depends on who you are,” he said. “It’s robbing Peter to pay Paul, and the more Pauls you have, the better off Obama is.”
Russo’s wife, Mary Ann, also said she is against it.
“There are payees and payers,” she said. “The people who will benefit from this get it paid for, but someone has to be the payer.”
But Hagerstown resident Calvin Shrader, 77, who favored the ruling, said he believes the mandate will actually benefit taxpayers.
“People without insurance go to the emergency room, and taxpayers will foot the bill anyway,” he said. “Everybody should have insurance.”
Sabillasville, Md. resident Clark Delauter, 70, was against the ruling.
“It was a mistake to start with, and the ruling was a bigger mistake,” he said. “It’s going to cost the private sector a lot to pay for it.”
Steve Skipp, 69, of Hagerstown said he supported the ruling after listening to President Obama explain it.
“It sounds like a workable solution,” he said. “(Mitt) Romney’s not giving any plan. He just says he’ll repeal Obama’s plan, and, as I understand (it), Obama’s plan is just Romney’s plan in Massachusetts, so he doesn’t like his own plan.”