2016 GOP hopefuls say ballot box now only way to get rid of Obamacare

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WASHINGTON — White House hopefuls quickly began responding Thursday to the Supreme Court’s 6-3 decision to uphold Obamacare subsidies, with several Republican candidates suggesting that the only way to get rid of the health care law is to elect a Republican president.

Thursday’s reaction is a preview of what will likely be a rallying cry for many GOP candidates through the nomination season as a way to excite the conservative base.

Democrats, meanwhile, hailed the court’s decision, which held that the law authorized federal tax credits for eligible Americans living not only in states with their own exchanges but in the 34 states with federal exchanges, a major win for the Obama administration.

South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham said he was best positioned to repeal the law if elected President.

“Today’s decision only reinforces why we need a President who will bring about real reform that repeals Obamacare and replaces it with a plan that expands consumer choice, increases coverage, delivers better value for the dollar, and gives states more control, without stifling job creation,” Graham said. “As President, this is the kind of reform I would put in place.”

But Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal — who on Wednesday became the 13th Republican to announce his candidacy — said he was the best candidate to offer an alternative to the law.

“Republicans must outline a clear and coherent vision for health care to win the trust of the American people to repeal Obamacare. And right now, I am the only candidate to put forward a comprehensive plan,” Jindal said in a statement.

Former Texas Gov. Rick Perry said the next President must tackle the health care law, reiterating calls for the law to be “repealed and replaced.”

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush said that if elected, “I would make fixing our broken health care system one of my top priorities.”

More broadly, Republicans panned the decision, sticking to arguments that the Affordable Care Act is a bad law.

Former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina dubbed it “crony capitalism.”

Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Florida, said it was hurting “millions of Americans.”

And former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee argued the court “can’t legislate from the bench.”

But the small field of Democrats declared the fight over after many years in court. Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, the Democratic frontrunner, hailed the decision and said health insurance “should be affordable and available to all.”

Former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley praised the close of what he called the “ideological” fight against Obamacare.

And Sen. Bernie Sanders said the court upheld a “common-sense” reading of the law.