Reactions to the Supreme Court ruling on health care, which upheld the Affordable Care Act (ACA) this morning, are mixed — especially from those in political camps. But what does the public in general and the medical community say about the announcement?
For some who have experienced the benefits of the health reform law, opinions stem from personal success stories.
Becky Morefield, a stay-at-home mom with two disabled teenagers also praises the decision, and told the Associated Press, “It [the ACA] was a blessing for us. People who’ve not had the ongoing medical things we’ve had don’t understand.”
Morefield’s son Tucker hit a lifetime limitation while on private insurance during care for his cerebral palsy. Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, Tucker was able to live another 15 months with insurance coverage before he died at home. The law gave Tucker the care he needed to live out his final days comfortably.
Had the law existed when Carlton Grimmett’s diabetic wife was hospitalized, she may have lived a longer life, he says. Grimmett lost his health insurance after his job started to outsource, forcing his wife to stop seeing her primary care physicians. Had the health care law been around then, Grimmett would have been eligible to receive a tax credit so he could afford coverage.
“He’s listening to the voice of Jehovah God,” he said of Obama’s effort to help the poor. “I’m grateful for the hope and opportunity to have health insurance, not just myself but all people who can’t afford health insurance. It’s a great thing that has taken place today.”
A few Republicans also view the law favorably, as is the case with Bev Veals, a woman whose breast cancer treatments forced her family into bankruptcy and foreclosure.
“As a conservative, I believed if you can’t make your way, you don’t get your way. Now I’ve cost more medically than I will ever be able to make. I’ve changed my political stance because of this,” she said. “It doesn’t do our economy any good when we have so many people having to file for medical bankruptcy.”
According to Insurance Journal, Janet Trautwein, CEO of the National Association of Health Underwriters said, “This ruling offers some clarity on the future of the health insurance industry and allows American individuals, families and businesses to adjust to the law. While we still have concerns that PPACA does not address the true drivers of health insurance costs in this country, and the law is having a huge and costly compliance burden on American employers, it is our responsibility as industry leaders to move forward within the constraints of the law to help Americans access high-quality, affordable healthcare”
Dan Danner, President of the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) said, “While we are certainly disappointed, NFIB respects the decision to uphold the individual mandate by the Supreme Court. Clearly this mandate has now become a tax on all Americans and a broken campaign promise from President Obama not to raise taxes,” he said.
A statement from the Physicians for a National Health Program read, “Although the Supreme Court has upheld the Affordable Care Act (ACA), the unfortunate reality is that the law, despite its modest benefits, is not a remedy to our health care crisis.”
Medical associations react
The American Medical Association released a statement supporting the decision to upheld the health care law:
“This decision protects important improvements,such as ending coverage denials due to pre-existing conditions and lifetime caps on insurance, and allowing the 2.5 million young adults up to age 26 who gained coverage under the law to stay on their parents’ health insurance policies. The expanded health care coverage upheld by the Supreme Court will allow patients to see their doctors earlier rather than waiting for treatment until they are sicker and care is more expensive. The decision upholds funding for important research on the effectiveness of drugs and treatments and protects expanded coverage for prevention and wellness care, which has already benefited about 54 million Americans.”
“The health reform law upheld by the Supreme Court simplifies administrative burdens, including streamlining insurance claims, so physicians and their staff can spend more time with patients and less time on paperwork. It protects those in the Medicare ‘donut hole,’ including the 5.1 million Medicare patients who saved significantly on prescription drugs in 2010 and 2011. These important changes have been made while maintaining our American system with both private and public insurers.”
The American Heart Association said:
“The historic decision handed down today will benefit America’s heart health for decades to come. Questions about the Affordable Care Act’s constitutionality have overshadowed the law’s progress. With this ruling, that uncertainty has finally been put to rest. (…) The court’s action in support of the ACA helps remind us what’s really important – enabling all Americans to obtain affordable, quality health care. We can now build on the significant advances already achieved under the act and truly transform our healthcare system.
“For the 122 million Americans with pre-existing conditions, including the 7.3 million with some form of heart disease or stroke who are uninsured, this decision will likely be met with a great sigh of relief. No longer will they be denied coverage or charged higher premiums because of their health status. Beginning in 2014, these Americans will finally be able to attain the lifesaving care they desperately need at a price they can afford.”
The American Academy of Pediatrics, which represents 60,000 pediatricians in the U.S. , also stood behind the Court’s ruling in a statement.
“Today, the Supreme Court upheld a law that invests in children’s health from the ground up,” said to CBS News AAP President Dr. Robert W. Block. “Pediatricians have already seen firsthand that health reform works. Since the Affordable Care Act took effect, millions of children with pre-existing conditions gained health care coverage; 14 million children with private insurance received preventive health services with no co-pay; and 3.1 million more young adults gained coverage through their parents’ plans.”
Representatives of the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists said it supported the Supreme Court’s decision:
“The Affordable Care Act helps ensure all Americans have access to affordable coverage with important consumer protections and benefits, including comprehensive maternity coverage and well-woman care,” said ACOG president Dr. James T. Breeden. “We urge all states to act swiftly to implement these important access and coverage guarantees.”