The Supreme Court on Thursday upheld the individual insurance requirement at the heart of President Barack Obama's historic health care overhaul.
The decision means the huge overhaul, still only partly in effect, will proceed and pick up momentum over the next several years, affecting the way that countless Americans receive and pay for their personal medical care. The ruling also hands Obama a campaign-season victory in rejecting arguments that Congress went too far in requiring most Americans to have health insurance or pay a penalty.
People across Central New York are responding to the Court's decision.
The President of the Onondaga County Medical Society issued a statement. Dr. David Page said, â??Whether you agree or disagree with the U. S. Supreme Courtâ??s decision, we must begin to focus immediately on what future changes can and should be made in our countryâ??s health care delivery system. The Onondaga County Medical Society and its member physicians support future steps that would allow all patients to have access to proper medical care at the right time in the right setting.â??
Onondaga Community College Professor of Political Science, Nina Tamrowski told CNY Central that the Supreme Court â??split the baby by upholding the individual mandateâ?? to buy health insurance and also upholding the ability of the states to decide whether or not to go along with the expansion of Medicaid.
The New York Director of the National Federation of Independent Business, Mike Durant said the, â??ruling guarantees that New York residents will have their most personal health care decisions made by politicians and bureaucrats in Washingtonâ?|â??
The President of Upstate Medical University, Dr. David Smith praised the ruling. "For this country to ratify and now move forward with the ability to cover almost all Americans is an incredibly positive step. It's good for economic development, it's good for small business. Realizing there are penalty phases and mandates, it's still the right thing to do." But Smith warned that the nation is ill equipped to handle the influx of new patients in the health care system. "This is actually catastrophic that we as a country right now do not have a strategic plan for health labor and what we're going to be doing in response to an aging population." Smith says the nations medical schools will need to graduate more medical professionals. He says Upstate needs to increase its graduating classes by 30 percent.
Central New York Congresswoman Ann Marie Buerkle said â??Throughout this entire process my concern has always been the ensure that all Americans have access to quality, affordable healthcare and that the sanctity of the doctor/patient relationship is upheld.â?? She added, â??I am currently reviewing the Supreme Court decision in its entirety to determine its impact on the people, hospitals and businesses in my district.â?? Buerkle has also invited her constituents to weigh in on her website: buerkle.house.gov
The Republican Party of New York State, said in part: "Today's Supreme Court decision sets the stakes for the November elections. Stopping Obamacare is now up to the American People. In order to end the out-of-control government spending, increased taxes, and incessant government overreach, we must elect a new President and a Republican controlled Senate."
Dan Danner, President and CEO of the National Federation of Independent Business said in a statement: â??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. We are concerned about the precedent that this will set in Congressâ?? ability to mandate other aspects of our lives, but we will move forward from today to continue to fight, harder than ever, for real health-care reform for our membership."
New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli issued the following statement: "The Supreme Court's decision to uphold the Affordable Care Act is a victory for New Yorkers and all Americans. The law has significant fiscal implications for our state, providing more than $1 billion annually in new Medicaid assistance and delivering affordable health coverage for New Yorkers. While we have not yet solved the challenge of balancing health care access and cost, today's decision moves us one step closer to reforming our nation's costly health care system."
State health officials in New York are moving forward with plans to establish an insurance exchange intended to help extend coverage to some 2.7 million New Yorkers without it.
In April, Gov. Andrew Cuomo issued an executive order to establish the statewide exchange, where individuals and small businesses could tap up to $2.6 billion in federal tax credits and subsidies under President Obama's national health care overhaul.
Under Cuomo's order, issued after legislation to establish the exchange stalled in the Republican-controlled state Senate, health officials are planning to show by January that the state is ready to participate in the program. Health Department spokesman Peter Constantakes says the goal is to have the exchange operating on Jan. 1, 2014.
(Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.)