Aftermath of SCOTUS Healthcare Reform Ruling: The Country Reacts

Friday, June 29th, 2012
This post was written by Patricia Donovan

From retailers to religious groups to every sector of the healthcare industry, reactions were immediate, passionate and divided to yesterday’s Supreme Court validation of the Affordable Care Act — a.k.a. Obamacare.

The highest court in the country upheld the constitutionality of the individual mandate built into the healthcare reform bill, but rejected the law’s right to penalize states that choose not to participate in new Medicaid programs by taking away their existing Medicaid funding.

Many states and healthcare organizations were waiting for the ruling before deciding whether to implement the many programs spelled out in the Affordable Care Act.

Here are excerpts from official statements published around the Web yesterday:

American Medical Association

“…We are pleased that this decision means millions of Americans can look forward to the coverage they need to get healthy and stay healthy….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…” (Jeremy A. Lazarus, MD, president)

Restore America’s Voice Foundation

“The Court threaded a Constitutional needle in redefining the individual mandate as a federal tax. It’s disappointing but not the final recourse for the American people. Now it is time for the legislature to do its job representing the will of the American people for full and final repeal of this ill-considered legislation…It must be repealed in its entirety or Senate Democrats will have to go home and explain their flawed definition of faithful representation. If they won’t represent the will of the people, then how have they earned the right to serve?” (Ken Hoagland, chairman)

Kaiser Permanente

“Today’s Supreme Court decision on the federal healthcare reform law resolves much of the legal uncertainty over implementation of the law’s provisions. While acknowledging that political uncertainty still remains, in the interest of our members we plan to continue our extensive reform implementation efforts, which began two years ago when the law first became effective. We want our members to know that they need not be concerned about any disruption of their coverage resulting from the Supreme Court’s decision today…” (Unattributed, published as “Our Point of View”)

America’s Health Insurance Plans’ (AHIP)

“…Health plans will continue to work with policymakers on both sides of the aisle to make coverage more affordable, give families and employers peace of mind, and promote choice and competition. Health plans also will continue to lead efforts to reform the payment and delivery system to promote prevention and wellness, help patients and physicians manage chronic disease, and reward quality care.” (Karen Ignagni, AHIP president and CEO)

Primary Care Development Corporation (PCDC)

“We are enormously pleased that the Supreme Court recognized the importance of the Affordable Care Act to millions of Americans and upheld the law, though it is disappointing that the ruling also weakened a provision supporting Medicaid expansion. (Ronda Kotelchuck, CEO)

National Association of Public Hospitals and Health Systems (NAPH)

“We are pleased by the Court’s decision today to uphold the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA’s) individual mandate, which will broadly expand health care coverage. We also are pleased that the decision retains other positive elements of the ACA, including initiatives to promote innovation, preventive care, and community-based collaborations. But our initial assessment of the decision leaves us concerned by its potential to limit Medicaid expansion, which could strand millions of our most disadvantaged people without access to basic health care coverage.” (Bruce Siegel, MD, MPH, NAPH president and chief executive officer)

National Retail Federation:

“As the voice of retailers of all types and sizes, we’re disappointed by today’s ruling. The Court missed an opportunity to redress the many shortcomings of the law. As it stands, the law wrongly focuses more on penalizing employers and the private sector than reducing health costs. For these reasons, NRF has been a consistent skeptic of the Affordable Care Act….Although the Court upheld the law’s constitutionality, many problems remain: it penalizes employers too much; it doesn’t do enough to reduce the cost of healthcare; and it is unreasonably complicated and difficult to implement and administer…This law will have a dramatic, negative impact on every employer and employee in the United States and further constrain job creation and economic growth.” NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay

National Lutheran Church — Missouri Synod

“In light of today’s ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court on the constitutionality of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), we remain opposed to the controversial birth control mandate, which is one of the requirements included in the law. The Court’s decision today guarantees that we will continue to bring awareness to the threat to religious liberty represented by the birth control mandate, which requires virtually all health plans, including those of religious organizations, to cover birth control drugs and products that could cause the death of the unborn. We are opposed to the birth control mandate because it runs counter to the biblical truth of the sanctity of human life and creates a conflict of conscience for religious employers and insurers, who face steep penalties for non-compliance based upon their religious convictions. (Rev. Dr. Matthew C. Harrison, president)

American Hospital Association (AHA)

“Today’s historic decision lifts a heavy burden from millions of Americans who need access to health coverage. The promise of coverage can now become a reality. The decision means that hospitals now have much-needed clarity to continue on their path toward transformation.” (AHA President and CEO Rich Umbdenstock)

Blue Cross Blue Shield Association (BCSA)

“BCBSA has long been committed to ensuring everyone has high quality, affordable healthcare coverage. We will continue to implement the law while working with policymakers to fix provisions that will increase costs, such as the health insurance tax that will add hundreds of dollars to families’ premiums each year. On behalf of our 100 million members, Blue companies will continue to lead efforts in their local communities — partnering with doctors, nurses, hospitals and others — to rein in costs, improve quality, help people stay well and better manage their care when they need it.” (President and CEO Scott P. Serota)

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