Donna Gorton, left, director of nursing for Hudson Headwater Health Network, looks over reports with Dr. Kathleen Pangia and medical assistant Angel Perkins at the Ticonderoga clinic..
PLATTSBURGH — Americans across the country cheered the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision upholding the Affordable Health Care Act.
Americans across the country also booed the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision upholding the Affordable Care Act.
Which side of the aisle one stood on seemed to largely be determined by one’s political persuasion, such was the case with Congressman Bill Owens, a Democrat, and his Republican challenger Matt Doheny.
The Supreme Court voted 5 to 4 to uphold most of President Obama’s health care law.
Chief Justice John G. Roberts, in the majority opinion, wrote that, “The Affordable Care Act’s requirement that certain individuals pay a financial penalty for not obtaining health insurance may be reasonably characterized as a tax. Because the Constitution permits such a tax, it is not our role to forbid it, or to pass upon its wisdom or fairness.”
“Now that the court has ruled, Democrats and Republicans must come together to implement the law, which includes making changes where appropriate to improve provisions that still need work,” Owens said. “The goal has always been to expand coverage, improve health-care outcomes, and reduce costs for patients and providers. Now the debate is over and it’s time to move forward with those goals in mind.”
The health care law will reduce federal deficits by $210 billion between 2012 and 2021, according to information Owens provided from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office.
New York has been working with the federal government to establish a statewide health insurance marketplace as part of the law. Roughly one million New Yorkers will gain health insurance coverage when the Affordable Care Act is fully implemented.
The state’s Division of Budget estimates $18 billion in savings over 10 years.
Owens stressed that the key provisions in the law that the Supreme Court preserved included preventing private insurers from placing lifetime limits on the coverage they provide, ensuring that the 10 million New York residents with private insurance coverage don’t have to worry about their coverage running out, banning insurance companies from dropping people from coverage when they get sick, keeping young adults on their parents plan until age 26, and ending pre-existing condition restrictions.
Matt Doheny, who hopes to unseat Owens, said the law will result in possibly one of the largest tax increases in American history. It will be a nightmare for the average upstate New Yorker, he said.
“My opponent has left behind a string of broken promises,” Doheny said. “He said ObamaCare would pay for itself. It doesn’t. He said it would protect Medicare for seniors. It doesn’t. He said it would allow ordinary Americans to keep the health care plan they like. It doesn’t.”
The Affordable Care Act convinced job creators to stand on the sidelines, he continued, something that has lead to the jobless recovery, while keeping the economy “teetering on the brink of another recession.”
“Americans know this bill is bad for our country,” Doheny said. “We must repeal this bill and that’s what I’ll do to put America back to work.”
For Nancy Brown, the court’s action reminds everyone that enabling all Americans to obtain affordable, quality health care is important. And for the 122 million Americans with pre-existing conditions, said the CEO of the American Heart Association, the decision will be met with a sigh of relief.
“No longer will they be denied coverage of charged high premiums because of their health status.”
In a nutshell, explained New York state AFL-CIO President Mario Cilento, the Affordable Care Act “finally puts patients over corporate profits.”
Gov. Andrew Cuomo thanked Obama and his administration, saying the Affordable Care Act will provide millions of Americans nationwide and more than one million New Yorkers access to health care.
“We will continue to move forward with implementing the health exchange that will lower coverage costs for New York’s businesses and help ensure that uninsured New Yorkers have access to health care.”