Supreme Court Ruling on “Obamacare” Brings Local Reaction
The U.S. Supreme Court ruling to uphold the Affordable Health Care Act brings responses from Maple Grove area hospitals, clinics and a local lawmaker.
The U.S. Supreme Court upheld Thursday the constitutionality of the "individual mandate," the centerpiece of the Affordable Health Care Act that President Obama signed into law last year.
Five of the nine justices agreed that the key to the act—the requirement that people either buy health insurance or pay a tax penalty—is a kind of tax, which Congress is allowed to impose using its taxing power, according to the Bloomberg News-operated SCOTUSblog.
Because that mandate survived, the Court did not need to decide which other parts of the statute were constitutional, except for a provision that required states to comply with new eligibility requirements for Medicaid or risk losing their funding.
On that question, the Court held that the provision is constitutional as long as states would only lose new funds if they didn't comply with the new requirements, rather than all of their funding.
Other details of the high court's ruling on what is often referred to as "Obamacare" are still being examined.
Once news broke that the U.S. Supreme Court ruled to uphold the Affordable Health Care Act, Maple Grove Patch asked some local health care providers what the decision means for them. Local politicians, such as Congressmen Erik Paulsen, also released a statement.
No response has been received directly from Maple Grove Hospital, but both Fairview and North Memorial are Maple Grove Hospital partners and have clinic locations in Maple Grove. Additional responses will be updated, if received.
Here’s what they had to say:
“While I respect the Court’s decision, it doesn’t change the fact that the health care law’s policy is flawed and remains very unpopular with the majority of Americans. The 2,700 page law was imprudently crafted in a way which threatens good private coverage, robs $500 billion from seniors, and leaves in its wake a legacy of debt for our children and grandchildren.
I remain opposed to the $29 billion new tax on medical device innovation which threatens 10% of a workforce that accounts for over 432,000 American jobs.
Americans deserve a government that works together towards meaningful health care reform. Unfortunately, today’s ruling does not bring us closer to that goal, and only says that Americans must now face a choice between either paying a massive new tax or higher insurance premiums. I will continue working to find common sense, patient-centered solutions that actually lower health care costs for families and small businesses.”
Brian Barnes, the DFL candidate in the 3rd Congressional District, released a statement as well, which in part said:
“The legacy of Jim Ramstad and Paul Wellstone’s mental health parity is preserved – for now. I look forward to working in Washington to improve a constitutionally sound law while ensuring provisions that are overwhelmingly popular, even with Republicans, stay in it.”
Thursday’s Supreme Court decision affirmed the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act. The Act affects millions of citizens such as the mother who keeps medical access for her child, the cancer patient no longer facing a lifetime cap on life saving treatment and the senior citizen not having to worry about the return of the Medicare donut hole. Pre-existing conditions are no longer cause for denial of coverage. Still in place is the requirement that 85% of healthcare premiums are spent on healthcare. Small businesses won’t lose the tax credits the law provided."
“Overall, we are pleased that the Supreme Court has released their decision because now we know the context in which we move forward. Fairview remains committed to transforming care and payment systems to improve care, improve patient experience and reduce the total cost of care. For us, it is all about creating greater value for those we serve.
We’ve had great success working with local payers in our market to support changes in care delivery and payment, and we intend to continue those efforts. As one of the 32 Medicare Pioneer Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs), our ongoing work also will include delivering greater value to Medicare beneficiaries. These are just a few examples of how we are and will remain engaged in health reform.
On behalf of all those we serve, we will continue to seek additional ways to work with patients, families, employers and payers—both commercial health plans and government payers—to change the way health care is delivered and paid for here and across the country. “ - Chuck Mooty, interim CEO, Fairview Health Services
“Healthcare is currently in a state of transformation and having some resolution will better allow us, and most healthcare organizations, to plan for the immediate future. Through it all, North Memorial is committed to serving our patients with compassionate, remarkable care.” - Wendy Jerde, North Memorial Public Relations.
"Today’s ruling by the Supreme Court of the United States to uphold the Affordable Care Act passed by Congress in 2010 is significant news in a healthcare marketplace where reform is not only needed, it is already occurring independent of court rulings and politics.
As I have written about previously, the traditional, volume-based fee-for-service model of healthcare is broken. Our payers (government, businesses, families and individuals) are demanding changes in the reimbursement of healthcare services. As providers, we are searching for ways to achieve the “Triple Aim” in healthcare: healthy communities with great experiences and outcomes for individuals provided at a sustainable cost.
Healthcare in the hypercompetitive Twin Cities marketplace is moving away from rewarding volume only and instead is focusing on rewarding value (clinical outcomes and cost, in addition to volume). Park Nicollet is already moving substantially in this direction. In 2012, more than half of our projected margin will come from "shared savings” programs, with reimbursement based on the clinical outcomes we achieve and satisfaction of our patients. It is changes like this that will support our ability to change our clinic delivery processes to better support our patients.
The Affordable Care Act is a first step in providing insurance to uninsured Americans and in protecting people who have pre-existing medical conditions when they seek medical insurance. It does not substantially change the work we are already doing at Park Nicollet, however. Government, business and families continue to struggle under the cost of health care. It is our obligation to work with our partners, public and private, to make health care more affordable”. – A memo from CEO, David Abelson, MD, sent to Park Nicollet employees June 28.
"I believe health reform is good for our country. In the long run, it will be less expensive than caring for individuals through current charity-care policies," said Ken Paulus, CEO and president, Allina Health.
Are you wondering what others are saying? Check out our poll and related comments.