Supreme Court Upholds Health Care Reform, Responses Mixed

In a historic decision today, the Supreme Court upheld a critical piece of the health care reform President Obama’s Affordable Care Act. The piece of health care reform, which is also commonly referred to as “ObamaCare,” requires all Americans to acquire health insurance. The decision also upholds an individual tax mandate for individuals who do not buy into medical insurance coverage.

The response to the Supreme Court decision on health care reform has been mixed.

As CBS News reports, Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell disagrees with the Supreme Court ruling:

“Today’s decision makes one thing clear: Congress must act to repeal this misguided law. Obamacare has not only limited choices and increased health care costs for American families, it has made it harder for American businesses to hire.”

In a press release released today, the National Retail Federation echoes McConnell’s sentiments:

“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.”

The National Retail Federation is the world’s largest retail trade association and the voice of retail worldwide. According to the press release, the group has been working closely with lawmakers since the Affordable Care Act emerged in 2010 in the hopes that the new health care reform would help make health insurance coverage more accessible and affordable. However, the group believes that the law as stands is “riddled with punitive mandates and penalties that were as unreasonable as they were unworkable.”

“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 health care; 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.”

The National Retail Foundation plans to redouble its efforts to repeal the recent health care reform.

However, not all groups have negative feelings about the Supreme Court’s upholding of the health care reform law. As Meka Sales, a public health professional from Charlotte, NC, told CBS News:

“We were totally unprepared for such a favorable decision. I think tears were on deck for a disappointment but what an incredible surprise. The room was filled with complete joy and a sense of justice for those that will have access to health care in the future.”

The American Medical Association (AMA) in a press release today also supports the Supreme Court’s upholding health care reform. Founded in 1847, the AMA’s mission is to promote the art and science of medicine and the betterment of public health. The AMA believes that health care reform will be beneficial to public health:

“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.”

Furthermore, although groups in opposition to health care reform believe the new law will cause undue burdens on individuals and small business, the AMA believes otherwise:

“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 Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), an organization that which represents 60,000 pediatricians, also supports the Supreme Court’s decision to uphold health care reform. As AAP President Robert W. Block, MD, FAAP, states in a press release:

“Today, the Supreme Court upheld a law that invests in children’s health from the ground up. The Academy endorsed the Affordable Care Act because it addresses the same ‘A-B-C’ goals that are entrenched in our mission and in our 82 years of child health advocacy: providing all children in this country with Access to health care services, age-appropriate Benefits to meet their unique needs, and high-quality, affordable health care Coverage.”

Furthermore, the AAP believes that health care reform will help keep children healthy:

“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. These are just a few of the law’s investments in child health, with many more set to take effect over the next few years as affirmed by today’s decision.”

What do you think about the Supreme Court’s decision to uphold the health care reform law?