Locals react to Supreme Court's decision to uphold health care reform law


by Karma Dickerson


Posted on June 28, 2012 at 6:33 PM

Updated Thursday, Jun 28 at 7:21 PM

(WHAS11) -- Thursday's ruling has created some confusion about what exactly is involved in the health care reform law.

This health care debate has certainly been heated but it's also been confusing. For many it's hard to make head or tails of what the law means. 

It's very dense but we spoke with a University of Louisville law professor who sorted out some of the key points for us and some local people in the health care industry about what this decision is going to mean for many people.

However you get insurance, you're supposed to have it, and if you don't is the key... what happens if you don't”,  University of Louisville Law Professor Sam Marcossen said.

The Affordable Care Act says that means you pay up.  And on Thursday the Supreme Court said that is constitutional.  University of Louisville law professor Sam Marcossen explains that according to the highest court of the land.  The controversial individual mandate requiring all Americans to have health insurance is not a valid use of the Congress’s power under the Commerce Clause.

“But what they can do is say you're going to have to pay some taxes if you don't do what we think you ought to do”,  Marcossen said.

It's on that basis, the federal government’s ability to impose taxes that the law stands.  Nevertheless, most people we spoke with weren't happy about the decision.

Although it’s not unheard of.   Home purchases, and charitable donations are behaviors supported by the federal government and therefore lower your taxes, just like retirement savings is encouraged, so withdrawing from your 401k early brings tax penalties.

Kentucky Voices for Health says the law's not perfect, but like health care giant Humana they're excited about the consumer-friendly provisions like allowing young adults to stay on their parent's insurance until they're 26, and expanding coverage to everyone regardless of whether they have pre-existing conditions, potentially helping 600,000 uninsured Kentuckians.

“What it doesn't do is effectively address the biggest problem in our Health care system and that's costs are too high and they're rising too fast”, says Tom Noland, Senior Vice President of Corporate Communications for Humana.

But Noland says that the decision was still a good thing because insurers like Humana can focus on their clients, now that there's more certainty in the health care field, at least for now.

“I think we've seen the end of legal challenges. I think there are going to be there are going to be some fiscal challenges, will it cut costs? “, asks Marcossen.