Ruling pleases local health care officials
STERLING – CGH Medical Center’s CEO said Thursday that the Supreme Court’s ruling to uphold the Affordable Care Act gives the hospital direction.
“I think it’s a good thing,” Ed Andersen said. “I’m glad that they ruled and made a definitive decision. It’s kind of been in limbo for the last year and a half.”
The decision will do a lot to improve coverage, and is good for patients, Andersen said.
“Health care is expensive. Not having it is detrimental to the individual,” Andersen said. “This will give an opportunity for some people that feel that health care isn’t affordable ... for low-income individuals, the government will subsidize purchase of insurance.”
Because more people are going to have coverage, the demand for services, such as diagnostic testing and outpatient surgery, will go up, and people who have avoided emergency care because they have no insurance now “may take advantage of that,” he said.
Dave Schreiner, KSB’s CEO and president, said the law had some “great provisions” that everyone considers positive – for example, the provision that allows children to remain on their parents’ insurance plan until age 26.
He is pleased that more people will now be covered. “Our goal is to have people covered so they receive care at the time they should.”
The law could mean a little more money for KSB and others.
By 2014, “some of the care that we might be providing for no reimbursement might be paid back fractionally,” Schreiner said.
Beth Fiorini, public health administrator for the Whiteside County Health Department, also called the ruling “really good news.”
“I think it’s great,” Fiorini said. “People understand that this is a good thing. In the end, this is much fairer. If people have a way to pay us, we can stay open.
“It’s a good thing for the country; a good thing for health care. If people give it a chance, they will find out this is a good thing.”
A local attorney said the decision will affect small businesses in different ways.
“A lot were concerned they may have to institute coverage they weren’t previously able to do,” said Tony Miller, a partner at Ward, Murray, Pace & Johnson. “Other smaller ones may receive benefit if they already were.”
Small businesses with fewer than 25 employees and that have an average employee compensation of less than $50,000 may benefit, Miller said. If these businesses already were providing coverage of at least 50 percent of premium, they can apply and get a tax credit.
That was one of the provisions that would have been repealed, he said.
“For ones that provide insurance and fall into small business, this continues to be a good thing.”
Miller also is a Sauk Valley Area Chamber of Commerce board member. He said he has heard from some small businesses that have expressed concerns about being required to buy insurance or pay a penalty.
Overall, Miller said the decision to uphold the legislation gives employers the opportunity to plan ahead.
“It gives a little more certainty to an uncertain decision.”
John Milles, 71, lives south of Rock Falls. He owned John’s Bar, now The Cooler, in Rock Falls for 26 years.
He said he wasn’t able to offer his employees health care – it was just too expensive, he said.
He called the Supreme Court’s decision “fantastic.”
Legislative leaders weigh in
The Sauk Valley’s congressional leaders also responded to the Supreme Court’s decision to uphold the Affordable Care Act:
–“Like many folks throughout Illinois’ 17th Congressional District, I’m disappointed by today’s ruling, but the fact is that the president’s health care law will cost trillions of dollars while doing absolutely nothing to address the rising cost of health care.”
U.S. Rep. Bobby Schilling, R-Colona, 17th District
– “The Supreme Court has ruled, and now our leaders in Washington need to move on. To me, health care isn’t about politics. It’s personal. I lost my brother when his insurance company wouldn’t cover the drug he needed. We need to continue working to improve health care. But most importantly, our country needs to focus on strengthening our economy.”
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