NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — New Yorkers are divided over the high court’s long-awaited decision on the future of health care in the United States.
On Thursday, the Supreme Court upheld the key parts of President Barack Obama’s health care law, requiring all Americans to have insurance by 2014.
The ruling means different things for different people: some may be paying more, some may be paying less and depending on your individual situation, that determines how this will affect you.
But one thing is for certain, the ruling affects everyone.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg called the high court’s approval of the law “democracy in action” and said he doesn’t expect to see any immediate changes in health coverage.
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“I think by and large, the health care system has already adapted to these rules and regulations anyway, so it’s hard to see that anything is going to change tomorrow,” he said. “It’s just now there is no argument, this is the law. Congress had a right to pass it, the president had a right to sign it and now let’s get on and make it work.”
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The law is designed so that those who can afford health insurance will offset the costs for those who cannot, but regardless of income level everyone will have it.
There was a sigh of relief at the Ryan Community Health Clinic on the Upper West Side among some patients when the decision came down.
“My mom is someone who’s not insured and it’s a big deal for her because she’s getting older, she’s got health concerns and she’s afraid to go to the doctor because she’s afraid of the bills,” patient Farah Belliard said. “So this is a huge step.”
“I’ve been very anxious about it because if was struck down, there’s 20 percent of my medical bills I would have to pay if something catastrophic happens and you go bankrupt,” a patient identified only as Carol said.
Dr. Daniel Baxter, who runs the clinic, calls the Supreme Court’s decision a critical one for his patients and his center.
“Patients’ lives are going to be saved, people are going to be able to get prenatal care, they’re going to be able to get their blood pressure checked,” Baxter said. “We will receive funding through the Affordable Care Act which will allow us to increase our services.”
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Dr. Dennis Charney, head of the Mount Sinai School of Medicine, said the decision not only provides insurance for the uninsured but encourages a proactive approach to taking care of yourself.
“We see that more patients will be able to get preventative care which will enable them to have lower rates of diabetes and obesity and heart disease,” Charney said.
But the law will affect each person in a different way.
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Maribel Guillet, the mother of a 6-year-old boy with special needs, said healthcare shouldn’t be one size fits all.
“Like for me and other parents with handicapped kids we’re going to go through a lot,” Guillet said. “It’s not fair.”
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The court also decided to uphold other components of the law including requiring insurance companies to cover preexisting conditions and allowing children to stay on their parents’ insurance until age 26.
The government’s required expansion of Medicaid to cover millions of additional low-income Americans was struck down. However, the court said it can still be allowed so long as states are permitted to opt out of it and not be forced to join.
Supporters of the law will join local leaders and health care advocates at a rally at Foley Square at 5:30 p.m. Thursday.
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