Local Officials Weigh In on Affordable Health Care Act
Local officials react to the Supreme Court's decision to uphold the Affordable Health Care Act
This morning, in a historic decision, the Supreme Court voted 5-4 to uphold the Affordable Health Care Act, the Obama's health care law enacted two years ago.
“The Supreme Court today sent a clear message that those reforms will go forward. By upholding the law, the Court validated the principle that all Americans should have access to health care," said U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse.
Supporters of the Act say it is the largest tax cut for health care in history. Opponents say it has raised taxes for the middle class, for those who do not elect to enroll in the qualifying programs.
Individuals who do not have insurance may incur tax penalties under the Act.
"The end of the day, we have three branches of government. The judiciary branch has now weighed in," said State Senator Louis DiPalma.
He said he hopes the Plan will lower the costs across the system by providing residents incentives to practice preventive care, which now must be offered to subscribers at no charge.
"In Rhode Island, we provide care regardless if a patient has insurance or not," said DiPalma. These costs are absorbed by tax payers, he said.
Also under the plan, insurers must allow children to remain on their parent's plan until they the age of 26. DiPalma said in this economic climate it is difficult for recent college graduates to enter the workforce so go without insurance.
DiPalma added while he hopes the Act will lower costs to residents, the actual savings is a large unknown.
"The jury will be out," said the State Senator, pardoning the pun.
There were three possible outcomes from today's vote -- The act could had been upheld, struck down, or amended.
The bill says it puts individuals, families and small business owners in control of their health care. It claims to reduce premium costs for millions of working families and small businesses by providing hundreds of billions of dollars in tax relief.
U.S. Senator Jack Reed said the decision is good news for all Americans.
“For too long, health insurance companies got away with increasing premiums and decreasing coverage, which resulted in higher costs and unfair practices," said Reed.
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