Locals Weigh in on Health Care Reform

By: Liz Hayes Email
By: Liz Hayes Email

All eyes are on the Supreme Court, awaiting their decision on the constitutionality of President Barack Obama's Affordable Care Act.

The Supreme Court decision could play out in a number of ways. The justices could uphold the act, repeal it in its entirety, or keep parts of it.

No matter what the nine justices decide, it will have a major impact on all Americans.

President Obama made history when he signed the Affordable Care Act into law in 2010. But immediately some called for its repeal, arguing it was unconstitutional, specifically the mandate that all Americans get insured or pay a fine.

That part of the law won't go into effect until 2014, but other provisions are happening now.

Provisions include not denying coverage to people with pre-existing medical conditions, and allowing young adults to stay on their parents' health plans until 26.

In downtown Wausau Monday, NewsChannel 7 found mixed reactions to the law.

Justin Seis, 23, says he can't afford health insurance, and thinks the country needs universal health care.

"My biggest issue is that it didn't go far enough. I would have rather seen at least a public option," Seis said.

Herman Burback hopes the Supreme Court upholds the law.

"I think its good for people rather than the insurance companies," he said.

But his daughter, Dawn Weimar, says the Supreme Court should repeal the Affordable Care Act.

"I think they have existing mechanisms," she said. "They don't need to create more bureaucratic structure to provide care for the poor."

One existing mechanism is the Bridge Community Health Clinic in Wausau.

It treats anyone regardless of insurance, and works on a sliding fee scale. It also has staff that sit down with patients, explaining the payment process.

The clinic received $3.4 million through the Affordable Care Act to expand its dental unit.

"I think it has some real reach in our community, the fact that we are getting this expanded dental unit is is one of the ways the Affordable Care Act is going to impact low income people in our community," said Laura Scudiere, the clinic's executive director.

She says if the act is overturned they'll still get the money, but other community health clinics may be out of luck.

About 17 percent of Americans do not have insurance.

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