Metro Uninsured React to Supreme Court Decision
KANSAS CITY, Mo. – The United States Supreme Court ruled that President Barack Obama’s sweeping health care reforms made into law in 2010 are constitutional on Thursday, and many – but not all – uninsured people in the metro say that’s good news.
The high court ruling means provisions will remain such as parents keeping kids on their insurance plans to age 26. It also means that in 2014, Americans will be required to get insurance or pay a penalty that starts at $95 a year or up to one percent of your income – whichever is higher.
Some of the uninsured say cost is a worry. Meryl Rowan is against the mandate.
“They’re forcing people to get it,” Rowan says. “It’s just more money I’m going to have to come up with that I don’t know where it’s going to come from.”
But Sheri Wood, the director of the Kansas City Free Health Clinic, thinks most of the uninsured patients the clinic serves will qualify for tax credits or expanded Medicaid coverage.
Wood sees the Supreme Court decision as a good thing for them.
“People will have better access to care and that’s what’s important because they’ll be healthier and our whole community will be,” Wood says.
Victoria Strong, who’s uninsured now, thinks she will qualify for expanded Medicaid coverage under the law.
“It would be great because I’d finally be able to go to a hospital,” said Strong. “I wouldn’t have to wait in line here at the free health clinic.”
But there is some uncertainty. The Supreme Court ruled that states can’t be required to participate in the expansion of Medicaid. Missouri and Kansas lawmakers could choose not to.
“There will be states the will turn that money down,” says Wood.
Strong adds, “I can only plead that they will help us. And they would help everyone be able to be serviced.”
Strong knows that the Supreme Court has paved the way for her to have something she hasn’t had in six years – health insurance.
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