Although the U.S. Supreme Court yesterday ruled most of the provisions of Obamacare to be constitutional, the 5-4 ruling didn't diminish the controversy. Republicans in general still oppose it while Democrats stand behind the president. Most conservatives are livid about the ruling while liberals embrace it.
Congressman Lou Barletta, whose district includes Carbon County, termed the high court decision, "a victory for big government and a defeat for individual freedom."
He added, "For two years, we've seen the devastation President Obama's health care law has leveled on our economy. Its confusing provisions and mandates are making it harder for small business owners to grow, expand, and hire, and that has slowed economic recovery."
He continued, "Small businesses will have to pay more for health insurance for their employees, and many have said they will stop offering coverage, which means more people will have to buy their own health insurance coverage."
Barletta said the Congressional Budget Office estimates 20 million Ameircans could lose their employer-sponsored insurance because of Obamacare once it is fully implemented in 2014.
He added that Obamacare will harm senior citizens because it cuts $500 million from Medicare.
"Seniors will have their healthcare decisions made by a panel of 15 unelected bureaucrats who will determine whether or not a doctor who accepts Medicare gets paid to perform procedures or exams," the congressman remarked.
Lisa Johnson, vice president of public relations for Blue Mountain Health System, commented on the court ruling.
"The Blue Mountain Health System works continually to be one of the lowest cost, highest quality health care providers in the region, which prepared us for any way in which the Supreme Court would have ruled on the HCR law," said Johnson.
"Our system is well underway of completing phase 1 of meeting Meaningful Use, in particular, spending $14 million for the implementation of Electronic Medical Records and Computerized Physician Order Entry which will improve quality, safety and efficiency and reduce health disparities in delivering health care," Johnson added.
We will continue to partner with larger, tertiary health care organizations to prepare for phase 2 of Health Care Reform."
The Pennsylvania Medical Society said although it supports Obamacare, it isn't a cure-all for the ailing health care system.
Two important issues not addressed are medical liability reform and Medicare payment reform. "These two issues have plagued health care in the past, and will continue to do so in the future. By ignoring these two elements, the ACA is only a partial fix for what ails health care access," said Marilyn J. Heine, MD, president of the Medical Society.
The American College of Emergency Physicians shared the same view.
Dr. David Seaberg, president, said the law includes medical liability dispute resolution alternatives, but that the scope is extremely limited, which limits its potential effectiveness. "America's medical liability system is broken and without true medical liability reform, patients' access to lifesaving care will continue to suffer," he said.
Another flaw he sees is the Indpendent Payment Advisory Board created under Obamacare.
"As the nation moves forward with implementing the health care reform law, we urge the Senate to follow the lead of the House in repealing the Independent Payment Advisory Board, which was includedin the law, he said.
"The IPAB panel does not have any accountability to Congress, health care providers or the public and will harm Medicare patients' access to medical care."
Vehemently opposed to Obamacare is the Lehighton 9/12 Project, which attended rallies in Washington D.C. to oppose it.
Sandy Dellicker, president of the Lehighton 9/12 Project, said in a prepared statement:
"The Supreme Court's decision to uphold the healthcare mandate, affirms the truth we have long known.
"This administration has leveled the highest taxation on every American in history for simply living and breathing.
"The President has once again sold his plan to the American public by telling everyone a lie, the lie that this mandate is not a tax.
"According to the Supreme Court, our President has again deceived his fellow Americans, this time by implementing a tax. He has put us on a path to a single payer healthcare system, a system that will, indeed, impact our ability to keep our current healthcare and doctors.
"The fight for our liberty is not over. Every American should be appalled that our government will now tax us for simply being alive. This puts us all at risk of being taxed for anything and everything at the government's whim. The middle class was promised tax relief, instead we got massive taxation under the guise of affordable health care.
"It is anything but affordable. The 2012 election could not be more important and the remedy to this travesty now rests on the American voter. If we don't vote for someone that will repeal Obamacare, then we will get what we deserve.
"God bless our children and grandchildren, because they are the real losers if we don't turn this ship around.
"The fight has just begun! Onward!"