Mainers React to Supreme Court Ruling
As one of 26 states that fought President Obama’s sweeping health care reform, Maine would appear to have come out on the losing end Thursday morning, but for some, the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling was a victory.”I’m among those breathing a major sigh of relief,” said Lenard Kaye, director of The Center on Aging at the University of Maine in Orono.Kaye has a vested interest in caring for Maine’s older generations, which he feels the act caters to.”Affordable care and this act, I think, means very good things for us into the future,” said Kaye.In the short term, though, head of Eastern Maine Health Care Systems, Michelle Hood, isn’t sure the impact will be so noticeable for providers here.”Most of us are already working on reinventing our organizations and the way that we go about delivering health care,” said Hood.She expects the verdict will, however, jumpstart insurance companies in the state that had been waiting for a decision before they acted.”It certainly does that. Insurance companies and others will begin to change their business model in order to anticipate the impact of the Affordable Care Act on them, and so that, of course, will have an impact on us,” said Hood.But now with the meat of the law approved, many are looking to see how the court’s ruling on another one of its provisions will affect Maine.”Where it will make a difference in this state is that the Supreme Court said the state does not have to expand Medicaid,” said Amy Fried, a political science professor at UMaine.The act had essentially given states an ultimatum: expand Medicaid or risk losing federal funding for the program. With that out of the picture, Fried said anyone who would have benefited from it will have to get insured another way.”That is something that I think probably the Obama administration is not exactly sure how it would work. If they fell under the mandate, they certainly, however, would be eligible for subsidies. All of this points to the complexities of the law and that it really wasn’t and isn’t a simple law,” said Fried.But after more than two years of battling between left and right, its supporters hope it’s made getting health care in the state easier.