Local Residents, Physicians React to Affordable Care Act Ruling
KREX News Room
GRAND JUNCTION, Colo.- The Supreme Court's ruling that the Affordable Care Act is constitutional is a historical one. It affects each and every citizen and the doctors who treat them.
Michael Pramenko, M.D., who is the past president of the Colorado Medical Society, said, “For the population as a whole in America, it’s good, because what happens when you don’t cover people with insurance? They wait and wait and wait until they are really sick and then they go to the most expensive place to get their health care, which is an emergency room. That’s not good for the patient and it’s not good for the system.”
It will also impact hospitals, like the one Chris Thomas operates. Thomas, the CEO and president of Community Hospital, said, “We’re relieved that they made a decision so now we can start diving into the health care reform and making sure we understand what’s included.”
A main provision of the new health reform states that insurers must cover pre-existing conditions starting in 2014.
Tracy Smith, a Colorado Mesa University student, said, “With my pre-existing condition, I don’t even need extra care. It’s just that they mark me off as uninsurable because I have the condition.”
“The real meaning for patients is those folks that have a preexisting medical condition that they have not been able to get health insurance, this sets the process in place to help change that,” said Pramenko.
The reform also means young adults can stay on their parents' insurance plans until they are 26 years old.
“I have five children and three of them don’t have health insurance because they are working for employers that don’t supply it,” said Kristy Reuss, the department head for health sciences at CMU.
The new plan aims to extend health insurance coverage to the millions of people who don't have it. However, some worry the influx of patients could present a problem in the future. “Who’s going to see these folks? We are still going to have a problem with primary care physicians and mid-level providers. We need to improve the access,” said Thomas.
Pramenko questioned, “Do we need to train more primary care docs, specifically, and a few docs and some other specialties, as well as increase the number of nurse practitioners? Yes.”
Health care providers say they will work together closely as we enter this next chapter of American history.