The U.S. Supreme Courthas upheld the heart of President Barack Obama's health care overhaul -- ruling in favor of the requirement that most Americans can be required to have health insurance, or else pay a penalty.
The decision means the historic overhaul will continue to take effect over the next several years, affecting the way countless Americans receive and pay for their personal medical care.
The court found problems with the law's expansion of Medicaid. But even there, it said the expansion could proceed as long as the federal government does not threaten to withhold the entire Medicaid allotment to states if they don't take part in the extension.
Kansas hospitals and health care companies reacted to the ruling:
Statement from Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Kansas"Today’s decision on the Affordable Care Act means Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas will continue to implement the law and educate our members on what it means for them, just as we’ve been doing since March 2010. We also will continue to work with state and federal regulators, and contracting health care providers to ensure that Kansans have affordable health insurance and high quality health care. Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas will continue to be the company that Kansans trust to help them through this time of change."
Jeff Korsmo, Via Christi Health President and CEO:
"The Supreme Court’s ruling keeps in place improved access to health care through expanded insurance coverage and important insurance reforms, which were key elements of the Affordable Care Act. But those of us in health care know that much more work needs to be done to provide Americans with higher-quality health care that produces better outcomes at a lower cost.
"At Via Christi, we are creating a patient-centered health care system of the future. With the leadership of our physicians, nurses and other clinicians, we are developing a team-based approach to provide the communities we serve with safer, higher-quality care that also helps our patients live healthier lives – and at a lower cost.
"The way we deliver health care has been changing since the Affordable Care Act took effect two years ago, and it will need to change even more dramatically in the years ahead. The growth in the cost of health care in the United States is simply unsustainable, and it’s going to get worse because 10,000 baby boomers a day are reaching Medicare age. Those costs, combined with our federal and state governments’ fiscal challenges, all call for major change in health care.
"The problem that wasn’t settled by the ruling is that the Affordable Care Act does not address in a significant way the factors that are driving the high cost of health care. That problem will still need to be addressed in the future. We need to change the way we pay for health care to reduce overutilization of medical procedures and reward providers for delivering high-quality care and keeping people healthy."
Shannon Cotsoradis, President and CEO of Kansas Action for Children
"Today's decision marks the beginning of a new era in health care coverage for Kansas children and their families. Working families will no longer be denied coverage due to a pre-existing condition or lose their coverage when someone gets sick. More secure health care coverage, as a result of the ACA, will finally give hardworking Kansas families some peace of mind."