Updated 06/29/2012 06:40 PM
Health care experts discuss Supreme Court decision
Several parts of the Affordable Care Act are already active including free wellness exams for seniors and allowing children up to age 26 to remain on their parents' health insurance policies. But now, nearly all Americans will be required to buy health insurance by 2014. Our Beth Croughan has more on how local leaders in the healthcare industry are reacting to the recent decision by the United States Supreme Court.
To view our videos, you need to
install Adobe Flash 9 or above. Install now.
Then come back here and refresh the page.
LATHAM, N.Y. -- "Well, what it means, is that the law is the law and we will now see implementation, or final implementation of the Affordable Care Act," said Albany Law School Professor Alicia Ouellette.
The professor of bioethics and law said constitutionally she believed the individual mandate portion of President Obama's healthcare law should have been upheld as a regulation on economic activity. But five Supreme Court justices, including Chief Justice John Roberts, ruled it constitutional as a tax.
Ouellette is one of seven people on a panel Friday, organized to discuss the decision.
"That the mandate, what it does is it says it's an incentive to engage in a particular behavior, buy health insurance and if you don't do that thing, you're going to be assessed a tax," she explained of their decision.
The Vice President of Blueshield of Northeastern NY said the ruling caught him by surprise but said the bill would have been more challenging from a reform perspective if it didn't include the insurance requirement.
"Without the individual mandate, people could join the pool when they knew they, go and buy insurance when they needed it, and go and drop it when they felt they were done with it. So what yesterday's decision meant to us as an insurance industry is we hope it will encourage people to join the insurance pool and stay in the insurance pool," said Brian O'Grady of BlueShield.
The bill is expected to extend health coverage to more than 30 million uninsured people, including an estimated more than one million New Yorkers.
But has some providers concerned there won't be enough of them to care for those individuals. James Barba, the President of Albany Medical Center, said more than 10,000 new doctors would be needed in the next 10 years.
The CEO of CapitalCare Medical Group said it has encouraged conversations about collaboration.
"I think the real positive aspect of this is what happens locally, we've kind of taken this issue that's been sort of thrust upon us by the federal government, come into our own community to figure out how we can improve the health of our community and we're doing it with local efforts," said Joan Hayner of CapitalCare.
While some provisions of the law are already in effect, it will be about another year and a half before most Americans would be required to buy health insurance.