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The Supreme Court decision on the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act is more than an issue on healthcare; it is an issue of state’s rights. At least, that is what Dr. Roger Stark, a retired heart surgeon and health care analyst for the Washington Policy Center, told reporters Wednesday morning. Stark joined Florida Governor Rick Scott and Tarren Bragdon, CEO of the Foundation for Government Accountability, at a press conference call on what the states reaction to the Obamacare ruling will be.
The state of Florida has been one of many leaders in the recall of Obamacare. The state has refused to accept federal subsidies to implement the Affordable Care Act. Instead, they have asked to be waived from the act. According to Governor Scott, Florida has been a leader in Medicaid reform, making healthcare more affordable and at the same time, accessible. Governor Scott is “optimistic that the Supreme Court will declare Obamacare unconstitutional.” He went on to say that the focus for creating affordable healthcare should be on choice, accountability and competition. Competition, Governor Scott said, will be the deciding factor that drives costs down, not federal subsidies.
The Federal subsidies from Obamacare isn’t free money from Washington, Stark said, but “it’s taxpayer money.” Governor Scott echoed Stark when he said that we should not be considering what money the state will lose if Obamacare is repealed, but what we will lose if the law isn’t struck down. It will cost too much, the governor said.
Tarran Bragdon told reporters that no matter how the Supreme Court decides on the act, the solutions must come from the states. “Access is central so those who are sick can become healthy,” he said. He said thirty-four states are already making healthcare more affordable, by creating high-risk insurance pools for those who have pre-existing conditions and can’t get coverage elsewhere. Idaho and Maine, he said, are doing even more, by creating coverage for everyone. They do this, he explained, through re-insurance, which gives those with pre-existing conditions access to the same health plans as a normal, healthy adult with the state subsidizing the premium difference. This, Bradgon said, keeps the premiums from rising for everyone, unlike Obamacare.
Dr. Stark’s solutions are to allow private companies to do certifications, have malpractice reforms on the state level and to have a greater use of practitioner nurses in hospitals. His daughter was recently certified as a nurse practitioner.
Governor Scott said that while he feels Obamacare will be repealed partially, if not completely, he will compile with the law if the Supreme Court does find the act to be constitutional.
The conference call was co-sponsored by the State Policy Network, the Franklin Center for Government and Public Integrity, and Americans for Tax Reform.
Disclosure: The author is an intern for the Franklin Center for Government and Public Integrity.
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