POLL: Should the Supreme Court Overturn Obama’s Health Care Law?
The country's highest court is set to rule Thursday on the Affordable Care Act.
It’s an epic decision that could change the way healthcare is approached in the United States.
Dr. Ulder Tillman, Montgomery County health officer, is among those who will be paying attention to the Supreme Court decision. She said the county has worked to prepare for changes in the healthcare system implemented by the state of Maryland. The county was awarded a $190,000 grant, provided for by the healthcare legislation, that would help with chronic disease prevention, Tillman said.
The Supreme Court’s decision will include a ruling on the constitutionality of the law's “individual mandate” requiring all U.S. citizens to buy health insurance.
Opponents of the mandate say it’s an unprecedented exercise of government power—requiring people to buy something—and could be expanded to cars to help the auto industry, or even broccoli.
Obama has argued that the commerce clause in the Constitution allows Congress to regulate healthcare, and that expanding coverage would lower costs, according to the Economist, which summarizes both the supporting and opposing arguments to the issues that have been debated at the high court.
In Maryland, about 750,000 people were uninsured between 2009 and 2010, according to Linda Bartnyska, chief of cost and quality analysis at the Maryland Health Care Commission.
Locally, about 12 percent of Montgomery County residents are uninsured, slightly lower than the state average of 13 percent and higher than the national average of 11 percent.
"For the most part, for county government, so much of it [the Affordable Care Act] has been prepartory," Tillman explained.
"If everything stopped we would be greatly disappointed—we would have to figure out what to do with the uninsured in our county."
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