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Health Insurance for “Thousands” of Bay Staters Okayed by Supremes

June 28, 2012

BOSTON - In a victory for the Obama administration's healthcare reform efforts, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld most parts of the Affordable Care Act on Thursday.

In Massachusetts, which recently celebrated the sixth anniversary of its own groundbreaking healthcare reform, reaction came from all corners. Gov. Deval Patrick and Boston Mayor Tom Menino hailed the court's ruling. And Amy Whitcomb Slemmer, executive director of Health Care for All, says thousands more Bay Staters will now be able to afford insurance.

"We know that there are folks who struggle to pay their premiums, and for about 50,000 people, the implementation of the Affordable Care Act means there will be some relief in being able to buy their health care coverage. There will be subsidies available for about 50,000 people."

Sen. Scott Brown (R-Mass.), a longtime opponent of the Affordable Care Act, said, "The bottom line for me is this law makes it harder for our economy to add jobs and for that reason, I continue to oppose it."

Madelyn Rhenisch of Brighton was debilitated by Lyme disease before becoming the first person enrolled in a health insurance policy following the 2006 Massachusetts reform. She says the Supreme Court ruling will help many more like her.

"I really am proud of this country and I really want to see it moving in the right direction. I feel so happy for the people who will benefit from this and deserve it. And maybe we'll have some restored faith in the country and be able to get better, get healthy."

And now, says Whitcomb Slemmer, attention turns to healthcare cost-containment efforts in the Legislature.

"Even as we speak, members of the conference committee are hammering out their differences between the House and Senate versions. We know the governor has been actively involved and we look forward to something being passed before the end of the legislative session."

The Greater Boston Tea Party said it is "extremely disappointed" in the court's decision.

Mark Scheerer, Public News Service - MA