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Daily Newscasts

Affordable Care Act Ruling Pending: NY’s Stakes, Options

June 20, 2012

NEW YORK - It's a high-stakes waiting game, with millions of New Yorkers already receiving benefits from the Affordable Care Act as the nation's highest court is expected to rule any day now on whether the act is legal.

Heidi Siegfried, director of health policy for New Yorkers for Accessible Health Coverage, says the law has meant free preventive services to 2 million uninsured New Yorkers, and another 3 million who have insurance. There are also 150,000 New Yorkers age 26 and younger who can remain on their parents' health insurance policies.

"They will be hard to take away. How are you going to tell young adults that they can no longer have coverage on their parents' plans?"

Court observers say a ruling could come at any moment. Republican opponents say if the Supreme Court upholds the Affordable Care Act, they will take action to repeal it.

Siegfried hopes New York lawmakers are thinking ahead. Even if the high court strikes down the mandate, she says, the state still has options.

"If the court strikes down the provision that provides a penalty to the people who don't buy insurance, we could still do it on our own. We could have a penalty here, like Massachusetts has done."

Siegfried says the Supreme Court has four options: It can uphold the law, strike down some or all of it - or the justices can say they have not decided.

"Any way you look at it, it's a cliffhanger. The ACA has the potential to change a lot of things in the future. With all the provisions fully implemented in 2014, New York State can bring premiums down by 70 percent - and without the ACA, we won't be able to do that."

Mike Clifford, Public News Service - NY