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Health Care Ruling: Devil in the Details for Many New Yorkers

June 29, 2012

NEW YORK – Advocates for low-income New Yorkers and people with disabilities are calling Thursday's 5-4 U.S. Supreme Court decision upholding most of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) a major relief.

Susan Dooha, executive director of the Center for Independence of the Disabled in New York (CIDNY) says for the most part, the ruling is great news to hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers who now can rely on continued access to affordable health coverage.

"People need to be covered with insurance and they have to contribute to the cost of insurance; that is a very big relief-it is a big step forward."

President Obama says now that the high court has acted, his administration will continue to implement the historic healthcare law. Challenger Mitt Romney joined other Republicans in pledging to act to repeal the law.

Dooha says she's concerned about the portion of the ruling that allows states to refuse to expand Medicaid coverage without a federal penalty - even though the federal government would pick up the tab for the expansion. In that regard, she is not so concerned about New York, with its tradition of covering people. Instead, Dooha is concerned that other states may refuse to cover low-income adults who can't otherwise afford coverage on their own.

"If states refuse the the coverage expansion, even though the feds are paying for the whole thing, what would people do to get their health coverage then?"

The big picture, adds Dooha, is very positive for low-income New Yorkers and those with disabilities.

"The Affordable Care Act provisions that address discrimination against people with disabilities – that require that health plans cover people with disabilities without higher premiums, even if they have a preexisting condition - all of those things being preserved, that is fantastic."

Mike Clifford, Public News Service - NY