Missouri stakeholders comment on impact of health care ruling

Thursday, June 28, 2012 | 9:24 p.m. CDT; updated 4:46 p.m. CDT, Friday, June 29, 2012

COLUMBIA — After the Supreme Court ruled it would uphold the majority of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act on Thursday, discussions concerning the benefits, detriments and impacts of the legislation erupted nationwide

In Columbia, representatives from businesses, medical establishments and government bodies commented on the act and its potential effects.

Don Laird, president of the Columbia Chamber of Commerce

"There will be an impact on certain small business owners, especially those that have more than 50 full-time people. They will be mandated to provide coverage. Most of them already do at this point. The other impact on businesses will probably be the concern of how they are going to spread the costs around.”

Because the Affordable Care Act requires businesses with 50 or more full-time employees to provide health care insurance for everyone, Laird said some employers might be less likely to hire as a result.

"There's a possibility that there will be some people that'll make changes, that'll make some adjustments in their employee decision making," Laird said.

Laird said the Supreme Court ruling's impact on local businesses is critical to the city of Columbia.

"An important part of Columbia to remember is the amount of health care that is provided and provides jobs here at Columbia," he said. "So it's how that impacts them as providers, meaning the hospitals and the physicians and other medical people. It's very important to the business community overall."

Rhett Buttle, government affairs director for the organization Small Business Majority, which supported the Affordable Care Act

"We know that small businesses are our nation’s chief job creator. We think that this is a big victory for small businesses. Obviously the status quo wasn’t working before."

Buttle believes the act has numerous benefits for small businesses.

"There's the tax credit that's available for the first time," Buttle said. "One of the big benefits is the state health insurance exchanges, which are going to let small business owners stand together and compete with large companies."

Buttle also believes the Affordable Care Act will remove some of the uncertainty facing business owners.

"When we talked to small business owners, a lot of time what we heard was that uncertainty in the economy is one of the things that keeps them from either investing in their business or growing," he said. "Now that we know the law is 100 percent constitutional, that will allow business owners to be able to make decisions and see how they benefit from the law."

Karen Edison, founding director of the Center for Health Policy at MU

"It means more Missourians, more young people and more people with pre-existing conditions will have access to health care. It means continued progress toward improving health care and making it more affordable."

Ryan Barker, health policy analyst for the Missouri Foundation for Health

"We're just excited to have a decision. It gives us a clarity of how we can move forward as a state and as a country.

"To inform people about the legislation, the Missouri Foundation for Health has held 170 meetings and conferences since the 2010 passage of the Affordable Care Act," Barker said, "explaining to people the good, the bad and the ugly of the law."

Dave Dillon, spokesman for Missouri Hospital Association

"Hospitals have a very core mission. If you are sick and don’t have insurance, it doesn't matter, you will go to a hospital and you will get care.

"We are going to see a lot more patient-centered care. We are going to see a lot more collaboration in medicine versus providers doing things in just the framework of their legwork and physicians in their particular specialty. We are going to see health care fundamentally change."

Andrea Roth, executive director for the Missouri Health Advocacy Alliance

"The Affordable Care Act is the solution for young adults whether they are continuing their education in getting a master’s degree or they are finding a job without insurance coverage. They can still be covered now because they can stay on their parent’s insurance policy until they are 26, and that’s a huge benefit for young people who are exploring their first job. You can take a job you really want even if it doesn’t provide insurance benefits."

Angie Andera, Stephanie Proffer and Jaime Henry-White contributed to this report. Supervising editors are John Schneller, Scott Swafford and Jake Kreinberg.

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