VIENNA - Dr. David Avery, medical director for the Mid-Ohio Valley Health Department and a private practice physician, had mixed reaction to the U.S. Supreme Court's 5-4 ruling Thursday. The court ruling upheld the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act.
"I think the bill had some very good parts in it that were certainly worth keeping, like covering pre-existing conditions, and keeping children on policies and not discriminating and no annual limits, but there were also some very bad parts, the oversight provisions relating to the government I really dislike," Avery said.
"Some of the conditions that force people to have insurance - I think we need to encourage people to have insurance, but those provisions in the bill seemed a little heavy handed to me," he said.
Avery predicted the act will see revisions.
"It will probably see a lot of modification before it's done. There is too much division in people, and with a 5-4 Supreme Court decision, I think we are going to see some more changes," Avery said, noting it may go back to court or changes may be made through Congress. "The election may have an effect as well," he noted.
"There are really some parts of the bill that are worth keeping, some are really scary. I think more will come out, and as it does there may be more people against it. Congress may pick them up and there may be more interest in the courts. There are a lot of government oversights I don't think people realize are there yet, and that could become nasty," he said.
Avery is a past board member of the American Academy for Family Physicians. The AAFP has about 100,000 members. Avery said the organization has been involved in some lobbying efforts.
"I think overall the reform was a place to get started, to work from, we have to start somewhere. The system as it was unfair for a long time, not covering pre-existing problems and other issues, and what was put forth is a starting point. But I don't think this will go into effect as it is, I think we will see some more changes, at least I hope we do," Avery said.
Officials with Families USA, a national nonprofit organization for health care consumers, heralded the court ruling in a press release as a "clear, unambiguous and complete victory for long-overdue health care reform."
"No one will be denied health coverage or charged a discriminatory premium due to a pre-existing condition, such as children with asthma or diabetes," said Ron Pollack, executive director for the non-partisan organization.
"People with major health problems, like those in car accidents, will be protected against arbitrary lifetime or annual limits in how much insurance companies will pay for needed care; young adults can stay in their parents' health plans until they turn 26; tens of millions of uninsured people will gain health care coverage; seniors will receive significant Medicare improvements, such as preventive care with no deductibles or co-pays, and the big prescription drug coverage gap will close; women will no longer be charged discriminatory premiums, and moderate- and middle-income families will receive tax-credit subsidies so that insurance premiums are affordable," Pollack said.
"It has taken close to a century to enact meaningful health care reform. Now that the Supreme Court has upheld the law, it will become a living reality for all Americans very soon," he said.