The U.S. Supreme Court's Thursday ruling that upholds the constitutionality of President Obama's health care reform law officially known as the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, has local business owners and health care professionals reacting with expressions of concern over what happens next.
The U.S. Supreme Court’s Thursday ruling that upholds the constitutionality of President Obama’s health care reform law officially known as the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, has local business owners and health care professionals reacting with expressions of concern over what happens next.
Chris Hart, chair of the Pine Bluff Regional Chamber of Commerce, said that local business owners have concerns as to how much the health care law will cost them.
“As always, the Chamber’s primary interests are the concerns of the businesses that we represent,” Hart said. “The Affordable Care Act leaves the open-ended question as to who will eventually foot the bill. Our hope and desire is that the responsibility does not ultimately lie with those businesses and the people who make those businesses go.”
Beverly Stevens is the co-owner along with her mother, Margaret Stevens, of Pine Bluff Hearing Aid, located in the Oak Park Village Shopping Center.
“We’re going to have to wait and see what happens,” Stevens said of the health care reform law. “Everybody’s very concerned about it and wants to know what the facts are and to know what we’re dealing with.”
Stevens said that her father, James O. Stevens, founded the business 50 years ago.
Joe Scott, owner of Scott Systems, in Pine Bluff, employs 44 people in his heating and cooling system business.
“Right now we’re still trying to analyze it ourselves and to keep an open mind,” Scott said of the health care reform law.
Health care programs
Cheryl Hargraves owns Olympic Health Care in Pine Bluff, which is a school that trains students ages 16 and up to become nursing assistants.
Hargraves said that she believes the health care law has its good and bad aspects.
“I’ve worked in the medical field for 20 years,” Hargraves said. “With the health care law I think there are pros and cons to it. We already have Medicare and Medicaid. About 35 percent of the people who visit in this area are on that so that is good. But, I don’t agree with the impact it has on health care because we already pay too much for health care as it is.”
A spokesman with Jefferson Regional Medical Center said that the hospital is ready to implement any required changes as a result of the health care law and the court’s decision to uphold it.
“JRMC continues to study the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and the Supreme Court’s decision to uphold it,” the spokesman said. “We are in the process of planning and executing any measures that may be needed for change.”
Max Greenwood, spokesman for Arkansas Blue Cross and Blue Shield, said that the health care law has its good and bad points.
“It’s fair to say that we’re concerned about the impact of the health care law on the state,” Greenwood said. “There are a number of provisions that will increase costs but this has nothing to do with the court’s decision. The law does little to address the factors leading to the rise in health care costs.”
Greenwood said that Blue Cross has already been implementing the provisions of the health care law as required.
“Now that the court case is over clearly we will be getting more regulatory guidance from the agencies involved,” Greenwood said. “We will continue to implement aspects of the law and keep our members informed of the changes.”
Blue Cross counted more than 435,000 fully insured members statewide at of the end of 2011 according to Greenwood.