Mixed reactions to health care ruling

La Casa Family Health Center CEO Seferino Montano declared Thursday a victory in health care reform. Rep. Stuart Ingle, R-New Mexico, said President Barack Obama's health care bill will not help the current health care system.

Seferino and Ingle were two of many who expressed mixed reactions to the Supreme Court's historic ruling to uphold Obama's health care bill, which aims to cover more than 30 million uninsured Americans.

The decision came to a 5-4 vote with Chief Justice John Roberts siding with the court's liberal judges, deeming Obama's Affordable Care Act constitutional.

"I think that it's a victory for millions of people that are uninsured across the U.S.," Montano said. "What it means for La Casa is when it is enacted by 2014, we will be able to expand services for more people. It also means 34 to 40 percent of our clients that are uninsured will be able to receive better service."

Montano said those who are currently uninsured will have more access to La Casa's services, including prescriptions and X-rays.

Ingle feels the bill leaves much to be desired.

"It's about another year before the bill would go into effect," Ingle said. "There are huge tax increases that will affect the whole state."

Ingle added that the bill has many hidden provisions that aren't clear to Americans.

"It's 2,500 pages long, there's a lot of things in there that people are going to find very objectionable," Ingle said. "It's not something that's going to be good for a lot of people but we'll see, it's not in effect yet. There's a new congress coming and perhaps a new president, so we'll see."

Local insurance provider and Portales City Councilor Matthew Hunton said the impact the bill would have on insurance companies is too hard to tell.

"I read many parts of the bill. Nobody knows what's going to happen," Hunton said. "I truly just don't know what impact it would have as an insurance provider."

Hunton said the bill's overall impact isn't clear either.

"(Health insurance) has been so expensive for many people. I don't see this bill necessarily fixing the problem at hand," Hunton said.

Hoyt Skabelund with Plains Regional Medical Center in Clovis said under this health care act, physicians will now have to integrate together to succeed.

Skabelund added that New Mexico will not be denied Medicaid funding under this act because the state is already exceeding the required Medicaid enrollment.

"New Mexico has the second highest uninsured population of the country and we border Texas, which has the highest," Skabelund said. "We have a real challenge with poverty."

Larry Leaming, CEO of Roosevelt General Hospital, said RGH already has systems in place to provide health care to any patient that presents to their facilities.

"Rural communities with locally owned hospitals are a great example of how accountable care should be provided," Leaming said.

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