Originally published in The Jamestown Sun on 6/29/2012.
Local health officials in Jamestown said Thursday’s Supreme Court decision upholding portions of the health care reform law would ultimately benefit the public.
“One of the biggest things is obviously the individual mandate,” said Todd Hudspeth, president/CEO at Jamestown Regional Medical Center. “It’s a good thing to have in place because you’re not going to have an effective health care policy if you can’t try to include everybody.”
Hudspeth said that the overriding concept of the universal health care bill is well-intended.
“Overall, the main design is that we want to take people out of getting care in the emergency room, and instead get them working with a physician in a primary care clinic,” he said.
Hudspeth said the court’s decision today brings the country closer to other industrialized nations around the world that view health care as a right, and not a privilege.
“Personally, I feel it’s morally and ethically the right thing, but beyond that, fiscally it makes good sense and it’s a good policy for health care in general,” he said.
Thursday’s decision also allows the public health care sector to continue emphasizing a message of prevention, according to Robin Iszler, unit administrator with Central Valley Health of Jamestown.
“The Affordable Care Act now shifts the health care system from one that focuses on treating the sick to instead focusing on keeping people healthy,” she said. “Working in public health, that’s a good message for us and hopefully it will reduce health care costs in the future.”
Iszler also said provisions within the law should help provide additional jobs as well.
“There are measures within the law that will help strengthen our work force and that’s a great thing as we’re always in demand for qualified employees to be a part of our health care system,” she said.
Iszler said there are many good provisions within Obama’s health care plan to help local residents, such as keeping kids under their parents’ health care plan until age 26, but also said there is work to do.
“At least now, with a decision having been made, they can move forward to continue working on it,” she said.
As for the impact on local businesses, Kimberly Saxberg, executive director for the Jamestown Area Chamber of Commerce, declined to comment regarding the court’s decision.
Sun reporter Brian Willhide can be reached at 701-952-8454 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org