Initial response to Supreme Court Ruling on Affordable Care Act/Health Care Reform

—As of July 2, commenting on this thread is closed. Thank you.—

Now that the Supreme Court has ruled to uphold the Affordable Care Act, it is time to move forward.

The University of Michigan Health System has been working on making health care safer, more cost-efficient and quality-driven since before the Affordable Care Act was written and signed into law, and we will continue to do so because it is the necessary and right thing to do. We look forward to working in partnership with the federal government and local partners to create a better national health care system.

35 thoughts on “Initial response to Supreme Court Ruling on Affordable Care Act/Health Care Reform

  1. Betsy Beckerman on said:

    This is a wonderful day for America. Everyone will have health care. Our resources will be used more appropriately.

    • Betsy Beckerman on said:

      Here is a quote from a friend of mine, a 40 something professional musician who has colon cancer, “This action may literally have saved my life, – all the issues in the law about preexisting conditions and my current health issues were making these last weeks very tense for me as I awaited the verdict.”

      I would like to add that my own brother died at age 56 of a heart attack. He didn’t get adequate preventive or diagnostic medical care because he was self employed and couldn’t afford health insurance.

  2. Beth Ragle on said:

    I’m pleased about the ruling, but worried about the penalty if not able to pay the amount due each month for the health insurance – I’ve even heard that people will have to go to jail if they don’t comply…is that true?! Am concerned…please let me know if I’m mis-interpreting the new law.

    • Terri Voepel-Lewis on said:

      Hi Beth, You have been misinformed. No one is going to jail if they choose not to buy health insurance. However, there are small fines to pay for those who get caught not doing so. For most of us fortunate enough to work at UM, we already have benefits with (usually) affordable co-pays. We will NOT be affected. For those who have been unfortunate enough to not have insurance or those who could not afford the premiums, the Affordability Act has created less expensive options that are now available, making it more amenable for lower income persons to purchase insurance. Hopefully, this will translate into lower premiums for those of us who have had insurance all along.

      • Steven on said:

        The SC ruled the the pentaly is ineed a tax. What happens if you don’t pay your taxes? As far as I know, the IRS can put you in jail. So in a way, you can still be jailed by not paying the “tax” if you refuse to purchase insurance.

        • Andrew on said:

          There will also be programs available for those who can not afford insurance to assist with the payments.

          The tax is calculated at $95 per year or 1% of your income, whichever is greater.

  3. Eileen on said:

    I find it hard to believe that people don’t understand what’s happening here. It’s the camel’s nose under the tent, with the possible/probable result that soon the government will be the sold insurer. When currently insured people find out that government insurance is cheaper, does anything think they’ll stay with private insurers? Bottom line: One insurer will make all the rules and decisions about care. Hello, Canada, and long waits for elective surgery. My current physician trained at Mayo in Minnesota, and he tells me about Canadians who streamed into the U.S. for things like heart surgery. Lots of luck, America!

      • Anita on said:

        The SCOTUS found a loophole. Get set to pay through the nose for any insurance premiums, for virtually no patient-doctor relationship, and now that the government will tax behavior, what will they force us to buy next?

      • linda on said:

        I guess Canadians wont be coming over here any longer. They wont be able to get any better treatment then what they have anymore. Hope no Americans die waiting for life saving tests and procedures that they cant get in a timely matter!!

    • Roger on said:

      That’s call the “straw man” attack. Take something that exists, add a lot of conjecture and fear to it, and then tell people that this is what happened, even though it has not, and likely will not. Here’s the problem with your statement, with all due respect, you are misinformed. The role of government is to require people to get PRIVATE health care. This puts money into the pockets of the PRIVATE insurance industry. Just like they tell drivers they have to purchase insurance to drive. The difference is everyone uses health care, and those who do not pay, subsequently pass the buck to those who do through insurance premiums and taxes.

      I’m surprised that the Right isn’t ecstatic about the personal responsibility they are always preaching. If you have employer provided health care, you will probably keep it. If you do not, you are personally responsible for paying a fine for emburdening others with your recklessness. If you want insurance, but have a pre-existing condition (like my brother who has leukemia) there will be a private insurance agent that will take you on because the have to.

      This is not a loss of liberty, but a humane and responsible concept where each person pays for what they consume. I admit that there is a lot to be done to make sure it’s done right, and kick out the pork that gets tacked on, but this is a great day for health care.

          • Justin on said:

            The majority of those who do not pay now will not have to pay later, the buck will still be passed on to someone else except a higher rate.

      • Nice thought Roger bt the difference in auto insurance and the new healthcare act is that Auto insurance requirements are a STATE regulated issue and are determined by each states insurance regulatory board while the healthcare act is a FEDERALLY mandated product requiring an whole new and soon to be bloated bueracracy (SP?). Totally different in nature as America is still a federal republic, therefore STATES should determine what is right for their own populations – Which by the way, is what Gov. Romney did as the governor of Mass. As far as I know this is the first time in our history that the federal government has determined that all citizens should be required to purchase a product. What’s next? When will we be required to purchase only american made cars, after all we all have to get from point a to point b and why not regulate how we get there. This is a sad day indeed for our nation.

        • Andrew on said:

          The government has not required you to purchase a product. You can choose to not purchase health insurance and instead pay a tax. The same way that they tax or don’t tax based on other economic activity. Renters vs. Homeowners for instance. You can choose not to buy a house, and instead pay higher taxes, or you can choose to buy a house and get the mortgage interest deduction.

          Anybody mourning the loss of liberty over this decision hasn’t been paying attention to all the other ways that the federal government has already instituted incentives for desired behavior.

        • Roger on said:

          Nation? What nation do you mean? The United States? Where, and how exactly are we united? I ask because I totally understand the states versus federalism issues that are at stake. However, there are times when we have to act united in large endeavors. Going to war? Should that be relegated to the states? Of course not, as that’s one of the roles of the federal government. Are the feds overreaching? The Supreme Court says no.

          The analogy of auto insurance is still apt. What governor Romney did was ground breaking and a good idea, well executed, and apparently loved by both sides of the political spectrum. Why then, extending that to other states, is it no longer a good idea? Because it’s a Federal program? I think it’s still a good idea, but the proof will be in the execution. Nothing is perfect, especially legislation, but the goal is admirable.

          We are in the United States of America. We are united in so many ways, but we allow divisions such as some arbitrary political affiliation divide us. Get past that and look at the goal of the outcome: people get health care in poor and rich states alike. Now, the hard work starts of making sure the execution does not repeat past beaurocratic mistakes. Learn from mistakes, move forward, do good. I hope that is something we can all be united on.

  4. Betsy de Parry on said:

    Justice prevailed. All of us who have pre-existing conditions should be greatly relieved. I certainly am. Now if politicians will stop politicizing our health, but that’s wishful thinking.

    • Steven on said:

      Because no one can be rejected for pre-existing conditions, why would any healthy person pay for insurance? What will happen is only sick people will pay. A healthy person can just buy it after they get sick and save a ton of money.

      A system like this won’t last, it’s doomed to fail by design so the gov’t can move to a single payer system so we will all be totally dependent.

      • Diana on said:

        “A healthy person can just buy it after they get sick and save a ton of money.”

        You just gave the EXACT reason they used for why the individual mandate was needed.

        • The Sheriff on said:

          Very well said Steven. Which I did, from the age of 18 til 24. I didnt purchase Health insurance and I never needed it. The times I went to the dentist I paid out of pocket and SAVED MONEY over paying premiums for those 6 years.

          So why Diana, should I be REQUIRED to buy health insurance if I DONT NEED IT????

          • Diana on said:

            I actually don’t like the individual mandate. I am all for a single-payer system, like most other first world countries. I’m just saying one of the reasons given for the individual mandate (or the penalty if you don’t want to buy insurance) is so that people don’t just buy insurance once they get sick. You might be surprised to see how much taxpayers have been indirectly paying for people without insurance who visit the ER, anyways (EMTALA).

            And you were quite lucky that you didn’t need health care during that time period. Not everyone else is so lucky, and I know plenty of people who wanted health insurance but couldn’t get it because of pre-existing conditions. This decision has meant so much to them. That in itself is reason enough for me to appreciate that the law was deemed Constitutional. I’m lucky that I have great insurance through my job.

            Anyways, I’m sure there will be much tweaking of the law in the near future. People need to breathe. The CBO estimated that after all was said and done, maybe around 2-4 million would be charged the penalty after all the exemptions, etc.

  5. Justin on said:

    What a coincidence that Ora’s “original” response is peppered with campaign slogans.

  6. Elaine Liss on said:

    TO EILEEN: I’m wondering why you’re more concerned about the profits of private insurance companies than less expensive government insurance programs (like Obama Care, Medicare, and Medicaid) that actually benefit “we the people.” Government health care programs are run more efficiently because they’re not for profit. Are you aware of the millions of dollars made each year by health insurance company CEO’s? The long term goal should be a single payer government run health care system like every other modernized country already has because they understand health care is not a privilege but a basic human right.

    TO STEVEN: The Affordable Health Care Act has absolutely nothing to do with a loss of freedom and is similiar to Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid programs developed in desperate times to prevent great human suffering like starvation and sickness and given to us by great leaders elected by the majority of the people in this country.

    TO ANITA: Government has always taxed certain types of behavior. This is nothing new or important, but just the way it is and always has been.

    TO LINDA: Canadians love their single payer health care. If you do your research, you’ll find that it’s a lie when you hear or read that they have to wait for long periods of time or don’t get proper care. Try visiting Canada and you’ll find out the real truth.

    TO JUSTIN: If health care is going to be made more affordable, there will obviously be a very small percentage of people that won’t pay for health insurance. This won’t have a significant impact on health insurance rates. However, the greed of the for-profit health insurance companies (they’re all for-profit even if they say they’re non-profit) will for sure increase rates but at leasat the health care act will help to regulate this kind of unfair profiteering practice against people.

  7. Gary on said:

    Last I checked Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, and most all modernized countries are broke as in no funds. So the 40% of Americans that pay no taxes are now going to pay for Health Insurance. I see, makes perfect sense to me.

  8. Anita on said:

    Half of the electorate do not pay any income tax and will be exempted. Meanwhile, it will cost the actual taxpayers billions more to cover them. Enjoy your out of control healthcare premium escalation. Couple this with a second recession that is nearly inevitable and find out how socialism feels.

  9. The Sheriff on said:

    Sad day. Which is more sad? The fact that this passed or the fact that so many Americans are completely BLIND to what this is going to do to our beautiful country. Do you guys realize that now the government can FORCE you to buy or do ANYTHING and if you don’t, than pay a tax. Is that not bad for this nation people??

    For Example: They could pass a law that “Individually Mandates” you to buy 20 lbs. of roast beef a week or else pay a tax of 2.5% But what if I’m vegan or vegetarian??? or what if Im allergic to beef like my grandfather is??
    No biggie right guys? just dont buy it right? yeah but pay a tax because you refused to! there is no difference do you realize this? WAKE UP! OPEN YOUR EYES!

  10. Elaine Liss on said:

    TO GARY: What countries are broke because of health care? Countries have debt and financial problems for many different reasons and the cost of health care is not a significant one. The cost of health care in other countries is much lower than ours because they’re not based on profit. I’m wondering if this is something you’ve heard or actually investigated.

    Almost all Americans pay taxes including the poor if you include payroll taxes, sales taxes, etc.

    Why are you opposed to anyone paying for health insurance especially if it’s more affordable?

    TO ANITA: Your comments about half of the electorate not paying income taxes is inaccurate. Even poor people pay some form of taxes such as payroll and sales taxes. Since you’re concerned about the amount of taxes people pay, then you should be outraged about rich people paying half the amount of taxes than average people do. I hope you agree that wealthy people who send jobs overseas, sit on their butts collecting dividend checks, hide money in Swiss bank accounts and the Caimen Islands to avoid taxes(like Mitt Romney)and pay less than 15% of their income in taxes through loop holes (while people who work hard for a living, producing things and contributing to our country’s revenue pay 30%) are the ones to blame for past and future recessions. They are the ones stealing revenue from this country, not the poor or working class.

    You can only blame health insurance companies for escalating premiums because they are driven by profit. The Affordable Health Care Act will help to regulate some of the greed but still doesn’t go far enough. Did you know that it’s illegal in other modernized countries for health insurance companies to make profits?

    Socialism is not such a scary word. What’s more scary is living in a country where people die or go into financial ruin because they can’t afford the unreasonable cost of health care. Remember, health care is not a privilege but a basic human right.

    TO SHERIFF: What a hysteric comparison you use for the health care mandate. How does buying food compare to the significance of buying health care?! Buying or not buying food, being vegetarian or allergic has absolutely no impact on other people or a national program. You seem to be in a panic about government FORCING us to do things or as you say, anything. All governments (even democratic ones) do force some behaviors to some degree for the purpose of benefitting most of the people, which is reasonable and not something to fear.

    • Justin on said:

      Elaine- If you steal money from me and purchase something, who really pays the sales tax, you or I?

      “Socialism is not such a scary word” -It is to those of us who respect this country and the ideals from which the foundation of the constitution were formed.

      Also please halt your incessant campaign speeches, you opinion loses all credibility with your copy and paste arguments.

  11. Elaine Liss on said:


    Are you suggesting that individuals, businesses, and large profit driven corporations like oil companies receiving large subsidies are stealing taxpayer money? If you had a choice in where your tax money went, would you want it to go to people/citizens in need of assistance for various reasons or to organizations that have no loyalty to our country?

    Many of America’s government programs developed for the “general welfare of the people” are already socialistic such as Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and hopefully a single payer or Medicare for all system in the near future. We really aren’t that drastically different from European countries, except that we lag behind in many areas.

    Tell me exactly how the constitution contradicts socialism? Socialism doesn’t threaten freedom or anything in our constitution. A government can impose restrictions on people but this may not be directly attributable to socialism.

    Sorry you don’t like my “campaign speeches.” I’m just passionate about my opinions. You shouldn’t be telling people on this site to “halt” expressing themselves. After all, we do have freedom of speech don’t we?

    You say that my arguments lose credibility because of my “copy and paste” comments yet you don’t try to dispute them with your own facts and information. I get the impression you’re uncomfortable with disagreements or different ideas. I would consider what you say as credible if you would’ve responded to my points with at least a few sentences of detailed information rather than insults meant to distract from the real issues.