News Local/State

Illinois Reaction, Pro & Con To Supreme Court Healthcare Ruling


The CEO of Urbana-based Health Alliance says the Supreme Court’s ruling upholding insurance subsidies in Illinois and more than 30 other states means they can move forward with making plans for next year.

Jeff Ingrum says the ruling means that the main provisions of the Affordable Care Act will stay in place, including insurance subsidies for people using Illinois’ federally run insurance marketplace.  But Ingrum says there could still be changes made to the health care law in the future.

“A future Congress may continue to try make tweaks or some modifications to the law”, said Ingrum. “But I think the basic structure of the law and the way it has been set up and established, with the ruling today, keeps that in place for years to come.”

About 10-to-12 thousand Health Alliance members in Illinois receive insurance through the health insurance exchange, with a good portion of those receiving subsidies. Ingrum says Thursday’s court ruling means Health Alliance can continue its plans for providing insurance through the exchange in 2016.

Other groups representing Illinois doctors and hospitals are applauding the high court's decision as one that ensured stability for healthcare in Illinois.

Illinois State Medical Society President Dr. Scott Cooper said Thursday's ruling "provides important peace of mind for thousands of Illinois patients'' who buy insurance through

Illinois Hospital Association President Maryjane Wurth says the subsidies make insurance affordable to thousands of allow low- and moderate-income Illinoisans.

Reaction also came from Land of Lincoln Health, a not-for-profit health plan that covers more than 40,000 Illinoisans. Land of Lincoln Health President Jason Montrie says "all Americans have the right to access affordable, high-quality health insurance.''  He says the subsidies help many Illinois citizens meet their essential health care needs.

Congressional Reaction

Thursday’s US Supreme Court ruling upholding subsidies under the Affordable Care Act will help thousands of Illinoisans who receive those subsidies. But Illinois Congressman Rodney Davis (R-Taylorville) says the ruling does nothing to fix other problems in the healthcare law, including premiums that have risen an average of 30-percent or more this year alone. Davis says those premiums come along with additional costs, including high deductibles, that he contends make health insurance less affordable.

“And they’re not able to cover the thousands of dollars that it may cost to actually pay their medical bill – and they’re leaving hospitals in many cases with the bill, even though they’re supposedly covered by insurance”, said Davis.

Davis says he continues to support repealing the Affordable Care Act and replacing it with a version that includes “common sense changes”.

Shimkus: Ruling contravenes what law says

Illinois Congressman John Shimkus says he believes Thursday’s Supreme Court ruling law contravenes what the law actually says. But now that the ruling has been made, Shimkus says it won’t be possible to fix the problems in the Affordable Care Act until a president is elected who would support them.

In the meantime, Shimkus says he’ll look to the people to decide the importance of improving or replacing the Affordable Care Act.

“I do know that I still encounter many folks in my congressional district, who feel that this law has not helped them but harmed them”, said Shimkus. “And they have less coverage and higher costs. And they lay it at the feet of this law. “

Shimkus says he wants a more flexible federal healthcare law that gives all people access to at least catastrophic health insurance, and provides more consumer choice.

Other Illinois congressional Republicans also called for change.  Congressman Bob Dold said the healthcare law still needs to be fixed to keep health care costs down. And Randy Hultgren, says the Affordable Care Act has caused health care to be “grossly unaffordable to millions of Americans”.

But Democratic US Senator Dick Durbin says the Supreme Court’s ruling was “the right one for America’s future, and that Republicans should give up efforts to repeal the entire law.

 “I think we ought to be sitting down on a bipartisan basis, constructively taking a look at the law, seeing if there are other ways we can improve it, ways to make it work better for families and businesses across America”, said Durbin.

As an example, Durbin says he’s ready to talk about a change to protect employers of low-wage and tip workers, who will be covered by a section of the Affordable Care Act that hasn’t yet taken effect.

Indiana Governor Disappointed By Ruling

Indiana Republican Gov. Mike Pence says the Supreme Court decision has disappointed those who wanted a fresh start on health care.

In a statement, he says, "ObamaCare must be repealed and states must be given the flexibility to craft market-based solutions focused on lowering the cost of health care rather than growing the size of government.  It now falls to the American people to elect new leadership in Washington,'' that will repeal the overhaul.