Local patients and experts on health care law - ABC 33/40 - Birmingham News, Weather, Sports

Local patients and experts on health care law

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Alabama Governor Robert Bentley said he is "deeply disappointed" with Thursday's ruling. Bentley believes the health care act created more regulation and bureaucracy. But local patients and health care providers reveal a mixed bag of reactions when it comes to the law. On one hand, they say the Affordable Care Act increases people's access to health care. But on the other, they say it could have some negative long-term effects.

Stephanie Little suffers from a kidney disease and nerve damage in her neck and shoulders. She's out of work and without insurance. She embraces the bill's portion that makes it unlawful to deny someone healthcare insurance because of a pre-existing condition. But she doesn't not support the individual mandate, which requires everyone to buy health insurance or pay a tax.

"If we could afford the health insurance then we wouldn't be squabbling about getting a fine," Little says.

University of Alabama at Birmingham Professor of Health Services Administration Paige Powell says one advantage to the law is that people will have more choices and access to care.

"Emergency rooms will be less crowded. People will have to have insurance starting 2014. So, they'll have the option to go to more primary care and secondary care facilities," Powell says.

But she says some insurance companies and insurance holders are worried about the law's long-term impact.

"A lot of people are concerned about adverse selection that a lot of sick people will sign up for insurance, but the healthy people will choose to pay the penalty instead of getting the insurance and that would cause premiums to rise," Powell.

 

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