Supreme Court Ruling Not Expected to Directly Affect Massachusetts Law
Massachusetts health reform supporters are closely watching the US Supreme Court case on the Affordable Care Act -- although they say the results are unlikely to directly affect Massachusetts residents.
The federal Affordable Care Act was modeled on Massachusetts 2006 healthcare law -- and both of them rely heavily on an individual mandate that requires most people to either buy health insurance or, if they qualify, sign up for a government-subsidized plan. That mandate -- which has never been legally challenged in Massachusetts -- is now under scrutiny by the US Supreme court. Amy Whitcomb-Slemmer runs Health Care for All, a Massachusetts nonprofit that was initially skeptical of the mandate before embracing the state law. She says whichever way the court rules, Massachusetts residents shouldn't see a change, since the court is deciding on federal -- not state -- authority.
Individual mandate supporters say requiring health insurance is critical because otherwise, only the sick would buy insurance, and that would send the cost of premiums skyrocketing. And while health care costs continue to climb in Massachusetts, researchers say the rate of increase did slow down after the mandate was introduced.