Supreme Court Health Care Ruling: Chicago-area seniors react

June 28, 2012 3:29:32 PM PDT
What does the Supreme Court's decision on healthcare mean for families, seniors and those with pre-existing medical conditions?

"It makes things easier. It makes things better," Chicagoan Vicie Williams said of the Supreme Court's ruling to uphold President Barack Obama's healthcare law. A lot of other seniors agree, including 65-year-old Donna Milsap, who is on a fixed income and struggles with high healthcare costs.

"I've worked for 50 years of my life so I feel like I am entitled, like so many of the seniors," Milsap said.

The historic decision directly impacts nearly 2 million people in Illinois who are uninsured. The law requires most Americans have health insurance. And that's a mandate some see as intrusive.

"Big brother is telling you this is going to be good for you and that's the problem coming in. I do have mixed feeling on it," John Irving, English teacher, said.

While the law requires insurers to allow children to stay on their parents' healthcare plans into adulthood ? it gives states some flexibility when deciding whether to expand Medicaid, government-funded healthcare for low-income families.

"You have people who actually need it. Because if you have Medicare and Medicaid, you're dual eligible. It expands your benefits," Marvin Covington, Medicare/Medicaid specialist, said.

"There may be some increase, but I think the benefits outweigh the downside to it," Johnnie Johnson, insurance agent, said.

The sweeping overhaul also means people with pre-existing conditions can no longer be denied.

Joseph Breitenbucher thinks that's a good thing. Although he's covered now, the North Side resident became un-insurable after complications from back surgery for severe scoliosis. He racked up almost $2 million in medical bills that his insurance company refused to pay.

"I think although not perfect the affordable care act is a good first step and it's something that should be built upon," Joseph Breitenbucher said.