Supreme Court Health Care Ruling: Chicago-area seniors react

June 28, 2012 (CHICAGO)

"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.

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