By Pat Loeb
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Health care advocates say the Supreme Court decision to uphold the individual insurance requirement at the heart of President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul is a victory for people actually affected by the Affordable Care Act.
Health law expert Robert Field of Drexel University attended the arguments on the law in March and says he was surprised by the decision because the justices seemed skeptical about the individual mandate, but he thought the decision was correct.
“I don’t think anyone’s going to be harmed by the decision,” Field says. “Because the law is going to work and be a positive thing for the country once it’s in effect.”
A number of medical groups — Pennsylvania nurses, the Delaware Valley Healthcare Council among them — agree.
“Had the mandate been struck down, that would have meant fewer people with insurance walking through the doors of hospitals,” says DVHC Director Curt Shroder. “And that would have continued to add to the fiscal and financial hardships that hospitals face.”
Athena Ford of the Pennsylvania Health Access Network says the next step is for the state to begin complying by creating health care exchanges so small businesses and workers can find affordable insurance.
“We have to stop playing political games with our health and move forward to implement the health care law,” Ford says.
Among those critical of the decision is the state GOP and the Pro-Life Coalition.
To read more on Thursday’s historic ruling, click here.
Listen to President Barack Obama’s reaction:
Listen to Mitt Romney’s reaction: