Alabama Patients and Hospitals Respond to Health Care Ruling

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By Heather VacLav

The highly detailed health care “individual mandate” raises eyebrows in Alabama, as residents and patients respond to U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to uphold President Obama’s health care reform.
 
"I think it’s wonderful, I think everybody should have health care,” said Lillian Williams of Montgomery.
 
“I feel that it should have been overturned, so I don’t agree with the decision,” said Rick Monroe of Tennessee.
 
“It’s a good thing,” said a shoe shiner in the Alley Station known as “Mr. Shoe Doctor”.
 
There are overall mixed emotions across the nation surrounding the Supreme Court's health care ruling, and those same feelings apply to people in Montgomery.
 
“I believe we should have some kind of healthcare for everybody, but not force other people to support it,” Monroe said while sitting down having lunch with his family. Monroe is from Tennessee visiting his son who attends college in Birmingham. “So if the government wants to do it that's fine and they can do it, but don't take the money out of my pocket.”
 
And like many conflicted lawmakers, for medical patients, their opinions all boil down to money.
 
“I hate to see people go bankrupt because they get sick,” said Monroe.
 
However, it may be difficult for Alabama's hospitals to keep their doors open for patients in the long term. According to the Alabama Hospital Association, hospitals with the highest number of uninsured patients will receive more than 100 million dollars less from the federal government.
 
“Alabama already has some of the lowest reimbursement rates in the country, so those cuts would be devastating,” said Hunter Walton, the Senior Vice-President of Federal Affairs at the Alabama Hospital Association.
 
While patients may be happy to have health insurance in the near future, the Alabama Hospital Association says hospitals are an equally important part of the health care ruling's equation.
 
“At some point we can’t sustain that because our hospitals will have to close their doors or stop providing services,” Walton said.

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