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June 29, 2012

Locals react to health care decision

PARKER COUNTY — Thursday’s Supreme Court decision upholding health care reform had local people not surprised but also saying this isn’t end the of the story.

State Rep. Phil King, R-Weatherford, said the U.S. has taken “a tragic step toward socialism today when the Supreme Court upheld Obamacare’s individual mandate.” Despite the court’s verdict, King encouraged residents to not be discouraged.

The Supreme Court decision is one of two hurdles the law must clear. Most of the items involved in the health care bill don’t take effect until 2014, well after November’s national elections. Presidential candidate Mitt Romney and Republican House and Senate leaders have vowed to repeal the health care law if they win at the polls.

In King’s eyes, voters can also decide if the law stands.

“We can change everything in November,” King said. “It is more important than ever that we elect conservatives at all levels: local, state and federal. Please join us as we fight to uphold the Constitution and the liberties it was intended to ensure all Americans.”

Randall Young, CEO of Parker County Hospital District, said he wasn’t surprised by the court’s decision. “I wasn’t expecting them to throw the entire thing out or piecemeal the plan back together,” Young said. “Just because it’s not a great idea doesn’t mean it’s unconstitutional.”

Young said the courts make everyone have liability insurance for their cars, so requiring people to have health insurance isn’t the first time this has happened.

Personally, Young is not in favor of the law, but professionally he sees how the law could have merit to some Parker County residents.

“If it will help pay for some things that residents in Parker County need, then I’m in favor of it,” Young said. “Doctors will be receiving less in reimbursement, however, which the public will be paying for one way or another.”

Many local entities were unsure how it would effect them right now.

The law:

• Forbids health insurers from using pre-existing conditions to deny coverage to anyone or to charge people with pre-existing conditions unrealistic rates. The law establishes federally-funded high-risk pools for people with such conditions.

• Family plans must cover adult dependents up to age 26.

• Small businesses with more than 50 fulltime workers would have to provide coverage to their employees or face expensive fines.

• Chain restaurants would need to list calories under every menu item.

For more on the ruling, see the box below.

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