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Parents, health care providers speak out after Supreme Court ruling

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MILWAUKEE -- The U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday, June 28th upheld the controversial health care law championed by President Barack Obama in a landmark decision. While some warn the quality of health care may go down as a result of the high court's ruling, others who don't like the plan say it simply costs too much. From parents to those in the health care industry, many have been preparing for this day.

James O'Claire has health insurance for himself and his family, but said he knows now that health insurance will be mandatory, it could help families like his.

Insurance companies will no longer be able to reject coverage to children with preexisting conditions. In 2014, the same rule will apply for adults.

Milwaukee's Wheaton-Franciscan St. Joseph Hospital has the busiest emergency room in the state. While health care providers at St. Joseph say they know the industry will lose much in reimbursements under the Affordable Care Act, they hope people will get the health care they need from primary care doctors, preventing some of the emergency room visits.

"We have to be efficient. We don't expect the quality of care to go down. If anything, we will intensify our focus to make sure there's high-quality outcomes. In fact, our reimbursements will be tied to the patient experience we provide," Anne Ballentine with Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare said.

At the Joseph Zilber School of Public Health at UW-Milwaukee, the dean said she is happy students will benefit, because they will be insured under their parents' insurance, up to age 26. In Wisconsin, that affects 43,000 young adults.

"While they're studying, they don't have to worry about the costs of being able to pay out of pocket if they get sick," Magda Peck said.

In Milwaukee, Assurant Health agrees patients need affordable access to health care. The company said unfortunately, rising medical costs remain the biggest barrier and are unaddressed by health care reform.

Low-income families on Milwaukee's south side find medical care at the Sixteenth Street Community Health Center. Nearly 40 percent of the center's patients are uninsured.

"There's plenty of people I know that are struggling right now, trying to get some health care," Carlos Mercado said.

"I can't afford my medicine right now. I got a lot of medicine up at the Pro Care Health Center and I can't even go get it," Gail Lewis said.

The uninsured are directly affected by the Supreme Court's ruling requiring that everyone have health insurance or pay a fine. States must establish exchanges or marketplaces where people can comparison shop for coverage.

Some feel the law doesn't do enough. Assurant says "rising medical costs remain the biggest barrier to health care access and are unaddressed by health care reform."

The health care law also expands Medicaid, and requires most employers offer insurance plans to workers or face fines.

CLICK HERE for more information on the Affordable Care Act.

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