David Blatt, Director of Oklahoma Policy Institute, released the following statement in response to the Supreme Court’s ruling on the Affordable Care Act:
The Supreme Court ruling to uphold the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act is a significant victory for consumers, providers, and payers alike. It’s also a wake-up call for Oklahoma, where our leaders have gambled on a wait-and-see strategy that’s left us ill prepared for reform. The decision today underscores the state’s obligation under federal law to move forward with implementation.
As major provisions of the law take effect in the next two years, many of the state’s 600,000 uninsured residents will gain access to health care coverage. Oklahoma will soon be required to operate an online competitive market for health insurance known as an ‘exchange’ – a one-stop-shop for residents to explore their coverage options. We now need to move quickly towards participating in the creation of a robust, consumer-friendly exchange for users to browse, compare, and purchase private plans and/or determine their eligibility for public programs and premium assistance tax credits.The Supreme Court also upheld expansion of the Medicaid program, a provision that will particularly benefit low-income uninsured Oklahomans, paid for almost entirely by the federal government.
For the 1.7 million Oklahomans who are privately insured and happy with their plan, coverage is now more secure and comprehensive. Insurers can no longer deny their claims or drop their coverage without oversight. Their insurer will now cover routine preventive care, like immunizations and cancer screenings, for no co-pay or additional out-of-pocket cost.
The health law is already working to strengthen consumer protections and ensure that Oklahomans are getting what they pay for from their insurers and providers. It’s now up to state leaders, regardless of their personal political preferences, to move forward quickly to implement the Affordable Care Act.