Local health care professionals and politicians served up rather polarized reactions to Thursday's landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision to uphold the Affordable Care Act.
Dennis Vonderfecht, president and CEO of Mountain States Health Alliance, told Press Staff Writer Madison Mathews health care reform would’ve happened with or without the vote, but the new law will assist Mountain States and other health care systems as they continue to build on the changes that are already happening.
“It’s one step along the way towards health care reform and this country can’t afford any longer to have the health care system operate in the way it has operated in the past number of years,” Vonderfecht said.
East Tennessee State University's medical dean, Dr. Phil Bagnell, said the law establishes a base on which to further reform the nation’s health care system.
“In my opinion the nation needs health care reform, and what the Supreme Court has said is we have health care reform and it’s not going to be taken away,” Bagnell said.
But many of Tennessee's federal and state politicians immediately condemned the Court's decision, siding with national GOP leaders who have vowed to repeal it.
“If we allow its full implementation, our health care decisions will forever be in the hands of Washington bureaucrats,” said U.S. Rep. Phil Roe, a former Johnson City physician.
Andrew King, 2014 class president for the ETSU Physical Therapy Doctoral Program, said regardless of whether people agree with the reforms, the public and health care professionals will have to go along.
“I’ve heard so many different opinions from health care professionals when I was working and now in school, that it’s going to be something we’re going to have to deal with and push forward,” King said. “We can make it into a positive thing and work with it and try to utilize the tools that we have to have a successful, productive health care system and environment.”
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