Obamacare ruling has little impact on WNY

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – While most of the U.S. either celebrated the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision upholding a critical provision of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), or loathed it, New Yorkers were not affected by the high court’s ruling, if it had gone in either direction.

The decision had a direct bearing on health insurance subscribers in the 34 states that did not set up statewide healthcare exchanges under the Affordable Care Act. New York was among the 16 states that did create their own health exchanges.

To help put “affordability” into the Affordable Care Act, “Obamacare” as it has been called, provides subsidies for low and moderate income Americans to help pay their health insurance premiums.

Opponents claimed the ACA specifically excluded, from subsidies, the 34 states that let the government set up their exchanges, an argument the Supreme Court rejected.

Don Ingalls, Vice President for State and Federal Relations, for Blue Cross Blue Shield of Western New York has a message for New Yorkers who are receiving financial help with their healthcare premiums:

“The Supreme Court case did not affect them in New York, that any people that are getting subsidies now–financial help in New York– will continue to get that coverage.”

But Ingalls added, the fight for affordable healthcare still has a long way to go, and talked about some of the things Blue Cross Blue Shield is doing to hold down costs.

“We are focused on working with our members, and with doctors and hospitals, and other professionals, to make healthcare more affordable. So for example, working to change the way we reimburse for care, moving away from fee for service, more to pay for outcomes and quality of care.”

Ingalls also said, Blue Cross is working with employers and its subscribers to improve their lifestyles, through wellness and health promotion programs.

The health insurer believes, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” may be just as true now as when Benjamin Franklin said it more than 200 years ago.

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