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After Affordable Care Act ruling, health care advocates, business groups, politicians look to future

Bill Schuette
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There are some differences of opinion in Lansing on what should happen now that the U.S. Supreme Court has upheld President Obama’s healthcare law.

Health care advocates in Michigan are cheering the ruling while business groups say it will drive up their costs and still hope Congress will repeal the Affordable Care Act.

Karen Holcomb-Merrill is with the Michigan League for Human Services. She says it’s time for Michigan to start enacting the law.

“Well, now that the Supreme Court has upheld the Affordable Care Act – which we think is fabulous and will help people all across Michigan and the country – the Legislature and the administration need to move forward on the important parts of implementing it,” she said.

That includes creating online health care exchanges for people and businesses to comparison shop for coverage.

Republican leaders in the Legislature have been waiting on the decision before making their next move on health care exchanges required by the Affordable Care Act.

Republican state Attorney General Bill Schuette says they should wait a few months longer – until after the November election. Schuette is also Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s Michigan campaign manager.

The state also needs to make decisions on the benefits that insurance companies will have to offer, and whether to extend Medicaid coverage to more childless adults.

“Romney has said he will repeal Obamacare, and with that would go the health exchange, and these mandates, and so I think it will be wiser for policymakers to wait until November and that’ll be – that’s the final decision breakpoint on this healthcare policy debate,” said Schuette.

But Republican Governor Rick Snyder says it would be a mistake to wait that long. He says further delay could cost Michigan millions of dollars in federal planning grants and increase the likelihood the state will be forced into a big federal bureaucracy.

The exchanges need to be operating by 2014.

Rick Pluta is Senior Capitol Correspondent for the Michigan Public Radio Network. He has been covering Michigan’s Capitol, government, and politics since 1987.
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