UK Professors Weigh In On Health Care Ruling

Jun 28, 2012

LEXINGTON, Ky. - Effects from Thursday’s Supreme Court ruling will be felt across the Commonwealth and the country. Josh James spoke with experts at the University of Kentucky about the legal and economic implications of the decision.

Thursday’s landmark ruling had legal scholars, historians, and news junkies alike glued to their screens. At UK, professors took time to weigh in on the highly-anticipated decision. Though most attention has been focused on the individual mandate, Professor Nicole Huberfeld with the College of Law says the Medicaid expansion provision, which was upheld minus penalties for states that choose to opt out, shouldn’t be ignored.  

"People who up until now were not eligible for Medicaid now can get into the Medicaid program. And that means couples without children, single men, people who are not disabled, people who are not elderly," she says.

And that could mean more, Huberfeld says, in states like Kentucky where low-income families make up a larger portion of the population. The individual mandate, however, is most likely to affect a very specific demographic.

"People in their 20s and early 30s, for whom health insurance the way markets have been working is not a particularly good buy," says UK Economics Professor Glenn Blomquist.

Blomquist says, while it’s clear the law will guarantee coverage for some groups, such as those with pre-existing conditions, some cost saving measures could prove problematic if boards are asked to set Medicare and Medicare reimbursement rates.

"If studies show that something doesn't work but people think they want it anyway, are they going to be denied those things? A good example of that is mammograms for younger women," he says.

But should any of those concerns find their way into the court system, Huberfeld says their focus will be limited by Thursday’s ruling.

"We may see other challenges to other aspects of the Affordable Care Act, but these aspects of the Affordable Care Act are settled law now," she says.