U.S. Supreme Court expected to rule on Affordable Care Act

MILWAUKEE -- The United States Supreme Court is about to make a ruling that will determine whether President Barack Obama's Affordable Care Act is constitutional. Some call it a ruling that will fundamentally change lives, as it will determine whether millions of people will be required to have health insurance.

Tamarr Dedrick has been a patient at the Marquette Neighborhood Health Center for the past 20 years. Like many, she said she's concerned about rising insurance costs and her ability to afford health care for her family.

"I just got a bill the other day and it went up $20," Dedrick said.

A controversial provision in the Affordable Care Act passed in 2010 is being challenged in the U.S. Supreme Court. The provision requires everyone to have health insurance under a public and private partnership between the government and insurance companies. Some believe that would make insurance rates jump, while others say it could be off-set by government subsidies and tax credits.

Marquette Neighborhood Health Center officials say without insurance, many seek treatment in emergency rooms.

"We're very concerned if the Affordable Care Act would be overturned because when patients, especially those with chronic health conditions do not receive ongoing care, they will eventually re-enter the healthcare field a lot sicker than they left," Kelly Campbell with the Neighborhood Health Center said.

UW-Milwaukee professor Timothy Patrick said he wonders whether striking down the Affordable Care Act, or part of it, would stifle a provision that gives the green light to electronic sharing of patient health care information between doctors and patients.

"It can transform how the health care is done, bringing the patient in as a more active part of the care process," Patrick said.

If the law is struck down, experts say Republicans would applaud that decision of killing a costly federal program before it takes root.

Some Republicans are preparing for the possibility the act will be struck down by preparing to pass the more popular pieces of the health care law.

Democrats are also making preparations, creating plans that would still allow many of those who are uninsured to get health insurance.

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