WARREN - Local business and physician reaction to the Supreme Court's ruling Thursday upholding so-called Obamacare ranged from approval to strong disagreement to caution.
Officials at ValleyCare Health System of Ohio said in an email that the ruling to preserve President Obama's Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act "will make health care accessible for millions of Americans who don't have health insurance today.
''That's good news for people who will be able to visit doctors, utilize hospital services, and obtain preventive health care. We look forward to providing essential health services for more members of our community as coverage expands."
Supporters of President Barack Obama's health care law celebrate outside the Supreme Court in Washington on Thursday. AP photo
The operator of Trumbull Memorial Hospital in Warren and Hillside Rehabilitation Hospital in Howland added it was "pleased that expanded coverage will reduce the burden of uncompensated care on our hospital and others across the nation.''
Officials noted the hospital provides emergency care for anyone who needs it, regardless of whether the patient has insurance or the ability to pay for services.
Shares of ValleyCare parent Community Health Systems Inc. surged $2.05, or 8 percent, Thursday in a strong day for hospital systems, which expect to benefit from millions of new patients with health insurance.
Robert Shroder, chief executive officer of Humility of Mary Health Partners, said via email the ruling won't have a significant impact on the system's strategy because it already was pursuing ways to "improve access, quality and efficiency while lowering costs."
He added the system will continue to transform itself to benefit patients.
Two physicians were less thrilled with the ruling, citing risks to the quality and efficiency of the medical system, along with reduced reimbursement.
"All the physicians in private practice that I know feel it will be implemented in a way that will do away with private practice. Doctors eventually will belong to hospital systems or the government," said Dr. Farid Naffah of the Avamar Center for Endoscopy in Howland. "When bureaucrats run the show, the quality of medicine and productivity of physicians will decline."
Dr. Rick Loges, president Trumbull Radiologists and president of the TC Medical Society, called the ruling, "a step in the wrong direction. I don't know how we can have medical reform without national legal tort reform."
Tort reform deals with medical malpractice lawsuits, which many physicians believe are too easy to file.
Loges said the Medicare system of compensating doctors also needs to be reformed. He pointed out doctors face a 30 percent cut after payments have been frozen for years.
He said the health care reform has some good parts, including coverage of patients with pre-existing health problems and allowing people to be covered up to age 26 on their parents' plan, but warned, "How we fund it is another issue."
Thomas Humphries, president of the Regional Chamber, said he's heard discussions that manufacturers who are starting to bring work back to the area because of declining fuel prices could reverse that process as the health care law takes effect.
"Businesses look at the total cost of a product. Fuel, labor and benefits are part of that. When any of those is adjusted significantly, my concern is it could cause jobs to leave North America for other parts of the world where it might be cheaper - Vietnam, Cambodia, Africa," he said.