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Local patients' reactions are largely positive


Two years ago, Waynedale resident Katie Weaver slipped and fell in a household accident that left her in a coma and with a third of her skull having to be removed.

"I went through six months of rehabilitation. I had to learn how to talk, walk and cook again."

The 33-year-old mother of three on Thursday applauded the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling upholding the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, which includes a provision to prevent insurers from denying coverage to people with pre-existing medical issues or charging them more. Women also can't be charged more.

"I'm happy," Weaver said. "My husband is a roofer, and I can't work. We're poor. I mean, we're able to make it, but you don't want to have to cut back on groceries because of health care costs. Hopefully, this law will help."

The law is hailed as a boon for hospitals because more patients will be covered by insurance. The law likely will result in coverage to about 30 million uninsured people, meaning about nine in 10 eligible Americans will be covered.

Fort Wayne retiree Tim Lynch is pleased.

"I have a lot of friends and family that are having a hard time right now," the 62-year-old said. "Hopefully, this will do something about the spiraling health care costs. I hope it gets that under control and helps with my prescription costs."

Wireless communications sales rep Edgar Rosario said the health care law is a coup for "low- and middle-income families."

"It's a victory for them," said the 49-year-old father and Fort Wayne resident. "I just hope they follow through and implement the health care system."

Dr. Clark Newhall is executive director of Health Justice, a national patient advocacy organization in Salt Lake City that believes Medicare should be accessible to everyone, not just senior citizens. He says the health care law is a mistake.

"It's essentially a bailout for a dying industry," said Newhall, a New Haven High School graduate who also is a malpractice attorney. "The health insurance industry could not continue to raise premiums" and expect people to afford it. "The system was on its last legs and it needed something to save it. They wrote a bill that says we can make coverage as crappy as we want and still call it health care."

Others disagree.

"Health reform is alive and well and will benefit all of us," Jim Guest, president of Consumers Union, said in a statement Thursday. The association publishes Consumer Reports magazine. "Today we are especially thinking of the seriously ill children who will continue to be able to get critical care, the young adults who can stay on their parents' insurance, and the seniors who can better afford the prescription drugs they need. For these people and the millions of Americans with preexisting conditions, the uncertainty is over."

That is a relief for tennis instructor Pat Downs.

"I'm without health insurance, and I can't afford it," said Downs, 49, of Fort Wayne. "Overall, I like what this health care program does, and I think a lot of people will. It at least provides for more people overall, which is a big problem."