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North Westchester Weighs in on Healthcare Ruling

NORTHERN WESTCHESTER, N.Y. – The U.S. Supreme Court's decision to keep most of the Affordable Care Act, often called Obamacare, intact met with approval Thursday from several people in Northern Westchester County.

The Court announced Thursday morning that it would uphold President Barack Obama’s health care law, which requires all citizens to have health insurance or face a financial penalty. The decision passed by a 5-to-4 vote.

Writing on the Mt. Kisco Daily Voice's Facebook page, Mount Kisco resident Sally Fay said she applauded the president for pushing the legislation and the court for upholding it. “Healthcare is the biggest drag on our economy and our president put a stake in the ground to change it at a very basic level and make it fairer for all Americans,” she wrote.

Joel Seligman, CEO and president of Northern Westchester Hospital in Mount Kisco, praised the law as a step toward reforming the delivery system of treatment, making it easier for more patients to take advantage of the specialists and medication they need, while also slowing the growth of health care costs.

“We need the health care system to be affordable and accessible, and this goes toward pushing this overall agenda,” he said.

Another hospital administrator, Bill Dauster, vice president of Hudson Valley Hospital Center in Cortlandt Manor, said he did not know what the ultimate effect of the law would be, but that he does believe in a need for change in the system.

“Hospitals and physicians have long been pressured to do more with less, but it is not yet clear whether the planned change will ease those burdens,” he said. “However, enactment of this law is two years and an election away. No doubt this will be a different law by that time.”

Assemblyman Robert J. Castelli (R–Goldens Bridge) said that while he supports some aspects of Obama’s health care plan, he was disappointed in the Supreme Court's decision.

“At a time when the nation is facing an economic crisis second only to the Great Depression, this was not the time to increase the national debt by more than a trillion dollars,” Castelli said.

South Salem resident Ricca Mendes is one of those who have the most at stake when it comes to the legislation. A breast cancer survivor whose treatment to date has cost $750,000, Mendes said she was "very happy" with the court's decision because, although she is currently covered, "we don't know what will happen tomorrow."

One of the key provisions of the law prevents insurance companies from dropping patients whose treatment has become expensive. Another makes it illegal to refuse to issue a policy based on pre-existing conditions.

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