Among the promises of the health reform law -- now in the hands of the Supreme Court -- is affordable insurance for millions of low- and middle-income Americans.
Photographer: David Silverman, Getty Images
TAMPA, Fla. - The combination of health care legislation and black robes adorned by antiquated white neck ties may seem like a complex snoozer of a conversation, but it's actually hard to find an American without an opinion on the Supreme Court's ruling to uphold Obama's healthcare reform.
"It's the light at the end of the tunnel," said Tampa resident John Douglas.
Diagnosed with leukemia three years ago, when he didn't have health insurance, Douglas fits into the "pre-existing condition" category. That makes him high risk for insurance companies, raising premiums above his reach.
"It's the difference between actually putting food on my table and not putting food on my table," he said.
Thursday, Douglas celebrated Thursday's vote, hoping it will make his cancer treatment affordable.
But while Douglas hails a victory, Dr. Miguel Fana calls it a horrible mistake. Fana cites a 60% increase in costs for his practice this year alone. Now, he expects to get paid even less, and to make up the difference, he says he and other doctors will have no choice but to see more patients.
"Malpractice suits because of doctors not spending enough time, not developing appropriate relationships, missing things they wouldn't have otherwise," Dr. Fana said. "Lives of many Americans are jeopardized by this plan. I think it's a bad idea."
He also believes many doctors may simply refuse to see patients with certain insurance, like Medicare, and leaving the sickest Americans with the worst care.
"It's bad for doctors," Dr. Fana said. "I think it's bad for the country. I think it's horrible for the economy."
Not if you ask Douglas about his life, though, because for years he says death has felt so close.
"Now I can't be kicked out of a program," Douglas said. "I can't be denied. Now I can have an insurance premium that's actually payable."
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