BUFFALO (WKBW) One day after the Supreme Court deemed President Obama's healthcare bill both legal and constitutional, now the focus shifts to what effects it will have on New York State and Western New York.
A healthcare forum was held Friday at BlueCross BlueShield, where professionals from the insurance, medical, legal, and political realms all answered questions regarding the Supreme Court's decision.
"I think the major message is that reforming a system as complicated as healthcare in the United States, is a challenge and that the affordable care act is just the first step in that challenge," Thomas Rosenthal, Dept. of Family Medicine at the University at Buffalo said.
Channel Seven's own Keith Radford served as one of the moderators for today's round table, and asked the question many WNYers want to know.
"How is this ruling and now this healthcare bill going to affect people specifically here?" Radford asked.
"You're not going to be subject to losing your health insurance because you get an illness that uses up all the coverage that you have, and you're not going to be denied coverage because you have a preexisting condition. That your children will be able to stay on your policy until 26 if they're in school," health legal expert William Keefer answered.
One legal expert says the goal is to insure everyone in the country, while keeping costs down. But whether or not that can happen has yet to be decided.
"The long term affect of the statute and what the court did on the cost of healthcare generally is not clear, and sooner or later that will be affected in the premium costs that people do pay," lawyer Anthony Shelley said.
Most of the panel agreed, that in the aftermath of the decision, as the affordable healtchare act is implemented over the next few years, that meetings, forums, and education is the key to a better healthcare future.
"The more we as BlueCross BlueShield can help people understand the law, that is what we want to do and help people understand their options going forward," Don Ingalls of BlueCross BlueShield of WNY said.