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Local health care officials react to U.S. Supreme Court ruling

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Local health care officials react to U.S. Supreme Court ruling
Bemidji Minnesota P.O. Box 455 56619

BEMIDJI - Minnesota won't see a big impact from the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling to uphold the Affordable Care Act, local health care officials said.

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Jeanine Gangeness, founding dean of the Bemidji State University School of Nursing, and Joy Johnson, chief operating officer of Sanford Health of Northern Minnesota, both said that because Gov. Mark Dayton had already implemented parts of the health care law, the people of this area were already receiving expanded health care.

However, the overall impact of ACA is still being felt in the Bemidji area, Gangeness said.

"There's so much poverty in this area and so many people are benefiting from having expanded access to preventative care," Gangeness said. "Making sure everyone has access to the minimum coverage is good for this area."

Gangeness said the Supreme Court's decision to uphold the health care reform law opens up an opportunity for everyone to have access and coverage.

"It means that people with chronic illnesses are now able to have coverage and be able to see advanced practice nurses," Gangeness said. "In the long run, I think it's really going to allow those people to be able to have fewer hospital stays."

Johnson said that while there aren't any short term effects of the ruling, the long term could be another case.

"It means healthcare coverage is available to all of the population," Johnson said. "It also provides expanded coverage for all Americans and holds healthcare providers responsible."

Johnson said Sanford will continue to work with local policymakers to increase the quality of care provided and to deliver healthcare to the population.

"Health care reform won't happen overnight," Johnson said. "It is an ongoing process, and we'll continue to focus on care, quality and value."

The one concern Johnson said she had over Thursday's ruling was the part dealing with Medicaid. The law said states could lose funding if they don't expand their Medicaid coverage. The Supreme Court ruled that part of the law must change.

"It is a concern to us," Johnson said. "It should expand Medicaid to 100,000 Minnesotans and that may be in jeopardy. We'll need to continue to work with our state legislators to make sure all low-income people are covered."

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