ANCHORAGE - A pediatrician who attended a Rose Garden rally for the Affordable Health Care Act in 2009 is elated by the Supreme Court's decision.
"I think it's huge,” said Dr. Monique Karaganis. “I think for Alaskans, we have some security in our future. I think we woke up to a better day for Alaskan children and really children across the country. They don't worry about paid existing conditions. They don't have to worry about going bankrupt because of health care. And as our president said, we are too rich of a country to leave people uncovered when they are ill."
Karaganis said the individual mandate should not be considered burdensome because it addresses a situation now in which the cost of catastrophic care for the uninsured gets spread out in hospital costs and insurance premiums.
"A family member of mine had a terrible motorcycle accident last year; lost a leg; needed an amputation; needed a replacement, artificial limbs. And that will all be covered, instead of getting to an arbitrary number where the insurance says, ‘you know what, you've cost us too much; your lifetime maximum has been met and so we won't cover you anymore.’ "
But political science professor Forrest Nabors said polls show that the verdict is still out on whether Americans like "ObamaCare."
And Alaskans might have even a tougher time with it.
"Alaskans do tend to be fiercely independent and proud of that. And they might not really – they might feel a little booted and spurred and saddled by this mandate."
Nabors said the Supreme Court ruling might actually increase polarization and partisanship in the country through and after the coming presidential election.
"There are many dyed in the wool conservatives who did not like the inventor of the health care mandate. Governor Romney of Massachusetts - who may in fact turn out en masse - forget all about that and remember his speech today [June 28] when he really flogged the repeal issue."
The Affordable Health Care Act survived Thursday, but the long-term prognosis is uncertain.