Ruling could greatly improve health in America, say UCSF policy specialists.
Experts at UC San Francisco say the historic U.S. Supreme Court ruling on President Obama’s health care law has the potential to significantly improve the health of the nation and the education of future health professionals.
“To me, this is symbolic of our nation’s commitment to become a more moral and just society,” said Claire Brindis, Dr.P.H., director of the Philip R. Lee Institute for Health Policy Studies. “It’s monumental in its potential to make significant inroads to improve the health and well-being of every American.”
The 5-to-4 ruling, with Chief Justice John Roberts writing the majority opinion, upholds the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, considered President Obama’s key domestic legislation. Even its most contentious piece, the individual mandate, was upheld.
For Brindis, who says she’s been “on pins and needles” awaiting the high court’s ruling, the decision is a vindication of a century-long struggle to ensure that health care is affordable and accessible to all Americans.
“The lack of health coverage for nearly 50 million Americans has always been a black mark on this country and this historic legislation provides us with a platform to really make significant inroads in reversing this immoral stand.”
Brindis, who will be making media appearances for her expert reaction throughout the day, said this is a great day in America.
“This is an historic moment that we will remember for decades because the health care law has so many tentacles and touches every American,” she said.
As news of the ruling spreads across UCSF, faculty are reflecting on how it will affect their work providing health care and teaching the next generation of health professionals.
Rethinking health sciences education and training
“I think it’s a great step forward for health care in this country,” Molly Cooke, M.D., director of education for Global Health Sciences. “As an educator, it’s really difficult to do high quality clinical education in a dysfunctional care setting. Anything we can do to make care-delivery better, more accessible and more equitable rebounds to the benefit of education.”
“Students and residents — good and idealistic people — have a hard time when they see that some patients can get services within the system that they really need while others can’t. That doesn’t make sense to our learners.”
Catherine Lucey, M.D., vice dean of education for the UCSF School of Medicine, says the ruling is good news for many young UCSF students who are paying hefty bills. They will be better and more affordably insured as a result of the law. And it will mean rethinking health sciences education and training.