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WDAY: The News Leader

Published June 28, 2012, 06:07 PM

How the Health Care Overhaul will affect our region

Fargo, ND (WDAY TV) -- The overhaul will take effect over the next several years. But it will affect how thousands in our region, get and pay for health care.

Fargo, ND (WDAY TV) -- The overhaul will take effect over the next several years. But it will affect how thousands in our region, get and pay for health care.

Fargo Cass Public Health Director Ruth Bachmeier says this reform will make the State of North Dakota healthier.

Ruth Bachmeier/Fargo Cass Public Health Director: "There is a huge emphasis on prevention with this act, and so there will be opportunities to really focus on keeping people healthy and preventing disease in the first place."

Bachmeier says we won't see vast results of this ruling overnight.

Ruth: "It's taken us years and years to get to this point of you know high health care costs, and so the changes we will see will be fairly gradual."

Health care providers here at Sanford say one of the biggest benefits of the ruling today is for the time being there will be no uncertainty.

Dr. Richard Marsden/Sanford: "The patients will not experience any major upheaval in the system as it exists today."

Republican State Senator Judy Lee says down the road, we can expect higher premiums and reduced numbers of insurance policies to choose from.

Judy: "Higher premiums for everybody, but it is particularly going to mean higher premiums for young people, because you are going to be paying the cost for the older people that are in the pool now."

Lee also says the penalty that some businesses will pay for not providing insurance, may be lower than providing healthcare to employees, so some companies will pay the penalty rather than insurance costs.

Judy: "In the long run will mean that, we won't have the kinds of choices that we've had and it's going to mean it's going to cost significantly more money, not only for the individuals who are purchasing insurance, but it is also including a significant cost shift to the state in so many areas."

Most of these provision don't kick in until 2014, but for the time being Lee says we need to learn how to adjust to it because it is the law.

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