Government
2:44 pm
Thu June 28, 2012

NIU health care economist discusses Supreme Court ruling

Northern Illinois University health care economist James Ciesla says it's unclear yet just how many Illinoisans will benefit from the law being allowed to stand.

Ciesla said the Illinois Hospital Association estimates between 1.3 and 1.7 million people are uninsured, “so this ruling most directly affects those people.”

“With the individual mandate being upheld,” Ciesla told WNIJ News, “I’m guessing – and others in the research community – that most of those people, probably 800,000 or so, will indeed be covered by the health insurance requirement.”

Ciesla says the outcome will be determined by Illinois' decision whether or not to go along with the law's Medicaid expansion.

When it comes to the impact on small businesses, Ciesla says there will be a learning curve meeting requirements under the act. It could create some turmoil in the short-term, he said, because small business owners don't have experience dealing with this type of regulation. 

Ciesla said implementing a health-insurance exchange in Illinois will make it easier for smaller companies to provide benefits, especially when it comes to cost. But he says a lot of that will depend on how well the exchange does in terms of its operation.