THE SUPREME COURT will rule Thursday on whether President Obama's signature national health-care law is constitutional.
The decision of the nine justices will have huge ripple effects for health care across the country, including here in Philadelphia and around the state.
An estimated 1.37 million Pennsylvania residents — about 11 percent — are uninsured.
Republican Gov. Tom Corbett, as state attorney general in 2010, joined a group of state officials in challenging the law. Still, Pennsylvania is working to set up a health-insurance exchange required by the law, although the state Insurance Department says that it is waiting for the Supreme Court's decision before it touches a $33 million grant it won in January to build out the exchange.
The state will proceed with the development if the law is upheld in its entirety. State Insurance Department officials will otherwise be watching to see how the court decision affects the amount of state money necessary to operate the exchange, whether consumers would still use an exchange without government subsidies and whether the federal government would still fund its initial development if all or some of the law is struck down.
The outcome of the ruling, said Dr. Robert Field, of Drexel University, could greatly affect the health-care community in Philadelphia.
Field, a law professor, said that a rejection of the law by the Supreme Court could lead to a "business opportunity lost" for health-care providers and insurers in the city. Insurers, like Independence Blue Cross, said Field, could lose profits from newly insured people under the law, while providers in the city could lose the benefit of more insured people coming into their health-care facilities.