The U.S. Supreme Court upheld President Obama's health care overhaul Thursday. In a 5-4 decision, Supreme Court justices upheld the individual mandate, requiring most Americans to have health insurance.
The court rejected arguments that the individual mandate amounts to an unconstitutional tax and that Congress went too far in requiring Americans to have health insurance or pay a penalty.
It was a highly anticipated ruling that will impact nearly every American, including thousands of people in Kern County. But, not everyone agrees the President's plan is the best way to fix our broken health care system.
In Kern County, one-third of people have no health insurance. "250,000 people, about a quarter of a million," said Steve Schilling, CEO of Clinica Sierra Vista.
The promise of improved access to health care has some uninsured worried less about their health and more about how the plan is going to work. "How can they handle the care of the whole nation? It's scary," said Lydia Torres.
"We gotta take care of our business. We don't need the government to take care of our business," said Maria Rodriguez.
Steve Schilling is the CEO of Clinica Sierra Vista, a health care system with two dozen clinics that serve moderate and low income members of the community. He said the Supreme Court's decision is a victory for everyone, but especially people in Kern County.
"This is the region that has the highest level of poverty and high significant amounts of health concerns, heart disease, hypertension, asthma. If there's going to be a huge significant impact, it's going to be in the Central Valley of California," explained Schilling.
Both supporters and critics agree, America's health care system is in need of major reform.
Congressman Jim Costa sent 17 News his reaction the ruling. "40 million Americans were without health insurance, yet we are still paying for their care. We must come together in a bipartisan fashion to do the hard work of examining health reform to see what works and to improve or replace what doesn't."
But, Congressman Kevin McCarthy said the president's plan will end up costing taxpayers. "You cannot keep your current insurance. I think it hurts the economy. It will force you into a government plan. A new study says it will cost in the next ten years 1.7 trillion more dollars."
"So you have a rising cost of providing health care, you have access being taken away and you break down the relationship making the decision with the doctor. In July, we will vote to appeal Obamacare," he continued.