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Widespread reactions to Obamacare ruling

Daniel Fulwiler CEO Centro de Salud Espranzcomments Supreme Court ruling President Barack Obama's health care plan EsperanzHealth Center 2001 S.

Daniel Fulwiler, CEO of Centro de Salud Espranza, comments on the Supreme Court ruling on President Barack Obama's health care plan, at the Esperanza Health Center 2001 S. California. Thursday, June 28, 2012 | Brian Jackson~Chicago Sun-Times,

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Updated: July 30, 2012 6:37AM

Cries from across the political spectrum rang out in the Chicago area Thursday following the Supreme Court’s 5-4 ruling to uphold most of the Affordable Care Act.

“We’re really excited about it,” said Daniel Fulwiler, chief executive officer for Centro de Salud Esperanza, a Little Village health center that treats a large number of uninsured patients who will be affected by the ruling. “It’s a great move in the direction of quality health care for everybody.”

Clinic patient Elisa Gomez is one of 2 million Illinoisans currently without health insurance.

“Things have got to get better. This is the perfect solution,” Gomez, 39, said through a translator.

Opponents of the health care overhaul fear its steep cost: $938 billion over the next 10 years.

Maria Zuño, 36, believes the law could allow some people to “fall through the cracks” and abuse the system.

“Who’s going to pay for that? Will it fall on the working class? We’ll have to wait and see,” Zuño said.

The health care debate struck a particular chord with Qubie Williams, 55, of Pilsen. He said in poor neighborhoods, people without access to medical insurance often delay routine checkups.

“And by the time they do go, it’s too late,” he said, recalling several uninsured friends who died of prostate cancer.

“If people can’t understand that health care is important, there’s something wrong.”

Meanwhile in Elgin, Jesse Greco was relieved he wouldn’t have to worry about health insurance.

“For people my age, this happened at the perfect time. It’s totally our choice, and we’re going to be fine,” said 23-year-old Greco.

While some medical professionals had reservations, they remained cautiously optimistic.

“The system before wasn’t working ... I’m glad somebody tackled this problem,” said Lawrence Schilder, medical director of the hematology/oncology department of the University of Chicago Cancer Center at Silver Cross Hospital in New Lenox.

Still Schilder wasn’t sure the plan will work as is.

“One thing is clear: you’ll have to shoehorn everyone without insurance into Medicaid and then give money to states to cover the costs,” he said.

“My prediction is everyone will be paid less, because you’ll be covering the same or more people with less money.”

Joilet doctor Theodore Kanellakes conceded that the law isn’t perfect but also said reforms were needed.

“No one likes change. It’s the unknown,” he said. “But you can’t continue with the current system. There’s no way.”

Contributing: Janet Lundquist, Sun-Times Media

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