Today the US Supreme Court upheld President Barack Obama’s signature accomplishment of his first term, the Affordable Care Act (ACA), otherwise known as “Obamacare”. Supreme Court Upholds ‘Obamacare’.
The Supreme Court has ruled 5-4 that the Affordable Care Act meets constitutional muster and can be allowed to continue its slow process of transforming the nation’s health care system.
Thursday’s historic decision, authored by Chief Justice Roberts, was by no means a fait accompli. Though the consensus among constitutional scholars has always been that the law’s insurance mandate did not exceed Congress’ Commerce Clause powers, its opponents erected a counterargument that quickly became an article of faith on the right. In the end, Roberts’ decision upheld the mandate as an exercise of Congress’ taxing power.
There’s a way to view Supreme Court decision in our day and age. I can’t remember who said it, but it wasn’t me, that the Supreme Court – who gets on and each decision – is always done in favor of corporations and big money. There were a lot of “tea party” wing nut critics of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), but the insurance corporations have not said a bad word about it. And I think that was the ace in the hole.
It had become apparent in the last few days that if this attempt to fix health care went down, all that was left was a single-payer, Medicare for all type of fix. That would have cut the insurance corporations out of health care and that’s likely why this decision happened. Like last week’s immigration decision, which was all about cheap labor for certain corporations – think Bob Perry, owner of Perry Homes.
I hate to by so cynical on such a “big” day. But that’s likely what’s really going on here.
[UPDATE]: More from Progress Texas, No More Excuses – Tell Texas Leaders To Get To Work.
The Affordable Care Act has been preserved! The Supreme Court upheld President Obama’s Affordable Care Act in a landmark decision! Sign your name to our petition calling on Rick Perry to get to work and implement the Affordable Care Act in Texas immediately!
President Obama’s statement:
Economist Jared Bernstein on the states and Medicaid ruling in the decsiion, More on the SCOTUS Health Care Decision.
Additionally, and this is very important in predicting where this lands, states that newly cover these low-income, uninsured folks initially get fully reimbursed for the costs by the Feds (by 2020, that match falls to 90%). Also, under the original law, states risked losing their federal Medicaid contribution if they failed to implement the expansion. (See here for more details.)
But SCOTUS reversed that part. They said states could reject the extension and Congress could not take away their existing Medicaid funding.
So, what does this mean? It has some potentially pretty weird implications.
For example, one’s first thought is that hard-core conservative governors—the type that rejected fully paid-for Recovery Act bucks when their citizens needed jobs—will surely reject the expansion, despite the fact that it’s fully funded through 2017. Lefties and advocates for the poor will squawk, but so what, right?
But the thing is, they’re not the only ones who will be pushing back on their governors. Hospitals, doctors, community health care providers, their lobbyists, and anyone else who deals with low-income, sick people will be pushing very hard to take the money.
Obviously, ideology may triumph but the coalition in support of the expansion, even in the reddest state, will be decidedly purple.
Next, because the law was written assuming that the uninsured poor would be covered by Medicaid, subsidies to purchase health insurance in the exchanges don’t kick in until higher income levels. The poor won’t have to pay the tax penalty formerly known as the mandate because of a hardship exemption in the law, but neither will they get the subsidy until their incomes go up enough.
It’s a very weird reversal of the usual means-test for government benefits. Typically, as your income rises you become ineligible for benefits. Here, you become eligible.
Emily Ramshaw of the TT, With Health Reform Constitutional, What Happens in TX?
Statement from the Texas Democratic Party in the extended entry.
TDP Statement on SCOTUS Health Care Decision
Texas Democratic Party spokeswoman Rebecca Acuña released the following statement in response to the Supreme Court’s decision to uphold the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act:
“Today’s Supreme Court decision is a victory for Texans. The health care law is the only lifeline for many Texans and Americans who had nowhere to turn when they got sick. Women can celebrate that their gender is no longer considered a pre-existing condition. Texans can have the peace of mind that they won’t be shoved off their policies when they need it most.
Republicans like Rick Perry railed against the health care law but never offered a plan that would help save lives. Instead Texas Republicans put government between a woman and her doctor and ended preventive care for thousands of Texas women.
It’s time for Republicans to drop their frivolous lawsuits and move forward to implement the law in a way that will benefit most Texans.”
Since its passage, the health care law has improved the lives of Texans of all ages and walks of life. Thanks to the health care law:
· 7.5 million Texans no longer have to worry about hitting a lifetime limit on their health insurance policy.
· Over 400,000 young adults in Texas have been able to stay insured by remaining on their parents’ insurance plan.
· Texans no longer have to pay copays or meet a deductible for preventive care services for things like cancer screenings or mammograms.
· More than 221,100 Texas seniors received prescription drug rebate checks in 2010.
· Our Texas seniors have saved $135 million – an average of $639 per person – on their prescriptions thanks to the provision closing the Medicare “donut hole.”
· 420,3000 children with pre-existing conditions are protected
· 248,700 small businesses in Texas are eligible for a tax credit to help provide insurance for their employees.