Based upon what they heard during oral arguments over the last three days, most pundits, myself included, are predicting that the Supreme Court will declare the individual mandate portion of Obamacare to be unconstitutional. Additionally, most are predicting that the court will find that other elements of the law ARE NOT severable and therefore that the entire law must go. If the pundits are right, sometime this summer, probably in June, the Supreme Court will strike down Obamacare in its entirety by a vote of 5 to 4. One justice will cause the following damage to our country and Americans’ access to affordable health care.
U.S. citizens and legal residents who would have been required to obtain health insurance coverage in 2014, WILL NOT be required to obtain such coverage. An uncovered individual, even someone who could have afforded coverage and voluntarily chose not to do so, will continue to be able to go to an emergency room or other care facility and receive treatment without regard to their ability or willingness to pay. If they can’t pay for the cost of their treatment or refuse to do so, then the cost of their treatment will be picked up by the U.S. taxpayer and/or by insured individuals and families through increased premiums.
Employers WILL NOT be required to provide their employees with health insurance coverage. It will be legal for them to drop coverage or dramatically change coverage at any time.
Children, pregnant women, parents, adults and others who are not currently eligible for Medicare or Medicaid but would have been covered under Obamacare WILL NOT receive coverage and will remain uninsured unless they can somehow find affordable coverage, which is unlikely.
States WILL be allowed to raise eligibility requirements for children in Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) AND federal funding for CHIP WILL NOT be extended.
Health Insurance Exchanges where Americans could shop for affordable coverage from private insurance providers in a competitive marketplace as planned under Obamacare WILL NOT be created.
Low income working families who have too much income to qualify for Medicaid WILL NOT receive premium subsidies or credits to help them purchase health insurance. Most will be forced to continue to go without coverage.
Small companies WILL NOT receive tax credits to help them purchase health insurance from their employees. Providing health insurance for workers WILL remain too costly for most such employers.
There will be NO funding to foster the creation of non-profit, member-run health insurance companies that could provide better policy options and offer lower-premiums to members.
There will be NO national requirement that health insurance companies offer a basic package of essential health benefits thus making it possible for companies to continue to offer worthless junk policies to consumers.
There will be NO national requirement that insurers guarantee renewability of a policy to a policy holder, even one who has not used his/her coverage and has had no adverse changes in his health.
There will be NO restrictions on how much insurance companies can vary their premium rates by age, rating area, family composition, or any other criteria they may choose.
There will be NO requirement that health insurance companies spend a minimum amount of their premium dollars on clinical services, quality and meeting the needs of policy holders.
There will be NO limit on the amount of premium dollars health insurance companies can spend for marketing, overhead, paying executive salaries, profit and so on.
There will be NO requirement for insurance companies to provide coverage for children up to age 26.
Insurance companies will be ALLOWED to continue to place lifetime limits on the dollar value of coverage.
Insurance companies will be ALLLOWED to continue to rescind coverage for any reason.
Insurance companies will be ALLOWED to continue to deny coverage to anyone, children or adults, for pre-existing conditions.
There will be NO limit on the deductibles or out-of-pocket costs insurance companies can demand.
There will be NO limit on waiting periods insurance companies can require before the start of coverage.
There will be NO website established to help individuals easily compare help coverage offerings.
There will be NO requirement that insurance companies provide information about benefits and coverage in a standard format so that consumers can easily understand benefits and compare policies.
There will be NO effort to reduce the cost of Medicare or the rise in Medicare premiums.
Proposals under Obamacare to reduce waste, fraud, and abuse in Medicare and Medicaid WILL NOT be implemented or funded.
There will be NO grants to states to allow them to consider options to tort reform that might reduce current tort litigations while enhancing patient safety through a reduction in medical errors and adverse events.
There will be NO effort to develop a national quality strategy to improve the delivery of health care services, patient health outcomes, and population health and no effort to develop measures of health care quality.
There will be NO funding to support employer-based wellness programs.
There will be NO requirement that chain restaurants and vending machine companies post the nutritional content of foods they sell.
There would be NO funding for improving training and development of health professionals or to increase the number of primary care physicians.
There would be NO additional funding for research on improving trauma centers and the provision of emergency medical services and NO funding for pediatric medical research.
32 million uninsured Americans who would like to carry health insurance and otherwise would have obtained coverage under Obamacare will remain uninsured.
The U.S. deficit will INCREASE by an additional $124 BILLION over the next ten years compared to what it would have been like under Obamacare.
All of this will happen because one Supreme Court Justice decides that if Congress is allowed to mandate that Americans purchase health insurance it might someday decide to require Americans to eat broccoli. I kid you not.
To see a complete summary of the benefits of Obamacare that we will lose, go here:http://www.kff.org/healthreform/upload/8061.pdf