ACA Death: For Real, or Premature?
ACA Death: For Real, or Premature?
The loud and proud state of Texas announced the longed-for ACA death Friday night after a federal judge ruled it all unconstitutional. Here’s how it went down.
US District Judge Reed O’Connor of Fort Worth found that since there’s no more penalty for not carrying health insurance, there’s no more tax support for the ACA. His argument stems from the original 2012 ruling in which Chief Justice John Roberts, Jr., declared Obamacare to be constitutional. Why? Because the penalty is a “tax.” And, in the words of Roberts, Congress “does have the power to impose a tax on those without health insurance.”
However, last year congressional Republicans passed a bill that eliminated the penalty for not carrying insurance. And voilà! No penalty means no tax. Which means that Obamacare is gutted.
As O’Connor wrote:
“The Individual Mandate can no longer be fairly read as an exercise of Congress’s Tax Power and is still impermissible under the Interstate Commerce Clause — meaning the Individual Mandate is unconstitutional. . .”
O’Connor also compared the ACA death to a “slow game of Jenga.”
Yes, elections do indeed have consequences.
But will it finally fall?
Not if the Democrats can help it. Nancy Pelosi, soon to be Speaker of the House, went into her usual hysterics at the news. Once again, Republicans hate people and just want to see them die.
The ruling, in her words:
“. . . exposes the monstrous endgame of Republicans’ all-out assault on people with pre-existing conditions and Americans’ access to affordable health care.”
Liberal Slate hopes that Chief Justice Roberts will come through for their team, one more time:
“Is this the beginning of the end of the Affordable Care Act? . . . After all, the chief justice has already turned down two previous opportunities to drive a legal stake into the health law. And this case is, by many accounts, even more tenuous than the ones that came before it.”
But the Republicans are not wasting time doing a Happy Dance over the ACA death, either. House Ways and Means Chairman Kevin Brady of Texas said that healthcare law needs a do-over. He and others would support popular parts of the plan, like allowing children to stay on their parents’ plan until age 26. Moreover, they’d like to continue to guarantee coverage for people with pre-existing conditions. In other words, they’d like to get re-elected.
They’d also like a bipartisan bill, but the Devil will be ice skating in hell before that happens, of course.
Unfortunately, the ACA death can’t come soon enough for me.
Obamacare has been the bane of my life for years now. I’m sub-contracted as a speech pathologist to a local rehab agency, which means I must carry my own health insurance.
Credit: blickpixel at pixabay.com.
When I started in 2009, I was able to carry a Health Savings Account policy for about $200 per month. Easy-peasy, no problem.
That was then. Wanna guess what my 2019 premium would be using the Healthcare Marketplace?
Try over $1000 per month for a policy with a $7200 deductible. I have no red flag pre-existing conditions, other than aging, which happens to us all.
“Oh,” but the ACA supporters would tell me. “Have you applied for a subsidy?”
Sorry, but I don’t qualify. I make too much money, even though I work part-time, and my monthly income fluctuates. And we’re hardly wealthy.
So my agent managed to find me a short-term policy, which technically doesn’t fulfill the ACA requirements, but it’s actually affordable and will take me through 2019. What will happen in 2020 is anyone’s guess.
Thanks, Obamacare. My agent tells me that prior to the ACA, my state had 17 insurance companies offering individual health insurance. Now there’s just two. And yes, it was the ACA that drove insurance companies out and increased my premiums.
As a health economist wrote in Forbes:
“It turns out that across the board, for all ages and family sizes, for HMO, PPO, and POS plans, premium increases averaged about 60 percent from 2013, the last year before ACA reforms took effect, to 2017. In same length of time preceding that, all groups experienced premium increases of less than 10 percent, and most age groups actually experienced premium decreases, on average.”
But I’m not holding my breath on benefiting from the ACA death, even if it does happen. By the time the final Jenga piece falls, I’ll probably be on Medicare. But I hope for a better future for people who long to work independently, and who don’t want to work just for the insurance benefits a large company would provide. I know I love what I’m doing now, and the biggest fly in the ointment is the unaffordable “Affordable” Care Act. May it die a quick death.
Altering credit Brand X Studio.