Getting Close To A Decision!
At this time don't know the exact date the Supreme Court will rule on the Patient Protection Act (Obamacare). We do know however that it will be sometime in June and that is will surely create earthquake-like tremors throughout the medical and insurance industries.
We all know that the system is totally screwed up and it needs fixing, the issue is simply, how will we fix it? I have unfortunately accrued a lot of personal experience with medical costs and the whole "medical experience" in the last 3 months as a family member was involved in a serious accident and is now recovering. The challenging times have left me with a keen insight on the medical system as a patient (advocate) and I will share those with you in the coming days and weeks.
Despite my experiences, I haven't received any phone calls from the Supremes about the need for my input, and I don't expect it. They have already recorded their votes and are probably finishing off their written opinions now. If I had to handicap the vote, I would guess that they are going to rule against the individual mandate, essentially gutting the bill of the internal machinery that makes the thing work. Oddly, I haven't noticed a significant drop in any of the healthcare stocks (other than the general drop in the market in May), so I don't see any realy pressure there. Perhaps the markets already know the outcome or the stock prices have already factored in the decision.
If It Looks Like A Tax...It's A Tax!
Let us be honest. Congress and the President could have easily passed this law and essentially called it what it really is, a tax, and made it attributable to everyone like Social Security and Medicare. Instead, because a new entitlement "tax" is the third-rail in politics, the administration came up with a nifty individual mandate work around. Once again, make it a tax and everyone gets coverage......no problem from a Constitutional standpoint. Force folks to enter into a private contract with a third party, the high court has the room to rule against it. The President really missed an opportunity to change the health system when the Democrats had control of the House and Senate, but didn't want to get labeled for life as the President and party that created the new healthcare tax abomination that it will become.
The removal of the individual mandate makes the entire thing blow up. Why? Without the individual mandate, 35 million uninsured people won't come on board and buy insurance. Perhaps these folks are poor or unhealthy, but frankly they are more likely to be young healthy people that have just made the decision to gamble and not purchase healthcare coverage. These 35 million healthy people probably would pay more premiums than they receive in the form of healthcare services and that surplus would be used to offset the tremendous cost of all the other insured people that would consume the services (in theory). Without the mandate, all the sick folks that really need coverage and really use the coverage would still be there because the law requires insurance companies to accept them, but none of the healthy guys are suddenly going to change their behavior and volunteer to buy coverage they probably won't use.
Grab Your Popcorn
If the Supreme Court rules that the mandate is Constitutional, then I will be stunned and I'll be hopeful that all of the promises made come to pass. No matter what, it will be very interesting to watch and we'll have a lot to discuss in the coming weeks.
Thank you so much for stopping by and reading, I'm committed to writing more now that our family situation has stabilized. Let me know if I can provide you a quote or answer any questions.
Jason W Bohmann
Texas Health Design