Implications of Obamacare Decision Go Beyond Healthcare

The health care reform debate rages on as the Supreme Court continues to deliberate on whether or not the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is constitutionally sound.

The health care reform debate rages on as the Supreme Court continues to deliberate on whether or not the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is constitutionally sound.

The ramifications of whatever outcome is eventually reached are far-reaching, says Daniel Shuchman of Forbes. In his recent OP/ED piece “A Right to Health Care, But No Right to Pay For It?” Shuchman goes on to say that “the implications are potentially more troubling for the future of economic liberty than the individual mandate itself,” and even presents a hypothetical patient/doctor conversation that could become the norm if the proposed reform takes place.

The Wall Street Journal’s John Cochrane believes that, regardless of the outcome of the Supreme Court decision on Obamacare, we will all still be left with a broken healthcare system. Why? Because, according to Cochrane, the ACA fails to address the root causes of the current broken system, such as skewed physician incentives, inconsistent pricing, and the simple fact that health insurance is not restricted to catastrophic coverage.

Washington Post writer Olga Khazan reminds us of another aspect of the Supreme Court deliberations. Remember those health insurance exchanges — the “marketplaces” for health plans that were established by the ACA? Well, many government contractors are beginning to wonder whether their efforts will yield anything at all. With so much hinging on the decision of the Supreme Court, it looks like “many of the health care exchanges will stop.”

But despite the arguments for and against Obamacare (and in addition to those who would like to defend the status quo), the simple fact is that there are only nine opinions that matter. Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Samuel Alito represent two of those opinions. Here are some of their concerns with the ACA as it stands now:

Chief Justice John Roberts: “If I understand the law, the policies that you’re requiring people to purchase ... must contain provision for maternity and newborn care, pediatric services and substance use treatment. It seems to me that you cannot say that everybody is going to need ... substance use treatment or pediatric services, and yet that is part of what you require them to purchase.”

Justice Samuel Alito: “The mandate is forcing these people (young, healthy individuals) to provide a huge subsidy to the insurance companies for other purposes that the act wishes to serve ... isn’t it the case that what this mandate is really doing is not requiring the people who are subject to it to pay for the services that they are going to consume? It is requiring them to subsidize services that will be received by somebody else.”

What are your opinions on the Affordable Care Act?