Today’s ruling by the Supreme Court to save the heart of President Obama’s health-care law is drawing reaction from coast to coast. (Read about the ruling in the Washington Post.) Here are some initial thoughts from T.R. Reid, the writer and on-air correspondent of the movie U.S. Healthcare: The Good News:
The Supreme Court’s decision today (June 28) upholding the Affordable Care Act (aka “ObamaCare”) makes it more likely — but not certain — that the expansion of health insurance coverage will take place as scheduled on Jan. 1, 2014.
Beginning in 2014, under President Obama’s plan, health insurance companies will have to cover anybody, regardless of pre-existing condition. The mandate that everybody buy insurance, or pay a tax penalty, will help the insurers pay for this expanded coverage. If the Supreme Court had thrown out the mandate, the requirement that insurers cover anybody would not have worked.
The court also upheld the Act’s plan to expand Medicaid coverage in every state. Between the Medicaid expansion and the cover-every-applicant rule for private insurance, about 30 million people who lack health insurance today will get coverage in 2014.
Of course, the Affordable Care Act could still face a challenge. If Mitt Romney wins the White House, and has enough support in Congress, he will repeal much of the law. Romney hasn’t set forth his plan to replace ObamaCare, but has said he wants to rely on individual states to expand health care coverage. Right now, however, few states have the resources or the political will to cover more people.
So the Supreme Court decision upholding the Affordable Care Act gets the Obama plan past one hurdle. But the November election could still mean the end of the president’s reform, with no clear alternative in sight.
If “ObamaCare” takes full effect as scheduled, it won’t fix the most basic problem facing American health care. The President’s plan still will leave about 25 million Americans without health insurance.
Even with the Court’s decision, we have a long way to go.
A small Colorado community delivers the “highest value for the money” health care in the United States and in the process covers nearly everyone in town. Find out how they do it in “U.S. Health Care: The Good News.”