The key argument in favor of the individual health insurance mandate, which was upheld last month by the Supreme Court in a 5-4 vote, was that everyone uses health care eventually. Therefore, it is only fair that everyone pays into the insurance pool. Without a mandate, when access to affordable coverage becomes guaranteed in 2014, some people will simply wait until they get sick before buying a plan.
With over a dozen conservative states leaning against expanding Medicaid to cover poor workers without health insurance, perhaps it is time to resuscitate an idea embraced by President Ronald Reagan. Let the federal government take over Medicaid lock, stock and barrel.
The Supreme Court has ruled. Health care reform raised taxes.
Of course, it didn’t require a Supreme Court decision to know that. Anyone who read the 955-page bill knew it had numerous revenue raising provisions, a relatively small penalty for failing to purchase health insurance assessed against individuals and businesses (the tax on tanning salons – the Snooki tax – was even smaller).
For the time being, the United States’ long slog toward universal health insurance coverage remains on track.
The voters could still intervene. A political earthquake in November that puts Republicans in control of the White House and both houses of Congress could overturn Obamacare, a.k.a. the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.
In the wake of the Supreme Court ruling Obamacare constitutional, Republican leaders immediately repeated their vows to “repeal and replace” the law. But replace it with what?
Great piece by Barry Meier in today’s New York Times outlining the issues that won’t be discussed at a two-day Food and Drug Administration advisory committee meeting on the safety of implanted hips, which have caused numerous injuries and required thousands of patients to undergo repeat replacement operations. He writes:
The job market is dismal. Nearly a million public employees have lost their jobs over the last two years. Construction remains severely depressed, and millions of Americans are laboring at lower pay because they’re stuck in jobs far below their qualifications.
Yet one sector boasts nothing but blue skies. Health care added 32,800 new jobs last month, just as it added new jobs every month without fail for the past 20 years. Physician offices led the way with 9,900 new slots in May, followed by 5,500 new jobs at nursing homes.
The Supreme Court’s imminent decision on the Affordable Care Act will trigger a political firestorm whether they accept the legislation in its entirety, throw out every page of the 906-page bill or do something in between, which is the most likely outcome.
Ignoring threats of a presidential veto, House Republicans on Thursday repealed the medical device tax included in the 2010 health care reform law to help pay for coverage of the uninsured. A handful of Democratic representatives with major device makers in their states also supported repeal, which passed 270-146.
Economists will debate the causes of the great slowdown in health-care spending that’s now underway for a long time to come.
For most of the past three decades, national spending on health grew twice as fast as the rest of the economy, sometimes at rates approaching double digits. Its share of the gross domestic product grew inexorably larger, soaring over 17 percent in 2008, a near doubling since 1980.