In a landmark decision, the Supreme Court has ruled to uphold the individual mandate and declare Obamacare legal.
The bottom line: the entire Affordable Care Act was upheld, with the exception that the federal government's power to terminate states' Medicaid funds was narrowly read. Ironically, it was conservative Chief Justice Roberts who joined the liberal majority and declared the individual mandate constitutional as a tax.
Most had thought Justice Anthony Kennedy would be the swing vote, yet he joined the dissent.
Whether you’re a Republican, Democrat, Independent, Other, or Just Don’t Care, the controversial health care decision which was handed down by the Supreme Court very much affects you.
Here’s the run-down of the implications: There will be more insured people. Those insured people will help contain health care costs. You will pay less money for health care.
The individual mandate was the heart and soul of the “Obamacare” health care law. The key issue before the Court was whether Congress can fund the program by imposing an individual mandate that fines citizens for not purchasing health insurance, and whether the Court can rule against that provision without overturning the entire law.
The individual mandate is important, because it forces people to purchase health insurance before they are sick, rather than after. This is critical for market dynamics, as the economics of the individual mandate sought to force down health care costs.
Some analyses have shown that forcing a population to have health care coverage increases the amount of health care providers, driving down costs.
The new law is a big win for millions of uninsured and underinsured young adults. The law expands Medicaid to cover people making under $14,400 a year. Almost 8 million uninsured young adults could benefit from this option. The law also creates tax credits for those purchasing insurance who earn under $43,000 a year. Roughly 75% of young people ages 19-29 fall in this category. The tax credits limit the amount an individual pays in insurance premiums for a plan purchased on a state exchange. Third, the law will allow young people to stay on their parents’ health plan to age 26. The OMB estimates that as many as 1.2 million previously uninsured young people could gain coverage through this plan.
The bill also seeks to streamline coverage. We devote 17.4% of our economy (by GDP) to paying for health care (or $7,960 per person each year), and still leave millions without coverage. In contrast, the French spend 11.8% of GDP on health care (or $3,978 per person) and cover everyone; the French live two years longer, on average, than Americans, and have better health by all key measures. Single-payer is a term used to describe a type of financing system. It refers to one entity acting as administrator, or “payer.” In the case of health care, a single-payer system would be setup such that one entity — a government run organization — would collect all health care fees, and pay out all health care costs. In the current US system, there are literally tens of thousands of different health care organizations — HMOs, billing agencies, etc. By having so many different payers of health care fees, there is an enormous amount of administrative waste generated in the system.
Analyses from the Congressional Budget Office and the RAND Corporation have shown that average premiums on the state insurance exchanges would be 10%-20% higher or more if the individual mandate were not part of the law.
The Supreme Court decision is a major victory for you, and for every American's health care costs.