Last week, a federal district court judge in Texas ruled that ObamaCare – in its entirety – is unconstitutional.
ObamaCare’s defenders plan to appeal the decision to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit and the U.S. Supreme Court, if necessary. The legal fight could drag on for years.
If the ruling is upheld, it’ll be a huge victory for the millions of Americans struggling with higher health care costs thanks to ObamaCare’s onerous regulations. It’s time for Congress to acknowledge ObamaCare’s failures and devolve authority for health policy to the states.
“This legal verdict is a reminder that Obamacare’s faulty architecture was created by Washington and we should not expect Washington to make it better. Congress should resist any knee-jerk reactions that prop up a failing health law.
And they don’t need to buy into the false dilemma that only Obamacare allows Americans with pre-existing conditions to get coverage. Instead, Congress should let states review their health insurance regulations and pursue innovative ways to make coverage more affordable and accessible to Americans—regardless of their income or medical status.”
When a federal judge in Texas struck down the Affordable Care Act on Friday, ruling that its mandate requiring most people to buy health insurance was unconstitutional, it thrust Obamacare into the spotlight right at the deadline to sign up for next year’s coverage.
Open enrollment was scheduled to end on Saturday in most states, and every year, a surge of people sign up at the last minute.
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services sent out an email to millions of Americans on Saturday trying to allay concerns, and HealthCare.gov displayed a red banner alerting people that the court’s decision would not affect open enrollment.
“The five hearings we held reminded us of something else we should agree on: one major reason for the unnecessarily high cost of health care is that the health care system does not operate with the discipline and cost saving benefits of a real market. Too many barriers to innovation drive up costs. And most Americans have no idea of the true price of the health care services they buy—which also drives up costs.”
—Sen. Lamar Alexander
Please submit comments to LowerHealthCareCosts@help.senate.gov by March 1, 2019.
The scope of what can be changed under section 1332, at least in theory, is impressive. While states can’t alter the ACA’s protections for people with pre-existing conditions, or allow insurers to deny coverage or charge higher premiums to consumers with high expected health costs, they can:
- use federal funding for the premium tax credits payable under the ACA to provide subsidies to individuals in a different manner;
- alter the essential health benefit requirements of the ACA;
- change other ACA insurance rules; and
- terminate the ACA exchanges while building new mechanisms for establishing enrollment in health coverage.
Planting a government-financed health-care system requires uprooting another–the employer-sponsored system–one that has grown, adapted, and evolved over decades. Policymakers should carefully weigh the implications of such a change, not merely for the public fisc, but for a health-care system that has long relied on employment-based insurance.
President Trump was elected on his promise to stop other nations from taking advantage of the United States. Our allies let us pay for most of their own national defense needs. Treaties allowed once poor countries to hit American products with tariffs and trade barriers. The Paris agreement on climate change burdened our manufacturers and workers, while letting China and India build and expand without such onerous restrictions.
As several states consider expanding Medicaid eligibility to able-bodied individuals above the poverty level, Virginia state officials have announced huge, unexpected Medicaid costs are threatening to siphon funding from programs such as education.
Although Virginia lawmakers insist the new cost burden is not related to Medicaid expansion, they acknowledge the program’s share of the budget has been growing for years and has led to $460 million in unforeseen Medicaid costs.
Health-care companies are making a last-minute push to delay ObamaCare taxes as part of a year-end government funding deal, but they face resistance from Democrats who want to punt the issue until next year when they control the House.
Powerful health-care lobbies are pushing lawmakers to delay the implementation of the taxes, worried about taking a financial hit. Lawmakers have voted to push off the health law’s medical device tax, health insurance tax, and tax on high-cost “Cadillac” health plans in the past with bipartisan support.
Rather than opting for the cheap, politically expedient trick of “blaming Big Pharma,” our national leadership should insist that all members of the health-care ecosystem create expert-vetted, user-friendly education programs so that patients know the real costs of what they’re buying, where the profits are going and, most importantly, how they can use this knowledge to become savvier consumers.