SCOTUS Upholds Obamacare!

Obamacare Decision Word Cloud from zerohedge.com

The Supreme Court of the United States today upheld President Obama’s Affordable Care Act by a 5-4 vote. The swing vote, incredibly, was Chief Justice John Roberts. Thousands of citizens (and press) were able to follow the remarks of the judges live via scotusblog.com, plus reactions all day from President Obama, House Speaker Boehner, House Minority Leader Pelosi, Republican presidential candidate Romney etc etc ad nauseam and I’m dead sure the bloviating is still going on as I type this.

The President described pretty clearly what this means for Americans:

“if you’re one of the more than 250 million Americans who already have health insurance, you will keep your health insurance– this law will only make it more secure and more affordable. Insurance companies can no longer discriminate against children with preexisting conditions. They can no longer drop your coverage if you get sick. They can no longer jack up your premiums without reason. They are required to provide free preventive care like check-ups and mammograms — a provision that’s already helped 54 million Americans with private insurance. And by this August, nearly 13 million of you will receive a rebate from your insurance company because it spent too much on things like administrative costs and CEO bonuses, and not enough on your health care.”

Of course those are the very things Republicans object to, apparently. Romney, the former Massachusetts Governor whose signature healthcare bill while in office was the very model the Democrats used to craft the national healthcare bill (now referred to as “Obamacare”), insisted that horrible things will happen now, that Obamacare is going to do the exact opposite of what Obama asserted, and treated the landmark decision as occasion for a stump speech:

“ObamaCare adds trillions to our deficits and to our national debt, and pushes those obligations on to coming generations. ObamaCare also means that for up to 20 million Americans, they will lose the insurance they currently have, the insurance that they like and they want to keep.”

He goes on to assert that “most troubling of all, ObamaCare puts the federal government between you and your doctor.” I guess that’s something Republicans believe should only happen if you’re a woman.

Romney says he actually likes no lifetime limits on coverage, and he favors forcing insurers to cover pre-existing conditions. So, presumably, his alternative to Obamacare (Romneycare? No, I guess that’s what they call it in Massachusetts) will have these features. But will not have the individual mandate necessary to pay for them– and yet somehow whatever the Republicans come up with will keep costs from rising, and will cover the uninsured.

Romney’s only message was the same rote Republican message: vote Republican because only we can do things right. At the same time they feel no need to prove their policies – like tax cuts for the rich – actually work for the country. But it’s a message that’s yielded results (inexplicably) for them in the past, and one Karl Rove and the Koch Brothers et all will spend billions to say this election cycle. That and vote for Romney because we irrationally hate Obama.

My favorite press conference today was Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi’s who reminded Americans that this approach to healthcare means people will not be ‘joblocked’ because of fear of losing insurance-

She really took House Republicans to the wood shed!

While Republicans and Democrats dither about whether or not this is a tax (and excoriate Justice Roberts), because apparently that would make it bad, because, so goes the lore, all taxes are bad, let’s review what the Affordable Care Act (ACA) means for women and children (thanks to Maternity Care Coalition for the recap):

  • Women, children and families will no longer be denied coverage due to a pre-existing condition.
  • Families do not have to worry about life time or annual coverage limits or coverage rescission when they get sick.
  • Women who buy insurance will automatically receive maternity coverage, without having to pay extra for it.
  • Women will receive new free preventative services, including gestational diabetes testing, well-woman visits, contraception and mammograms.
  • Insurance companies will no longer be allowed to charge women higher premiums than men, simply based on their sex.
  • 13.5 million more women will have health insurance thanks to the Medicaid expansion and new tax subsidies for the health insurance Exchanges.

The PA House lists ways in which the ACA is already helping Pennsylvanians: lower prices for prescriptions, free preventive tests and services, health insurance for your kids, grants for public health– the list goes on.

Will healthcare costs go down? Will quality go up? Will quality go up for the 99%? For those previously uninsured?? It certainly seems so to me. Only time will tell which Party was right or wrong. In the meantime, I think we, the people caught a break today.

 

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