The Daily Scoop: Health Care After the Supreme Court Ruling

LATER this month, the Supreme Court will rule on the Obama administration’s health care law, the Affordable Care Act, deciding whether to uphold or strike down the entire law, or to keep some provisions.  No matter the decision, the political ramifications in this election year will be big.

But experts on health care policy say the practical effect of the court’s decision will probably be less earth-shattering than some people think. If the court takes what many observers believe will be the most likely route and strikes down the individual mandate — the requirement that virtually everyone purchase insurance — many more currently uninsured people are still likely to receive health coverage, they say.

Even if the law is struck down entirely — which could happen if the court decides that the other provisions are too intertwined with the mandate — many experts say that some changes the law has already set in motion will continue, probably more slowly, but possibly at a more urgent pace in reaction to the elimination of the federal law.

Gail Wilensky, a health economist who headed Medicare and Medicaid during the administration of the elder President Bush suggested that, while the individual mandate seems vulnerable to being ruled unconstitutional, striking down the entire law seems “highly unlikely, and to my way of thinking, highly undesirable, because I think it’s unnecessary.”

And if the law is upheld? More people will get coverage, but significant problems in the health care system will remain. Chief among them is the high cost of medical care.

“I think much of the transformation of the health care delivery system is moving forward, regardless of the court action,” said Karen Davis, the president of the Commonwealth Fund, a nonpartisan research foundation in New York. “How do we get more efficient? How do we keep people out of hospitals? People are kind of gearing up for this. That’s going to continue. Obviously, it will continue at a faster pace if some of the payments for quality and efficiency in the law continue, but we are already beginning to see a slowdown in hospital costs nationally.”

If the individual mandate is eliminated, but the exchanges remain, significant numbers of uninsured people are likely to purchase insurance anyway, said Amy Lischko, who served in Mr. Romney’s administration when he was governor and helped craft the Massachusetts health care overhaul. “PEOPLE are still going to purchase the insurance because it’s a better deal than before,” said Dr. Lischko, now an associate professor at the Tufts University School of Medicine.

Still, some warn that the longer-term consequences of striking down the individual mandate could be more significant.

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4 Comments to “The Daily Scoop: Health Care After the Supreme Court Ruling”

  1. The post and the vids confuse me more than they inform. We are heading on the right track and the wrong track at the same time?

    • Not quite sure what you mean Thomas. The video? The article is speaking to what can happen depending on if the Court strikes down the whole law, parts of it or leaves it alone. It does jump around a bit and may sound a bit confusing because of that.

  2. I think the most critical issue I have found within the Healthcare debate is the Obama Administration’s inability to fully explain and market the plan. I have gone through a lot of advanced Law classes with lobbyists aka lawyers who lobbied to get make sure the Affordable Care Act did not get passed, and they certainly concede that “Obamacare” is in the best interest of the middle class and consumer both short and long term.

    There is so much conjecture and fear in the general public about the law but most of its key provisions will benefit them. The issue is not so much the expense but how expensive healthcare will become over the years without the Act and who will shoulder majority of the costs. Yes, it is expensive but what will happen without it over the next ten years. to healthcare costs?

    It appears that non lawyers like Rove, Limbaugh and many on the far Right who are not lawyers and who do not understand the law have fanned this irrational fear of the law and the mute Lefties have failed woefully in selling the law to the public. It is not a perfect law but it is better than what we have now. There is a reason a hoard of past Presidents have tried to reform healthcare and failed. It is broken and is defrauding the public most of whom are ignorant about the consequences of the system as is! It is the special interests in the Insurance industry and drug manufacturers that benefit the most from a broken system not the vocal anti-Halthcare reform public.

    The healthcare system is not perfect but it is an excellent step in the right direction despite the Jujistu played by the Right. They have turned the Obama Healthcare system into a liability when it an achivement when you dig deeply into the law and expose it as the positive development that it is!

    • All excellent points. The public message and resulting understanding of the law has been ruled by the Right’s overriding view that it is a government takeover eventhough that has been debunked several times. The administration and the Democrats are so horrible at communicating that simple, repeatable message that needs to get out there.

      Most of the public does like the reform’s provisions by large majorities. But it seems when they think about the law as whole all they see if the mandate. Which is rather interesting because it was a long held Republican idea. Had we just passed the Public Option we would not be in this situation at all.

      I think, and I’ve been saying this for a long time, the administration needs to hire a bulldog communications person, or two or three, and just let them loose onto all the unsubstantiated claims out there. Dispel the “invented Obama” the Right has created for so many to hate. This I feel would be the best way to counter all the outrageousness out there and set the record straight.

      Thanks for this insightful comment and the link to the well written post of yours.

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