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Curmudgeon's Corner

cur-mud-geon: anyone who hates hypocrisy and pretense and has the temerity to say so; anyone with the habit of pointing out unpleasant facts in an engaging and humorous manner

ObamaCare Takes a Hit

U.S., Quality of Life, Healthcare, Economy, Taxes, Political

A Federal judge today made his decision about the requirement in PPACA (ObamaCare) that stipulates we citizens either buy coverage or face a fine for not having purchased coverage.  He found that clause to be unconstitutional. This language was inserted so that insurers wouldn’t be hit with people buying coverage after being diagnosed with a disease.  You may’ve heard this equated to someone deciding to buy homeowners coverage after discovering the house was on fire.  Such activities would make the cost of ObamaCare unsustainable from an insurance company perspective.  The Federal judge found it was wrong to penalize people for not engaging in commerce.

This decision likely means an ultimate U.S. Supreme Court ruling on this issue.  If the Supreme Court justices were to uphold the judge’s ruling that could place the entire piece of legislation in jeopardy since the staff writers failed to include the typical severability language in the PPACA legislation for anything subsequently determined to have been improper.

This ruling had been expected given this judge’s questions and his promise to rule before the end of this year.  There was some indication that people within the Administration had suspected the judge would rule against their position given their statements and actions leading up to the decision.

No matter the ultimate outcome, this leaves many in a quandary since the planning for and implementation of ObamaCare must continue and since there are aspects of it that are already dropping into place.  Unless it is somehow ‘fast-tracked’, the thought is that the case wouldn’t be decided at the Supreme Court level until sometime in 2012.

Some insurers have already decided to get out of the health insurance business.  Most of these have been insurers with a relatively small percentage of their business in health insurance.  There are some who applaud the announcements since they have long felt that a single-payer system, where the government runs health care, is the most desirable form of health care coverage, and they believe this is the ultimate goal of the Obama Administration.  Sen. Feingold told me during a brief meeting in the Senate cloakroom that was his desire in the era of Hillary Care, the first attempt to take the private marketplace out of the health insurance business.  He again reiterated that during the past election cycle.  I suspect that one of the more vocal commenters to this Blog will echo that opinion.

This story has a long time left in which to play out.  In the meantime, each of us will begin to feel ObamaCare’s effect.  Some will see their Medicare Advantage plans cease to exist; that has already begun to occur.  Some will see their health insurance plans cease to exist; that has already been announced by some insurers.  Some will see their employers decide to quit providing health insurance since the threatened fine, so far, is considerably less than the cost of providing the insurance.  Some will hear from their doctors that they are no longer accepting new Medicare patients (although the physician reimbursement reductions have been averted for yet another year since Congress can’t find the backbone to do what the law has been telling it to do for the past decade).  Some will come to understand that the wait to see their physician has increased since there will be more people trying to see the same, or fewer, number of doctors (that was among the first things that people in Massachusetts learned upon the passage of RomneyCare).

Remember when Rep. Pelosi told an audience that they had to pass the bill so the people could find out what was in it?  We will come to understand just how much truth that statement contained.  Had we known then what this bill contained, there is very likely no way the bill would have been passed into law.  She knew that when she uttered those words and that is why we were essentially kept in the dark through the process of her beating people in the House of Representatives over their heads with threats in order to get their votes.  Many of those people were thrown out of office this past November.

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