A Federal judge in Texas ruled last week that the entirety of the Affordable Care Act was unconstitutional. This decision is obviously going to be appealed, to the conservative Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, so it is a good bet that this decision will not be overturned. The fate of this law will therefore once again wind up in front of the Supreme Court, and with the Court’s two recent additions, it is anyone’s guess what the outcome will be.
It will take most of 2019 for this to shake out, but if I wasn’t fortunate enough have access to insurance through my large employer group, I would be extremely worried.
I don’t get it. Well, actually I do get it. Bitter partisan politics and their corresponding kill or be killed philosophies dictate agendas these days, regardless of the good or bad it does, let alone what it means to the political fortunes of the Democrats and Republicans in Washington. You’d think that with the thrashing Republicans received in the mid-terms elections, and the Trump Express, which most have enabled, seemingly coming off the rails, the last thing they want is to have this stink-bomb of a decision land in their lap. Do they really want to eliminate a law that, while flawed and in need of improvement, is generally supported by most citizens?
After all, how can you not like not being able to cover your kids until the age of 26, or of not having to worry about being denied coverage due to a pre-existing condition. Even the Republicans, if you take what many of their candidates said during their recent election campaigns at face value, support these two items and have promised to “fight” to maintain them. So what happens if the Supreme Court concurs with the Texas court, and these safety nets vanish?
I’d like to believe that a good faith effort will be made when the next Congress resumes to make improvements to the law that makes it palatable for everyone, and remove any and all legal obstacles that could make the Court support the Texas decision. I mean, do the Republicans really want to be tarred and feathered as the party that ripped health insurance coverage away from millions of people during the 2020 election cycle, when a large segment of the seats they hold in the Senate are up for re-election? Do they want to be know as the party that essentially said tough titty to countless American living with pre-existing conditions? Do they want to hand all three branches of the government to the Democrats on a silver platter? How dumb would that be?
On the other hand, I hope the Democrats don’t play politics with this either, and insist on items that are non-starters for their counterparts, expressly for the purpose of being able to blame them two years from now for the demise of the law and the subsequent misery inflicted upon millions who no longer have access to healthcare.
I’d be in deep shit if my eligibility, or the premium cost I would be required to pay, were predicated on having a pre-existing condition. I pay enough out of pocket as it is every year. Knowing the industry like I do, I wouldn’t be able to afford taking care of myself because I’d be bankrupt in a short period of time. That is how costly my treatments are, and I don’t qualify for any public assistance or free care. I’d probably have to stop all of my current medications and treatments, and hope for the best. I guess it would be one way of finding out whether any of what I am currently doing really helps, but I would much rather have that be a decision I make rather than having it forced upon me. Who wouldn’t?
So it is going to be a very interesting and nerve-wracking 2019. Hopefully the issue doesn’t get sidetracked with all the investigations into the current administration that are sure to start once the Democrats take control of the House.
Perhaps I put too much faith in the reasonableness of our elected representatives. I mean, if the majority of voters like the protection the current law has to offer, and you know that healthcare will be a hot-button topic in 2020, doesn’t it make sense to do something proactive instead of snipe at and blame the other side?
I’m not going to use this space to outline all the things in the Affordable Care Act that can be improved. I think most people would agree it isn’t perfect, needs to be fixed and that not having this law would create headaches for both sides. Having said that, this can go one of two ways, assuming of course the law is struck down.
The first scenario is one where the political rancor becomes more entrenched (if you can believe that) as the administration is relentlessly investigated, and perhaps subject to impeachment proceedings. The House and Senate devote their time and energy to attacking or defending the administration. Republicans feel persecuted, circle the wagons and don’t give an inch on anything. Meanwhile, Trump, like Nero, fiddles while Washington burns. Who knows what emerges from the ashes?
The other scenario is a more practical one. This issue is a political hot potato that nobody wants to wear the black hat for, and there is enough common ground for both sides to work together and create something better. Mitch McConnell would rather eat his young than to give the Democrats anything that can be perceived as a victory, but there is too much at stake and the political fallout is potentially devastating, so doing nothing doesn’t make sense. Everyone has a vested interest to make this work, so something rare occurs: hands reach across the aisle, neither side gets everything they want but get what they can live with for the betterment of all.
This makes perfect sense, but there doesn’t seem to be a lot of that going on these days. But still, the folks in Washington can’t be that dumb, can they?