If you haven’t already read about how Bain Capital’s buy ’em, gut ’em, and outsource ’em M.O. destroyed a healthy, longstanding WNY business, and you haven’t already been informed about how Mitt Romney made his millions by doing that repeatedly, over and over again, then you should go and do that.
In the meantime, the big news today will be what the politicized, partisan, conservative-activist Supreme Court will do with the Obamacare mandate to buy health insurance. Will it be ruled unconstitutional? If so, will it render the whole law a nullity, or will it be severed from the remainder of the law? If severed, will the law be able to be maintained?
The fundamental brokenness of our idiotic, inefficient, Balkanized way of paying for health care that isn’t even the best in the world is one of the big failures of the post-WW2 era. As postwar Europe built its social safety nets, the US couldn’t get out of its own way to do the same. The 1964 law creating Medicare and Medicaid was originally supposed to provide all Americans with universal health care. It never happened. Soshulizm.
So, instead, we operate under a largely for-profit form of privatized socialism. (Yes, insurance is socialism – it’s the redistribution to claimants of wealth earned from premiums).
The United States, as we all know, is the last remaining western pluralist democratic capitalist country that does not guarantee free health care to all of its citizens. Obamacare taught us a lot. It taught us that a mixed-race Democratic President can propose a fundamentally conservative health care reform bill, manipulate changes to it to try and obtain buy-in from people who had very recently proposed it, and still the Republicans would vote against it uniformly because it would do political harm to said President.
It highlighted that politics trumps policy; that obstruction trumps governing.
Maybe – just maybe – the failure of the Frankencompromise of Obamacare will lead to a massive push to abolish Medicaid and expand Medicare to all Americans.
Medicare for all Americans. A program that is uniquely popular, has very low overhead, and would be voluntary. People like Mitt Romney and Chris Collins could continue to buy health insurance from private companies and be Lear-Jetted to gold-encrusted, faraway clinics, if they wish. But taking away the average American’s expenses for health care would do wonders for the economy. Taking away businesses’ responsibility to provide elaborately complicated and ridiculously expensive private health care options would also be able to increase efficiency, productivity, and profitability.
It would be a single-payer system for those who want it. For those who don’t, buy something different – not dissimilar from the English model, rather than the far less flexible Canadian model. You know, Canada, which has a really good economy, little corruption, no bank collapse, and more or less the same freedoms we enjoy.
This is a SCOTUS Obamacare ruling open thread. Enjoy your Thursday.
UPDATE: The individual mandate, and Obamacare, is upheld as a constitutional use of congressional taxing power with respect to the penalty for not buying health insurance.
“Today’s Supreme Court ruling provides much needed clarity in an important national debate on the appropriate role of the federal government in the delivery of healthcare. While I was not in Congress to vote on the Affordable Care Act, I have always believed, and continue to believe, that the law is far from perfect, and I remain concerned about the high cost of implementing the law. That is why I have worked to roll back many of its most troubling provisions, including the financially unsustainable CLASS Act, the Medical Device tax, and the Independent Payment Advisory Board, which could result in the rationing of Medicare.
“I am hopeful that today’s ruling will help to focus our country on the need for more effective policies that drive down the cost of care and ensure that all Americans—especially children, seniors and veterans—have access to quality and affordable health care. I stand ready to work with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to continue to improve the law and find appropriate solutions to the rising cost of health care in this country.”
“Today the Supreme Court, in an opinion authored by Chief Justice John Roberts, held that the Affordable Care Act is constitutional. Under the law, this year over 3 million New Yorkers have begun receiving free preventative care, over 3,000 New Yorkers with pre-existing conditions are no longer denied health insurance coverage, 160,000 young adults in New York State are now receive health coverage through their parents’ plan, and 254,083 New York State seniors on Medicare are saving an average of $655 on their prescription medications.
“The old way of doing business was unaffordable, unacceptable and unsustainable for taxpayers and patients alike. Despite exorbitant expense, according to the World Health Organization, the United States is 37th of 192 countries in terms of overall healthcare quality.
“The Western New York health community is already leading the way on health reform. They have embraced electronic medical records and the formation of comprehensive care organizations. This law gives Western New York the tools we need to go farther and it gives the rest of the country the opportunity to follow our lead.
“Much of the Affordable Care Act was modeled on the Cleveland Clinic standard, care Western New Yorkers frequently travel to receive. Cleveland Clinic quality care is the health care I want for my family, my community and my nation.”
Congresswoman Louise Slaughter (NY-28) today applauded the Supreme Court’s decision which upheld the life-saving provisions of the Affordable Care Act. Slaughter, one of the leading supporters of the ACA, has been in the forefront of the effort to improve access and quality of health care for American families.
“I am very pleased that the Supreme Court has upheld the landmark Affordable Care Act,” said Slaughter. “I was proud to bring this bill to the floor of the House of Representatives as Chairwoman of the Rules Committee in 2009, and I continue to be proud of the ways in which the law has improved health care access for millions of Americans. We worked long and hard to protect Medicare’s guarantee of quality health care for our seniors and to make health care more affordable for American families. The ACA also ensures that being a woman is no longer a pre-existing condition and a justification for higher premiums.
“This groundbreaking legislation was never about politics – it was about saving lives and safeguarding the health and wellbeing of American families. I know that much work remains to be done but I am gratified to know that we are a step closer to ensuring that no American will live in fear of losing their home and everything they own because they or a member of their family is stricken by illness.”
Because of the provisions of the Affordable Care Act, Americans are already seeing lower costs and better coverage:
- 54 million Americans in private plans have received one or more free preventive services.
- In addition, in 2011, 32.5 million seniors received one or more free preventive services. So far in 2012, 14 million seniors have already received these services.
- 105 million Americans no longer have a lifetime limit on their coverage.
- Up to 17 million children with pre-existing conditions can no longer be denied coverage by insurers.
- 6.6 million young adults up to age 26 have taken advantage of the law to obtain health insurance through their parents’ plan, of whom 3.1 million would be uninsured without this coverage.
- 5.1 million seniors in the ‘donut hole’ have saved $3.2 billion on their prescription drugs, an average of $635 per senior.
- In 2011, 2.3 million seniors had a free Annual Wellness Visit under Medicare. So far in 2012, 1.1 million seniors have already had this free visit.
- In 2011, 360,000 small employers used the Small Business Health Care Tax Credit to help them afford health insurance for 2 million workers.
Slaughter is a champion of the life-saving changes that have been implemented as a result of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Thanks to these lifesaving provisions, children can stay on their parents’ insurance until the age of 26, insurance companies can no longer deny a person health insurance, and millions of seniors now have free access to life saving health care- all while reducing the federal deficit by billions of dollars.
Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, in New York’s 28th district:
· 5,500 young adults in the district now have health insurance.
· 10,400 seniors in the district received prescription drug discounts worth $6.7 million, an average discount of $640 per senior.
· 70,000 seniors in the district received Medicare preventive services without paying any co-pays, coinsurance, or deductibles.
· 22,000 children and 100,000 adults now have health insurance that covers preventive services without paying any co-pays, coinsurance, or deductibles.
· 430 small businesses in the district received tax credits to help maintain or expand health care coverage for their employees.
· $10.9 million in public health grants have been given to community health centers, hospitals, doctors, and other healthcare providers in the district to improve the community’s health.
· 7,000 to 32,000 children with preexisting health conditions can no longer be denied coverage by health insurers.
CNN, the Buffalo News, Channel 2 all reported incorrectly that the mandate had been stricken.
WBEN texted people that the mandate had been stricken and didn’t fix the error for over an hour.