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TAKE TWO ASPIRIN: Healthcare Law Goes To Supreme Court

Does your head hurt?  If so, take two aspirin because here we go again…and it’s really impossible to follow all of the healthcare ups and downs.  Didn’t we already finish with this mess? Not everyone was happy, but at least is was kind of over. Now, all I care about is if my health insurance covers aspirin or if all the controversy over the individual mandate now means that the public option might?  Aspirin counts as preventative care, right?!

Anyway, Congress rejected the proposed rejection of Obamacare…double negative…which means the Affordable Care Act lives…for the time being. Now some states are taking umbrage with one part of the plan that requires everyone to buy insurance.  Their claim is that it is unconstitutional.  The old, “we’re free and the government isn’t the boss of us” deal. Which is kind of right, except without mandating coverage, the whole plan kind of goes to hell in a hand basket….because the insurance companies can still operate how they’ve been operating which is what we want to avoid.  Proponents of the new healthcare law (and Regan’s Solicitor General) defend that it absolutely falls under the commerce clause because healthcare represents 16.2% of our GDP and if an uninsured person goes to the emergency room, all tax payers foot the bill that costs $35+ billion/year. 

So, the GOP is going after a full repeal of the new law and starting over, while Democrats are proposing working together to fix what is broken (or what they couldn’t agree on before).    Tweaking some small business paperwork requirements, letting the insurance companies compete over state lines (which will probably get lobbied out of existence before it passes), adding more malpractice stuff AND the ever popular “public option” conversation could come back.  So, whose happy that all this is being re-litigated – the right and the left.  Bet your head hurts now! 

So, the little courts have sent it up the the BIG court (yes, that’s the SUPREME COURT) where they will rule on it sometime in 2012.  The timing of the ruling couldn’t be more perfect, in fact, because it will come right around, you guessed it….election time!  So, more fun political ads pertaining to healthcare are coming to a TV near you next year!

So, our teachable MOMent today is “take two aspirin and go to school.”  We need to keep our head in the conversation and learn as much as we can about the actual benefits and replacement options.  Look at your current plan…find out what has changed (if you’re a senior, you should have gotten a check and some new prescription benefits; if you’re a kid, you’re golden; if you’re over 26 and under 55, then your new benefits wouldn’t kick in until 2014).  So, MAMAs, stay engaged, we’ll keep you informed with pertinent links to info as things get discussed.  In the meantime, go to Costco and get a big, giant bottle of aspirin.

8 Responses to TAKE TWO ASPIRIN: Healthcare Law Goes To Supreme Court

  1. Anonymous February 5, 2011 at 6:12 am #
    Opinionated MAMA

    Since so much of the law is flawed, it does need to be thrown out completely. And no, Congress did not reject the repeal – the Senate did. The House (a part of Congress) fully accepted the repeal. Even as the previous Congress passed the bill, they KNEW it would never pass the constitutional smell test! I am still trying to figure out why they passed a law they knew was so wrong. As for the Democrats trying to work with the Republicans to fix it piecemeal – well, maybe it would have worked if they would have been willing to include the GOP in the planning of the original bill.

    • Anonymous February 5, 2011 at 7:23 am #
      Opinionated MAMA

      Yes – ultimately, it didn't pass through Congress. House passed, Senate did not. I'm cofused because Reagan's solicitor general has testified that it IS constitutional (see the link), so it just seems so partisian. Can't DEMS/GOP just sit in a room for 2 weeks, take the politics out of it and think about what is in the best interests of the American people? Regardless, it needs to be fixed, starting over just seems so daunting and exhausting. I love your name…I'm about at my witsend with all of this nonsense!

    • Anonymous February 20, 2011 at 5:18 am #
      Opinionated MAMA

      Obamacare should be repealed and we should absolutely start over. This law (now actually declared unconstitutional) is not going to solve the problems we have in our healthcare system but rather it will make them worse: more expensive for less quality care. Take a look at anything the government has run in the past for an example of how this happens. The problem with our health care system started back in the 40's during WW2 when Roosevelt set wage controls and companies began offering health care benefits to their employees in lieu of raises. This became fashionable through the next two decades especially since the benefits packages were not considered taxable income. That loophole was legitimized sometime ago when Congress passed a law to exempt benefits from income tax. Unfortunately those who work for themselves–individuals who must buy their own insurance–are not able to benefit from this exemption, increasing the cost of buying insurance as an individual. Many uninsured are in this category and this tax exemption disparity is not fixed in Obamacare. In addition instead of finding a way to separate health insurance from employment (one of the problems with our system is lack of portability) Obamacare encourages it by requiring companies of greater than 50 employees to offer this benefit. And it fines those who do not.
      Obamacare proponents claim that the new law will lower the cost of health care. This is absolutely not true. The law will increase cost for a number of reasons: First it increases the number of mandated benefits insurance companies must cover across the board. In other words it requires a sort of one-size-fits-all policy that includes all kinds of things that many of us are not interested in like: contraception, maternity care, pediatric care, no co-pays on preventive care visits. etc.(Why should someone like me who is 55 years old want to have maternity or fertility coverage?) People ought to be able to shop for the policy they want, that best fits their needs rather than pay for benefits they do not need nor want.
      Second the individual mandate under Obamacare will neither bring down costs nor lead to universal coverage. The penalty for not getting coverage is too small to keep everyone buying. And Obamacare requires that insurance companies sell insurance to everyone at the same price regardless of preexisting condition. This is called guarantee issue and community rating. These two requirements under this law will simply lead to a customer base that is skewed towards the sick therefore expensive. Why would anyone buy insurance if they know it will not cost any more if they buy it when they are sick? Look at the Massachusetts model. Insurance companies report a huge increase in customers jumping in and out of policies. When these insurers tried to raise their premiums in order to make ends meet (non-profits as well as for profit companies), they were told they could not. Many have had to stop offering new policies, some have had to close up shop.
      As for quality of care-we will see a huge decrease in care due to the inevitable shortage of doctors, the taxes placed on pharmaceutical and medical device companies which will decrease the amount of money they will have to spend on research and development and/or raise the cost of their products as they pass these extra taxes on to the consumers.
      We do need to start over and Republicans in Congress have some great ideas. Read Paul Ryan's proposals on his website if you are interested.

    • Anonymous February 20, 2011 at 6:57 am #
      Opinionated MAMA

      Thank you Trishdon, for your well thought out comments. As a self-pay insurer, I have long felt the unfairness of not being able to deduct my premiums from my income. That makes my $1500/per month premium cost an additional 35% when federal,state, soc sec, and Medicare taxes are added on.
      I also do not understand how the gov. thinks it is ok to force insurance companies to gamble on a sure loss. Pre-existing conditions are sure to cost the insurance company more than the premium.

    • Anonymous February 21, 2011 at 7:40 pm #
      Opinionated MAMA

      @Trishdon and Witsend – I am so thrilled to have found this site and be able to listen to your perspectives. Sometimes it's hard to know what's going on and you know who I trust? Other women! Thank you for your opinions…I'm continuing to read and learn more.

  2. Anonymous February 5, 2011 at 8:15 am #
    Opinionated MAMA

    I certianly agree the whole thing is extremely partisan. While a Reagan's solicitor general may have said it is constitutional, a federal judge has said it is not. Solicitor generals – and judges – have been wrong before. It would be be interesting for the two parties to sit in a room for two weeks (or even two hours)and try to work it out. The Dems were unwilling to even allow input from the Reps during their surge to push this through. The Dems were totally a party of NO. They said no to Reps suggestions with little pretense of even listening. Starting over is the only way to fix this. And it should be done practically line by line. 2000+ pages for a bill is obscene; it obviously includes far too much to be read and understood. No one should sign a contract (or pass a bill) without reading it. – Life lesson #1. My email sign-off sums up my thoughts about that, "TWO or TOO – If an average American cannot read and understand a Congressional bill in TWO hours, it is TOO long!"

    • Anonymous February 8, 2011 at 8:44 am #
      Opinionated MAMA

      I totally agree with the length issue…isn't it ironic that the government just passed consumer protections for citizens ensuring that credit cards/banks can't give overly complicated, long contracts to us, but they can pass bills that NO ONE can understand? Ridiculous.

  3. Anonymous February 19, 2011 at 9:48 am #
    Opinionated MAMA

    I watched your weekly video on Health Care today and would like to comment on a few things that came up. First, you said that the US ranks #37 in health care world wide according to the WHO. This is a very important statement that bolsters the argument that our system is seriously flawed and therefore must be overhauled. But it comes from poor and manipulated data. The WHO report which is used to come up with this statement uses life expectancy (which includes infant mortality) to account for as much as 25% of their calculation. But the numbers they use to come up with life expectancy are not consistent across nations. Live births for example are calculated differently in different countries. The US defines a live birth as any infant that, once removed from its mother, "breathes or shows any other evidence of life such as beating heart, pulsation of the umbilical cord, or definite movement of voluntary muscles." Other nations use a different standard: In France, a certificate stating that the child was alive and viable is required in order to count a baby as having died. In Switzerland, an infant must be at least 30 centimeters long at birth in order to count as having died. In France and Belgium, babies born at less than twenty six weeks are not counted at all. You see how this would skew the numbers. In addition, sadly the US has a higher homicide rate and a higher number of automobile fatalities than many of the other western nations ranked. (this problem is one of gun control and traffic laws not health care). Another 25% of the WHO report comes from the ranking of health distribution–or fairness. As Sally Pipes says: "treating everyone exactly the same is more important, as a measure of health than treating people well. A nation where everyone was poorly treated, but equally treated, would do well in the WHO ranking." I would like to try in the next few days to propose a better way forward than Obamacare. As you both said in your video, we do need reform. But this bill is only going to make matters worse: higher cost and poorer care for all rather than the opposite. Thank you for this chance to chime in.

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