Posts tagged Patient Protection And Affordable Care Act
Ever since the Supreme Court heard oral arguments on the constitutionality of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA, “Obamacare”) individual mandate, pundits have been predicting that the mandate is dead. The remaining question would then be: will the Supreme Court find the law severable, that is, can the mandate be ruled unconstitutional but the rest of the law stands? Or does the whole thing go down because of an unacceptable mandate?
The Supreme Court finally answered today. By a five-to-four vote (Justices Breyer, Ginsburg, Kagan, and Sotomayor dissenting), the individual mandate was technically struck down as a violation of the Commerce Clause, but by a different five-to-four vote (Justices Alito, Kennedy, Scalia, and Thomas dissenting) the fine for being uninsured was not. In that regard, the Court threaded the needle, objecting to the “illegality” of being uninsured, while leaving the relevant penalty in the Act unchanged.
This decision is certainly a huge win for the Obama administration at first blush. But it may prove to be less of a win for Obama himself.
The Supreme Court is currently deliberating on the constitutionality of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act’s “individual mandate”, which requires all Americans to purchase medical insurance.
It has been pointed out by opponents that the individual mandate is an unprecedented requirement to engage in commerce. The Congressional Research Service, for example, observed that “it is a novel issue whether Congress may use the clause to require an individual to purchase a good or a service.”
The Cato Institute came to a similar conclusion, that “[f]inding the mandate constitutional would be the first interpretation of the Commerce Clause to permit the regulation of inactivity — in effect requiring an individual to engage in an economic transaction.”
Yet it seems that, from an examination of history, they are incorrect. (more…)
The country is in crisis. Faced by the worst economic disaster in two generations, a new President with a clear mandate for change rams through a set of controversial economic reforms.
Many Americans oppose the changes. Fearful of change, calling the President a Socialist or Communist or worse, they sue. The first of the economic reform bills make their way to a Supreme Court that is much more conservative than the President. Just months after a triumphant inauguration, still in his first term, the President’s plans are in disarray, thanks to a series of adverse Supreme Court rulings.
The President lashes out, taking what measures he feels are necessary to save his keystone economic programs. He openly criticizes the Court, and the immediate pushback ignites a political firestorm. A political observer, Jeff Shesol, notes: “He didn’t think there was anything in the Constitution that prevented him from doing what he needed to do. The problem as he saw it was not the Constitution; it was the conservatives on that particular Supreme Court.”
As George Santayana, much beloved of conservatives, famously said, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” The above events are not current — and yet they are. (more…)
Today marks the first two hours of six hours of Supreme Court testimony, over three days, on U.S. Department of Health and Human Services v. Florida, which serves to adjudicate the constitutionality of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA, ACA, or Obamacare). It’s now three days since the second anniversary of President Obama signing the ACA into law.
Today and tomorrow, the arguments are focused on the question of the constitutionality of the individual mandate. Wednesday, arguments shift to answer two questions. First, does Congress have the authority to require states to comply with the new Medicare provisions in order to receive federal funding for their Medicaid programs? Second, if the individual mandate is unconstitutional, does that invalidate the ACA in its entirety, or is that provision severable? (more…)
My Facebook feed has been filled with gloating about a Rick Ungar column in Forbes: The Bomb Buried in Obamacare Explodes Today [12/2] — Hallelujah!
In his column, Ungar argues that new medical loss ratios established in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA, “Obamacare”) will force private insurance companies out of business, leaving the market open for a single-payer plan that Ungar and others have wanted all along (therefore, his “hallelujah!”).
What is the medical loss ratio, is it really that critical, and what are the chances it will put insurance companies out of business?
The numerator of the MLR equals the insurer’s incurred claims and expenditures for activities that improve health care quality, and the denominator equals the insurer’s premium revenue minus federal and state taxes and licensing and regulatory fees. — Proskauer
That is, if an insurance company takes in 100 dollars in premiums, and spends 85 dollars of that money on health care, then it has a medical loss ratio of 85 percent. The PPACA sets the medical loss ratio at a minimum of 80 percent for small carriers and 85 percent for large carriers. If the medical loss ratio is below that threshold, then the insurance company is required to issue a rebate check to consumers to bring the ratio to the threshold. (more…)
I recently wrote about some of the dishonest and manipulative techniques used by columnist and radio talk show host James Lewis. Today’s it’s George Will’s turn. He syndicated a column yesterday about the upcoming SCOTUS case related to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA). It’s an instructive lesson on how to write a political column that sounds rational, but is based on nothing. (more…)