Thursday, April 12, 2012

Healthcare bill may split US Supreme Court

Columnist speculates whether Affordable Care Act will pass

By Thomas Haines, Opinion Columnist

The U.S. Supreme Court will announce its ruling on Obama’s healthcare reform bill, known as the Affordable Care Act, this June.

The problem with speculation on the decision is no one knows for sure how the Supreme Court will rule on the constitutionality of the Act.

With four conservatives, four liberals, and one swing-vote justice on the Supreme Court, this case will most likely be anextremely close 5-4 judgment.

However, one thing many have noticed is that many of the justices are worried about the Individual Mandate, a crucial part of the law that requires all Americans to buy health insurance.

Many of the justices fear the Individual Mandate is the government overreaching its constitutional powers.    

So, while we cannot know for certain how the Supreme Court will rule, we can guess what would happen if the Supreme Court were to rule the ACA unconstitutional.

If the Individual Mandate is repealed, most of there forms in the Act that depend on it would also be repealed. The Individual Mandate allows younger and healthier people into the insurance market to offset the expense of providing medical care to older and sicker people.

According to Moody’s Investors Service in a news release, ”If the law is fully or partially repealed, for-profit hospital operators’ costs of treating patients unable to pay their bills would rise and would limit operators’ revenue growth and profit margins and constrain cashflow.”

This means hospitals and patients would continue tosee a rise in bills without any sort of hope in sight for reform.

The ACA has tried to bring reform to a very broken system. If the Act is struck down, then the American people will once again bein a position without quality health insurance.

Thomas Haines is a junior at Pacific Lutheran University studying history. He is the vice president of the PLU Democrats and secretary for the PLU Secular Student Alliance.