Carol Shea-Porter's Latest Column On Why The Supreme Court Should Leave Healthcare Law In Place

Leave Healthcare Law in Place

What a state we’re in as a country right now over the healthcare law.  By now, it has to be clear to anyone observing American politics that Republican leaders want the Supreme Court to hand them a political victory, and that they have no plans to replace the healthcare law with anything if the Supreme Court overturns the Affordable Care Act.   They have distorted our pre-healthcare law medical history to the point where they act as if the healthcare system were perfect before President Obama and the Democrats destroyed it. 

It is time for a reality check here.  Our media is finally starting to report what would happen if the Supreme Court overturns the healthcare law. 

First, let’s talk about what U.S. News and World Report said in an article aptly titled, “What would happen if Obama’s Health Care Law were repealed?”  “The Supreme Court deliberations will focus narrowly on whether Congress has the constitutional authority to require such a thing. But lost in the lofty rhetoric will be the scale of the original problem, which finally affected so many Americans that Obama was able to overcome decades of opposition and pass the most sweeping changes in the healthcare system since Medicare and Medicaid were created in 1965.”  It states that 16% of our population does not even have health insurance, how medical costs ruin lives, how people die because they have no insurance, and how expensive it is for individuals and companies.  These same points are being made everywhere.  And here’s an extra nugget of information—over half of all personal bankruptcies are due to medical costs, and most of those people had insurance. That’s why we passed healthcare reform in the first place—to tackle some of these issues after years of political inertia and the resulting medical care system that was starting to collapse under the weight of these problems.
In the Washington Post, Sarah Klift wrote an article, “Analyst: Health reform law repeal a net-negative for hospitals.” She said Moody’s wrote a report stating that if the Supreme Court overturned the healthcare law, it would be a disaster for for-profit hospitals.  Klift reminds us that “before healthcare reform passed, hospitals were in a financial squeeze.”  She quotes Moody’s report about what would happen:  “If the law is fully or partially repealed, for-profit hospital operators’ costs of treating patients who can’t pay their bills would rise. That’s because the population of uninsured individuals would remain large and patients would continue to be responsible for an ever larger portion of the cost of care.”

Republican leaders and their allies complain that under the new healthcare law, family health insurance premiums will go up. The truth is that they were going up before the law was enacted.  David Cutler of the Center for American Progress reports in his article called “Repealing Health Care is a job-killer,” that family health insurance premiums jumped 80% in ten years after adjusting for inflation.  He also points out that median income fell 5% during that time.  He said that repealing this law would “destroy 250,000-400,000 jobs annually over the next decade.”  Republican and their allies claim the opposite.  They claim that this country will lose jobs. Who is telling the truth? looked at these claims.  In their summary, “A job-killing law?,” they look at the “evidence” the GOP offers. The GOP cites a study by the National Federation of Independent Business.  This study projects a 1.6 million job loss, and Republican politicians toss that number around in every speech they make against the healthcare law.  There’s just one little problem—as states, “the NFIB did not study the new law. Its report was based on a hypothetical employer mandate that bears little resemblance to what was actually passed…”  Apparently, that report they cite actually projected a job gain. And one more problem.  The GOP report claims that the NFIB analysis is “independent.”  How independent can the NFIB be when, as helpfully reports, they co-sponsored an ad with the Chamber of Commerce attacking healthcare legislation? They also are against any rule requiring business to offer health insurance. 

Republican leaders offer the usual stone soup of healthcare “reforms and improvements,” but consumers should beware.  None of these so-called reforms and improvements have ever been put into effect, even when Republicans had the White House, the Senate, and the House.  Something had to be done.  We now have a law and it’s working.  Let’s hope the Supreme Court leaves it alone.