An AP story today quotes health policy experts on the ripple effects expected if the Supreme Court decides to overturn the Affordable Healthcare Act this month.
“"At the end of the day, I don't think any of the major players in the health insurance industry or the provider community really wants to see the whole thing overturned," said Christine Ferguson, a health policy expert who was commissioner of public health in Massachusetts when Mitt Romney was governor.”
“Better Medicare prescription benefits, currently saving hundreds of dollars for older people with high drug costs, would be suspended. Ditto for preventive care with no co-payments, now available to retirees and working families alike.
“Partially overturning the law could leave hospitals, insurers and other service providers on the hook for tax increases and spending cuts without the law's promise of more paying customers to offset losses.
“The coverage for young adults up to age 26 on a parent's health insurance is a popular provision that no one's arguing about. A report last week from the Commonwealth Fund estimated that 6.6 million young adults have taken advantage of the benefit.
“Because the benefit is a winner with consumers, experts say many employers and insurers would look for ways to keep offering it even if there's no legal requirement to do so. On Monday, UnitedHealth Group Inc., the nation's largest insurer, is announcing that it will continue to offer coverage to young adults even if the health care law is struck down.
“But economist Paul Fronstin of the Employee Benefit Research Institute says many parents would pay higher taxes as a result because they would have to pay for the young adult's coverage with after-tax dollars. Under the health care law, that coverage now comes out of pre-tax dollars.”
-Two points not mentioned in the article are that the law now prohibits insurance company exclusions for pre-existing conditions, and requires insurers to spend at least 85% of premiums on actual healthcare. These are big changes that would go away if the Court overturns the law or if we were to elect a Congress and Executive pledged to “repeal Obamacare.”