Friday, May 25th, 2012
Last week reports from the House of Representatives said that Republicans in the House were preparing contingency plans for the Supreme Court’s pending decision on the Affordable Care Act, or “Obamacare.”
According to several congressional leaders, the House GOP is planning to ditch unpopular parts of the law, such as the mandate to purchase health insurance. They say they want to keep popular parts of the law, such as requiring insurance companies to insure people with pre-existing conditions.
However, just hours after news stories about the “plan” became public, House Budget Committee Chairman Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., announced that there would be no “plan,” just a “vision.”
Ryan told editors at the Washington Examiner that he didn’t think offering a specific bill to replace “Obamacare” is a good idea. “I think what we’ll probably hopefully do is put out a vision for how we think we should fix this thing and all the catalogue of solutions that are out there,” he said. “But I think what we will aspire to do is put out a vision on what a patient-centered health care system looks like. And that vision is the replace side of repeal, which is what we want to execute in 2013.”
In short, we’re just supposed to trust them to come up with something.
The Supreme Court is expected to decide on the Affordable Care Act sometime next month. The decision will effect the future of health care in America, not to mention the 2012 election. If the Court overturns the ACA it could throw Medicare into turmoil and swiftly impact people with serious health problems, such as mesothelioma cancer.
Republicans have pushed for President Obama’s health care initiative to be overturned by the courts ever since it passed in 2010. But now that a couple of years have gone by, the GOP is finding itself in an uncomfortable place, because some parts of the bill that have gone into effect are very popular.
For example, to date, Medicare beneficiaries have saved $3.5 billion on prescription drugs to to the partial closing of the “doughnut hole” coverage gap that has left some seniors paying thousands of dollars out-of-pocket for medicine. Further, so far this year nearly 900,000 seniors have taken advantage of the new Annual Wellness Visit provided in the Affordable Care Act
Also thanks to “Obamacare,” 2.5 million young adults are now covered on their parents’ health insurance. And many people have heard that starting in 2014, insurance companies will no longer be able to refuse to cover people with pre-existing conditions. That is, if “Obamacare” is still around in 2014.
If the Supreme Court overturns the Affordable Care Act this summer, these and other benefits will disappear in the blink of an eye. Many Republican congressional leaders realized that they’d better be ready to replace them with something, or they may face a voter backlash in the November elections. So, they began to make plans.
However, since then Republicans have split into “plan” and “no plan” factions. The more conservative members of the party are opposed to government involvement in health care, period, on principle. “No plan” Republicans like Ryan want to gradually turn even Medicare over to private insurance companies.
Ironically, Republicans might benefit more politically if the Supreme Court upholds Obamacare, because then they can continue to criticize it without offering an alternative.