Saturday, June 30, 2012

THE LEGAL MEANING OF THE ACA DECISION.

Thursday the Supreme Court by its rulings upheld two of three provisions of the ACA that had been the subject of legal challenges.

What that will mean in the future of Health Care is yet to be determine. In the mean time there are several aspects to this action; the first is the legal implications of the Courts rulings; the second is the future of the nature of health care which I hope to opine about next week.

One must first realize that Thursday was not a vindication of “Obama Care”. The one act that was rejected will impact on the scope of care to those who live within the level of income limits eligible for Medicaid. That can vary in various states.

The court turned down the Government’s provision for States receiving increased funding they must expand to certain levels their Medicaid programs. The present law which allocates to each state fund that the state must supplement to provide services; permits States to have the ability to determine within definite parameters what services and who will be covered by Medicaid

The Court found the new law to be coercive since it had universal mandates that had to be followed or the state would lose its present funding. Therefore it was unconstitutional.

The problem with that ruling is that there are several programs they give states funds and include a prescribed usage of those dollars. Many are in the educational field a May now become open to legal challenge.

In upholding the mandatory insurance act, Roberts’ majority opinion in essence rewrote the law by declaring it constitutional under Congress’s tax powers. But not under its Commerce powers.

Roherts said that the law does not truly impose such a mandate on Americans. It simply requires those who do not have health insurance to pay a tax penalty. That tax requirement, he said, passes constitutional muster.

"The federal government does not have the power to order people to buy health insurance," he wrote. "The federal government does have the power to impose a tax on those without health insurance."

Justice Ginsburg while voting to uphold the mandatory provision disagreed that it was covered under the Taxation powers but was constitutional under the Commerce provisions. She was alone in that position.

The Court has entered a dangerous area of the Nine Justices usurping Congress’s Constitutional prerogative of writing laws through use of novel interpretations instead of just judging their constitutionality.

The example here was stating that the Mandatory Insurance act would be unconstitutional if held to the Congressional powers relating to Commerce which was the rational under which the act was conceived. Instead the Court declared its Constitutionality was valid under the Federal Taxation powers.

What has been gained is the ability of all to have affordable health insurance. I am sure that present premiums will rise because the insurance carriers will spread increased risks over the entire buyers base.

Perhaps the end may justify the means. However this may prove to be a truly Pyrrhic Victory in which the Republicans will have ammunition to prove that the Democrats are committed to raise taxes; always a bad idea in an election year.

7 comments:

  1. Someone needs to explain to me how anyone can say affordable health insurance.

    Individuals get the highest rates. Why can they not get group rates. They are in a group with all the other individuals.

    ReplyDelete
  2. 7:12 am good point also consider:
    it stands to reason that Insurance companies determine their premium rates according to risk. Since the elderly who have limited financial resources are more prone to illness their rates progressively increase as they get older. That is also financially sound but defeats the concept of affordable health care.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Another and perhaps better example of the Supreme Court usurping legislative powers was the Citizens United decision. That Court also invalidated a Montana statute (I believe it was a provision in the state's constitution) barring the kind of SuperPacs now emerging as the result of the Citizens United decision. We are already seeing the power of unlimited anonymous funds in swinging elections--think of Wisconsin, for example.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Dottie, there is no question that the Supreme Court decision placing no barriers on the SuperPacs has altered campaign funding and spending in such a way that now more than ever Big Bucks will control elections.

    ReplyDelete
  5. like the democrats don't do this as well. please.

    ReplyDelete
  6. 2:38 PM Who said they didn't? Most TV advertising by both parties has been sponsored by SuperPacs.

    ReplyDelete
  7. The idea that the government will tax someone because they don't have insurance just doesn't make sense to me.

    My insurance (I'm self-employed) is very expensive. I am considered "high-risk" from a medical perspective.

    What happens if the insurance jacks up the cost to say, $1500/month or something unaffordable for an individual?

    Then the government is going to TAX me because I can't afford health care coverage?

    What's next? Mandatory disclosure of your health issues to employers, so they can decide whether to hire you, because if you're a 'bad risk', you'll jack up their health insurance rates?

    Olive

    ReplyDelete