Earlier this month a federal judge ruled the Affordable Care Act was unconstitutional, and even with the the U.S. headed toward a divided Congress next month, a conservative policy expert says this could be a great opportunity for market-based solutions to make progress.
Judge Reed O’Connor struck down the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, using the logic Chief Justice John Roberts used to save the law in 2012. At that time, Roberts declared the law constitutional because the penalty for violating the individual mandate amounted to a tax. But with last year’s tax law reducing the penalty to nothing, O’Connor said both the mandate and the entire law must go.
The decision is just the first in what will likely be a long legal battle sure the reach the U.S. Supreme Court, but with the law in legal limbo, Galen Institute President Grace-Marie Turner says the opportunity could be ripe for a legislative fix.
Turner was part of a group urging Congress to adopt the Health Care Choices plan for much of 2018. GOP leaders ultimately chose not to take up the plan or even the issue. Turner suspects it’s because they were still wounded from their 2017 efforts.
“I think Congress was traumatized by what they’d been through with the rejection after putting so much effort into trying to do repeal and replace and failing in 2017. They were afraid to try that again,” said Turner.
Instead, she expects the new House Democratic majority to push for a single-payer system, known on the left as Medicare for all.
“After Obamacare’s failure, you’d think that maybe they’d learned a lesson but no. They just want to say, ‘If you give us all the money and all the control, we’ll be fine and we’ll be able to fix health care,” said Turner.
“We don’t believe that. We believe that you’ve got to devolve power down to the states and ultimately to individuals to make better decisions, to give resources to people who are sick, who are low income, who need help purchasing health insurance,” added Turner.
Democrats hammered away on health care in the midterm election campaign. Incoming House Speaker Nancy Pelosi even mentioned how the fight over coverage for pre-existing conditions was a major factor in her party regaining the majority.
Listen to the full podcast to hear Turner explain how her plan is more generous to people with those conditions than anything provided for in Obamacare, how the Health Care Choices plan could be of great benefit to Medicaid patients, and how it could greatly reduce our all of our health care costs. She also discusses what’s realistic with Democrats running the House come January.