Thursday, June 25, 2015

AMERICA'S HEALTH CARE REFORM III: Second Reaffirmation of OBAMACARE by the US Supreme Court

Keywords or Terms: Consistency; Chief Justice John Roberts; Federal Tax subsidies; Affordable Care Act; US Supreme Court; President Barack Obama; Online Market Place; ‘Scotuscare’;Six Million Americans; Political and legal attacks; US Congress; 2016 Presidential Primaries and Election; and American Voters.

The US Supreme Court is gradually changing from the perceived polarized house of justice since the sitting of Chief Justice Roberts at the pinnacle of the judicial arm of United States Government. But it has also had underlying consistency in ruling regarding OBAMACARE. In a ruling very much like its earlier support for the law in 2012, Chief Justice John Roberts, a conservative appointee of a former Republican President, wrote in a 6-3 ruling that US Congress clearly intended for tax subsidies to be available to all Americans, low, high or moderate income, seeking private health insurance on the federal or state exchanges. Crystallizing his decision in one and more sentences, he writes succinctly:  “Congress passed the Affordable Care Act to improve health insurance markets, not to destroy them.” With this, the US Supreme Court evolves out of the usual polarized role in adjudicating cases to that of a consistent adjudicator and or, partner of the executive branch of government. Whether this is right or wrong is better left for history to tell.

Most significantly, the expectations of the antagonists of the law that a ruling in their favor will bring about a calamitous end to the law have not materialized. Under Chief Justice Roberts, the US Supreme Court have averted any attempt to undermine, restructure or reword the intent of the law. Once again, the US Supreme Court has reaffirmed the initial promises of the law; and, probably halted any further attempts by antagonists to weaken or undermine the law. One could therefore appreciate why President Barack Obama surmise this morning at the Rose Garden: “After more than 50 votes in Congress to repeal or weaken this law, after a presidential election based in part on preserving or repealing this law, after multiple challenges to this law before the Supreme Court, the Affordable Care Act is here to stay.” Bingo, the common man and woman win again!

While some 2016 Republican Presidential hopefuls are attempting to draw attention to the financial burden and associated risks of providing subsidies to all Americans seeking to buy health care insurance policy on federal or state exchanges, just as many antagonists of the law have done in the past, the truth still stands: OBAMACARE is the law of the land; and there is no ambiguity in the language or intent of the law. The law is neither unconstitutional, illegitimate nor unwelcome. Furthermore, there is no reason to doubt that the federal subsidies are meant to support affordability of health care insurance on the online marketplace, called exchanges; and, there is no reason for further questioning of the law. Henceforth, competing insurance plans can be bought on federal and state exchanges and Americans are guaranteed there will be federal subsidies, if needed, to make this possible.

The most significant bane of contention by the antagonists of the law in recent times has been laid to rest and public perceptions of the viability of the law is probably no longer in doubt, consequent to this new ruling. Although it may be premature to pronounce that antagonists will not find other means to undermine the law, there is ample evidence to believe that the law has weathered the worst storms and the remainder are manageable or insignificant. There is no doubt that the new US Court ruling has introduced new thinking about the essence of the law and why the law was introduced in US Congress in the first place. OBAMACARE will afford for the purchase of health insurance policies, create room for health insurance companies to compete on exchanges, while providing a more transparent health insurance policy marketplace. No longer will any American be subjected lifetime spending limits or denied policy underwriting because of pre-existing conditions. More so, children who are under the age of twenty-six, who are either enrolled in school or seeking support from their family members can remain on their parent’s policy; thereby, reducing significantly, health poverty in America. Instead of allowing for a treacherous and cold hand of the marketplace to snatch away the opportunity to carry health insurance policy, the federal government will assist with subsidies to help Americans obtain and received health insurance coverage. This new US Supreme Court ruling affirms the promise of the constitution that all men are created equal and before the law, they will remain likewise; and, when it comes to their health, they all will all have equal chances of buying health insurance coverage in either state or federal exchanges, operating a competitive market place for health insurance policies. Whether you call the law “SCOTUScare” as the US Supreme Court Justice Scalia, a leading dissenting ruling opinion will like to call it, or OBAMACARE, the truth today is this: ‘No one can limit the credit or subsidies for purchasing health insurance policies to state exchanges’ as earlier interpreted by antagonists of the law.

Today, there are more Americans rejoicing for the US Supreme Court ruling; an estimated six million Americans would have been thrown off their health insurance policy or plan, if the Supreme Court had adjudicated contrarily to its current ruling. Proponents of OBAMACARE will now have formidable offensive arguments, including a track record of two consecutive rulings in support of the law from the US Supreme Court, when it comes to arguing on behalf of the need and benefit of the law to Americans. But overt moral support of the intent of law is the first step in ensuring the viability and lasting survival of probably the main hallmark of Barack Obama’s Presidency, there are also going to be need to keep a watchful eye on US Congress as it goes about funding federal subsidies to support the exchanges.

One of the many consequential effect of today’s ruling, is the fact that all Americans now have the opportunity to see a doctor when they need one and do not have to wait until their health status is too deplorable to get assistance. Further, OBAMACARE stands as a legacy legislative achievement of a Democratic President and it will be incumbent on American voters to put in place another Democratic President, if they want to ensure that the law survives political and legal attacks beyond President Obama’s term in office. Also, the priority henceforth for proponents of the law will be, orchestrating the benefits of the law as they continue to advance and rally further supports from hitherto pessimists. In particular, the message about the law should be two fangs: one, how the law provides for increased number of Americans with health insurance; and two, the opportunities the law affords for those who could not afford health insurance to buy a policy on the cheap at a federal or state exchanges, with federal subsidies to assist.

It seems likely Republicans are hardly going to roll over and accept defeats as you’ve heard a few of them, issuing braggadocio statements as: 1) But this decision is not the end of the fight against OBAMACARE – Governor Jeb Bush; 2) I remain committed to repealing this bad law and replacing it with my consumer-centered plan that puts patients and families back in control of their health care decisions – Senator Marco Rubio; 3)   The court’s decision means Republicans in the House and Senate must redouble their efforts to repeal and replace this destructive and costly law – Governor Scott Walker; 4)  This decision turns both the rule of law and common sense on its head – Senator Rand Paul; 5) It was never up to the Supreme Court to save us from Obamacare – Governor Rick Perry; 6) The Supreme Court cannot legislate from the bench, ignore the Constitution, and pass a multitrillion-dollar ‘fix’ to Obamacare simply because Congress misread what the states would actually do – Governor Mike Huckabee; 7) Outrageous - CEO Carly Fiorina; 8) I am working to ensure the next President repeals and replaces Obamacare – Dr. Ben Carson; 9) President Obama and his Democratic allies in Congress rammed through their hastily and deeply flawed legislation to create Obamacare, apparently without even proofreading their own bill – Senator  Lindsey Graham; and, 10) Today’s Supreme Court ruling is another reminder that if we want to get rid of Obamacare, we must elect a conservative President – Senator Rick Santorum.  These statements seem more like blind devotion to failed partisan rancor over the passing of the law in US Congress about five years ago. A very decapitating stance that has nearly grounded the ability of US Congress to complete its legislative responsibilities; these aspiring Presidential candidates are signaling the same old line of thought that hasn’t gotten the nation very far from where we were on legislation. American voters probably have no idea about the position of these 2016 Presidential aspirant; however, one thing is now certain, we know what their position is on OBAMACARE; and as voters, we have the obligation to protect our interests.

In contrast to 2016 Republican candidate’s unrelenting antagonism and claim of a broken health care system, the leading 2016 Democratic candidate, Senator Hillary Clinton, was as jubilant over the ruling as can be with her, twitting twice: A great day, add your name if you agree – affordable healthcare is a basic human right; and, yes! SCOTUS affirms what we know is true in our hearts and under the law, health insurance should be affordable and available to all. Even such enthusiasm is contagious; and if you are facing a dire health issues in your life, you’ll probably wholeheartedly subscribe to her enthusiasm. The call from President Barack Obama for greater conviction and confidence in OBAMACARE is hardly lost among supporters of the law; and today’s US Supreme Court’s ruling, reaffirms what is more likely to be the wishes of many Americans benefiting from the federal subsidies: “thank goodness, what a relief?”
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