Monday, March 2, 2015

No Plan B for Adverse High Court Ruling

There’s no Plan B from the Republican or Democratic Party, so if this thing happens, what on earth will come next. Nobody has an answer for that.

Brian Keeley, president and CEO of Baptist Health South Florida, which owns seven hospitals, commenting on possible Supreme Court decision ruling against federal health exchange subsidies, New York Times, March 1, 2014

Storm clouds continue to gather in anticipation of a Supreme Court outlawing federal health exchange subsidies. The storm is intense in Florida, which had an uninsured rate of 21.3% in 2013, which dropped to 18.3% as record numbers enrolled in federal health exchanges.

The convenient meteorological wisdom is, barring alternative plans by either political party, 6 million subsidized enrollees will be inundated with bankruptcies, most will drown and drop their plans as unaffordable, premium flood waters will rise by at least a third and maybe one-half, people will be angry at paying penalties for not having insurance, the individual and employer mandates will die, individual insurance markets will enter a death spiral, ObamaCare will die, political chaos will follow, Republicans will get the blame, to their detriment in the 2016 presidential election sweepstakes.

That ‘s who the New York Times reads the political tea leaves. Its editors says the central claim of the law suit, that the phrase “ established by the State, "is to put it mildly, baloney” (“The Phony Legal Attack on Health Care,” NYT, March 1, 2015). Phony baloney or not, the Supreme Court may rule otherwise, given its political makeup and its lingering doubts that it made the right decision in 2012 by declaring ObamaCare constitutional.

Will the Republicans or Democrats come up with an alternative plan? Will the states be able to make their plans operational enough to save the beleaguered 6 million? (Real Clear Politics, “Officials in States Plan For Aftermath of High Court Ruling,” February 28, 2015))

One wonders what future historians will say about Obama’s strategy in implementing ObamaCare when 85% of Americans were satisfied with their health care? Was expending $1 trillion or more to insure the other 15% worth the cost? Or was Senator Charles Schumer (D.New York) right when he said the focus should have been more on saving the economy rather than concentrating so much on insuring the uninsured.

Maybe ObamaCare was the wrong war , in the wrong place, at the wrong time, against the wrong enemy, the American health care system, rather than on a dysfunctional economic system, saddled by high corporate taxes and heavy regulations producing low growth rather than economic recovery.

No comments: