What Repeal of the Affordable Care Act Means to You !
When the Supreme Court Originally ruled on the constitutionality of the ACA; they based their ruling of constitutionality on the notion that the individual mandate was essentially a tax. Since it was a tax, the passage of the ACA fell under the taxing power of the government. All the other arguments made fell flat. The elimination of the individual mandate eliminates the tax. With no taxation, the basis for finding the ACA constitutional is gone Therefore, it is unlikely that when the case eventually works its way up to the Supreme Court, that the Court will find the ACA without the individual mandate constitutional.
What does this mean for us today? Nothing. While the case works its way through the court system, unless Congress decides not to fund the exchanges, nothing is likely to change. The truth is it could be years before the Supreme Court revisits this case.
Does a finding of unconstitutionality of the Affordable Care Act mean that the double-digit price increases for insurance costs since it will go away? Does it mean that benefit levels will increase? The answer is a definite no to both. Each state’s department of insurance sets pricing. Prices will continue to rise and deductibles and benefit offerings may change or, more likely, become less. This trend, a significant increase in cost, fewer benefits and narrower networks, will continue to increase. In fact, expensive benefits, such as free wellness services, are likely to go away. Since the insurance companies are unlikely to drop prices
For those concerned about losing protections enacted in the ACA, they shouldn’t worry. This can easily be handled at the state level. The state legislatures simply have to step up to the plate. At this point, the federal subsidies paid to the states are starting to diminish. The states are paying the bills anyway. Those states that haven’t enacted the ACA protections already, can simply enact laws that require insurers who provide the mandated coverage in their state, to offer policies that cover wellness, prohibit insurance companies from denying coverage for those that have preexisting conditions, eliminate caps on insurance coverage, etc. These protections do not have to be federally mandated to force insurers to provide them.
Remember, each state’s Commissioner of Insurance is responsible for establishing policy pricing and establishing regulatory frameworks for that state. In fact, the states could act in the interest of their citizens by mandating reductions in pricing and tying an insurance company’s ability to offer policies in the state for Medicare and Medicaid to pricing “affordable” coverage in the individual market.
Now is the time to focus on electing consumer friendly Insurance Commissioners. They have the power to force insurance companies to reduce rates. They also have the power to put in place regulations requiring consumer protections.