The Decision will NOT end health care debateJune 25, 2012 No Comments
June 25, 2012 / MariaNews.com
The Decision will NOT end health care debate
By Catholic Online
LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) – “We’ll be ready for court contingencies,” Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius says.
If Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act survive intact, Republicans will introduce repeal bills to keep the ball rolling. If the law is shot down, Democrats will turn an “activist” Supreme Court into a campaign target as lawmakers from both parties resurrect certain favored portions of the measure.
However — if the individual mandate to purchase coverage is cut out — but the rest of the plan is left alone, lawmakers and insurance companies will be figuring out how to manage what remains.
“The question is always, does Congress want half a loaf?” Justice Elena Kagan noted during oral arguments. “Is half a loaf better than no loaf?”
Congress is expected to not act quickly, except to issue news releases. Republicans control the House of Representatives, but Democrats run the Senate. Lawmakers are scheduled to recess from June 29 until July 9.
Insurance companies Aetna, Humana and United Healthcare have declared that they’ll continue offering certain popular provisions of the law regardless of the court’s eventual decision, including an option to keep children on their parents’ policies up to the age of 26.
More than 40 other parts of the law also have kicked in already, including protections for children who have pre-existing medical conditions and provisions that lower the cost of prescription drugs for seniors.
“While every health care plan will make its own decision, many will maintain important patient protections,” Karen Ignagni, the president and chief executive officer of America’s Health Insurance Plans says.
While other crucial decisions are expected from the Supreme Court this week, such as Arizona’s tough immigration law, none is as complex as the challenge to the health care legislation, which spanned 2,700 pages when it passed Congress on a party-line vote two years ago. Boiled down into statute, the health care package covers a phenomenal 975 pages.
The Supreme Court’s six hours of oral arguments that stretched over three days in March were the most since the mid-1960s.
The key decisions on the proposed law include whether the court should even consider the case in the first place. There’s a technical argument that the legal challenges are premature, but few expect that the court will let the historic moment simply fizzle out. The high court then must decide whether two separate provisions survive.
One is the famed individual mandate, which requires most adults either to buy insurance or pay a fee that would reach $695 by 2016. The other is a directive that states expand Medicaid coverage. Most importantly — if the court eliminates the individual mandate, justices must decide whether that measure can be severed from the law or the whole law goes down with it.
© 2012, Catholic Online. Distributed by NEWS CONSORTIUM.
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