During Justice Amy Coney Barrett’s nomination, Democrats spent most of their time figuratively gnashing their teeth, pulling their hair and pounding their chests about how the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), or Obamacare, would be ripped to shreds by the end of November if she was confirmed.
They decried the lack of empathy for people with pre-existing conditions, who would be left without any healthcare coverage, while President Trump and his fellow Republicans would do nothing to help them.
Nothing could be further from the truth.
The outright hysteria over Justice Barrett’s confirmation has been an eye opener, especially since Democrats have admitted that Obamacare did not work as promised and want to replace it with Medicare for All, or S. 1129.
The legislation, sponsored by socialist Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and co-sponsored by 14 Democrats, including vice presidential candidate Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) would cause the more than 178 million Americans who currently have private insurance to lose it within four years of enactment.
It is true that the Supreme Court will hear California v. Texas (formally known as Texas v. the United States) on November 10, 2020, and the case will again test the constitutionality of ACA.
This case has been winding its way through the lower courts since February 2018. But discussions about the lawsuit reached a fever pitch when Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg passed away and Amy Coney Barrett was nominated to replace her.
Justice Barrett is an originalist in her judicial philosophy toward the interpretation of the Constitution and was critical of Chief Justice John Robert’s contorted 2012 decision upholding Obamacare’s constitutionality.
The Kaiser Family Foundation’s summary of the case states the Supreme Court will first determine if the plaintiffs have standing.
If so, the court will decide if the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, which set the shared responsibility tax to zero dollars for those that refuse to purchase health insurance, makes the individual mandate unconstitutional.
If the court determines the mandate is unconstitutional, it will then decide if the rest of ACA is unconstitutional or the mandate is severable, which would leave the remaining provisions of the law in force.
If the court determines all of ACA is invalid, it will determine whether it is “unenforceable nationwide or whether it should be unenforceable only to the extent that provisions injure the individual plaintiffs.”
Many legal scholars agree that it is likely a majority of the Supreme Court, as noted in National Review and Reason articles, would support severability and uphold the ACA, even if a majority agreed on the narrower issue that the individual mandate is unconstitutional.
Since January 1, 2019, when the penalty was reduced to zero dollars, the individual mandate has essentially been toothless and people with pre-existing conditions are still covered.
In the unlikely chance that a majority of the Court should agree that the mandate is unconstitutional and the entire law must therefore be declared unconstitutional, the ruling would be delayed, giving Congress and the states time to remedy the situation.
People would not lose their health insurance overnight. Indeed, the decision itself could be issued as late as June 2021.
Whatever the Supreme Court decides, the ACA desperately needs reform. Republicans and President Trump, just like Democrats, believe people with pre-existing conditions should be protected.
On September 24, 2020, President Trump signed an executive order stating that it would be the policy of the United States to ensure that Americans with pre-existing conditions could obtain the insurance they want at affordable rates.
Since 2017, his administration has worked with 12 governors to utilize ACA State Innovation Waivers to improve market stability, lower premiums for consumers, and protect those with pre-existing conditions by implementing state-based reinsurance.
These actions have been particularly helpful to people with pre-existing conditions but earn too much to receive ACA subsidies. More states should follow suit because if they did, they would likely see similar drops in premiums, like Alaska’s average 20 percent reduction or Maryland’s average 30 percent reduction.
Republicans and conservatives have been working hard to move decision-making power and control out of Washington, D.C.; empower individuals to take charge of their healthcare decisions; and protect those with pre-existing conditions.
These provisions are included in both the House Republican Study Committee “RSC Health Care Plan: A Framework for Personalized, Affordable Care,” and the “Health Care Choices 2020,” proposal which has the attention of Republican senators.
These ideas will do far more to help all Americans, especially those with pre-existing conditions, obtain access to innovative medical care than any government-run “Medicare for All” plan, with its price controls and rationing, would ever be able to do.
Taxpayers and consumers should ignore the Democrats, who are just crying wolf.