Let’s not get too excited, folks. Sad as that is.
The loud and proud state of Texas announced the longed-for ACA death Friday night after a federal judge ruled it all unconstitutional. Here’s how it went down.
US District Judge Reed O’Connor of Fort Worth found that since there’s no more penalty for not carrying health insurance, there’s no more tax support for the ACA. His argument stems from the original 2012 ruling in which Chief Justice John Roberts, Jr., declared Obamacare to be constitutional. Why? Because the penalty is a “tax.” And, in the words of Roberts, Congress “does have the power to impose a tax on those without health insurance.”
However, last year congressional Republicans passed a bill that eliminated the penalty for not carrying insurance. And voilà! No penalty means no tax. Which means that Obamacare is gutted.
Until John Roberts gets ahold of it again. Hirsch goes on to tell her own Obamacare horror story:
Obamacare has been the bane of my life for years now. I’m sub-contracted as a speech pathologist to a local rehab agency, which means I must carry my own health insurance.
When I started in 2009, I was able to carry a Health Savings Account policy for about $200 per month. Easy-peasy, no problem.
That was then. Wanna guess what my 2019 premium would be using the Healthcare Marketplace?
Try over $1000 per month for a policy with a $7200 deductible. I have no red flag pre-existing conditions, other than aging, which happens to us all.
“Oh,” but the ACA supporters would tell me. “Have you applied for a subsidy?”
Sorry, but I don’t qualify. I make too much money, even though I work part-time, and my monthly income fluctuates. And we’re hardly wealthy.
So my agent managed to find me a short-term policy, which technically doesn’t fulfill the ACA requirements, but it’s actually affordable and will take me through 2019. What will happen in 2020 is anyone’s guess.
Thanks, Obamacare. My agent tells me that prior to the ACA, my state had 17 insurance companies offering individual health insurance. Now there’s just two. And yes, it was the ACA that drove insurance companies out and increased my premiums.
Ahh, but as I keep saying: Obamacare is here to stay, I’m afraid. Or, more accurately, government-controlled healthcare is, however much it may or may not end up resembling O-care itself. That much was obvious the moment Republicans pulled the ol’ rhetorical switcheroo from vowing to “repeal” Obamacare to “repeal AND REPLACE” it instead. Right then it should have been clear to all that it wasn’t Obamacare that was dead—it was any realistic hope of restoring a market-driven, efficiently run, high-quality, innovative, and affordable system, short of violent revolution.
So far as I know, there has never yet been an example of a First World nation placing its healthcare system into the hands of the central government and then reversing it. Once government gets its mitts in…well, into just about anything, it’s extremely rare for it to withdraw them. Instead, it just goes right on tinkering with it, mucking up the works worse and worse, making things more complex, difficult, and expensive for everyone involved, and then “solving” the problem by arrogating even more power over it to itself.
So it will be with healthcare. After another few years, government health care will be so entrenched it will be damned near unthinkable for most of us to even begin to imagine doing things any other way. In fact, the notion will seem preposterous to most, particularly younger generations who have never experienced anything else. Meanwhile, health care will get worse; costs will soar; callous, inflexible, and unaccountable bureaucracy will flourish; the wait for treatment will lengthen—and we’ll continue to delusionally boast that “America’s healthcare system is the BEST IN THE WORLD!”
Then we’ll all agree not to make much fuss when we have hundreds of people a year starving and/or thirsting to death in our hospitals. Just another facet of that Heinleinian “bad luck,” don’tchaknow.
Actually, as our First World cousins continue their own shambolic descent into decrepitude and futility, and the undeveloped world remains mired in hapless misery, our system might actually BE the best in the world without ever again approaching the best it can be. “Best,” after all, is by definition a relative term.