By Cynthia Lambrick, Boomer Volunteer
Recently we had the summer solstice, the longest day of the year. This means we are nearly two-thirds of the way through June, and June is the month the Supreme Court will likely rule on the issues of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) – ObamaCare. I very much want to hear the decision but I am also apprehensive to finally hear where health care stands. Can we finally move ahead with the better, fair access to health care as provided by ObamaCare? Or are we bound to continue longer dealing with the current health care constraints of lack of access to care, escalating high prices for care and premiums, and reform politics.
Why should we all be concerned about what happens if the ACA is ruled unconstitutional? For people currently without health insurance coverage or the money to pay for care and insurance, the need for all provisions of the ACA is a given fact – ACA gives people access to affordable health care. For all other people, there is the impact of the “what ifs”.
Let me use myself for example depending on “what if” happens. I am a widowed early retiree. I am the parent of one college child and one currently unemployed young adult. Although rarely seen for the conditions, we all have what would be deemed pre-existing medical conditions. We have medical insurance through a work sponsored retiree health plan.
With the ACA, my work-sponsored retiree health plan is eligible for subsidies to remain in-force to provide retirees affordable coverage from age 55 to 65. My unemployed children, until age 26, can have health coverage under my plan until employed with their own coverage. And, most importantly, the ACA will eliminate exclusions of pre-existing conditions and rating by gender in 2014.
What if the ACA is deemed unconstitutional? The personal mandate is the key insurance requirement in the ACA, to provide appropriate factors of risk for insurance companies to provide coverage to all. There are currently numerous opinions about what ACA provisions would or could remain in force if the personal mandate is removed. However, if the current ACA provisions were to disappear, my health plan could either have skyrocketing premium increases or could end altogether. My unemployed child could lose insurance….again. And, worst case scenario, none of my family could qualify for individual insurance because of pre-existing conditions.
Regardless of personal situation, we can all be touched by the Supreme Court ruling. Besides provisions for early retirees, young adult coverage and future exclusion of pre-existing condition limitations, ObamaCare has already provided numerous provisions such as: consumer protections and insurance accountability; a Medicaid expansion for America’s most vulnerable; Medicare prescription drug coverage “donut hole” relief; and specific provisions for preventive care, removal of life time/ year coverage limits and fraud prevention.
So, what if a Medicare recipient has to face the donut hole again? What if an insurance company could start rescinding coverage again? What if a woman cannot obtain health coverage because she is of child bearing age? What if an affordable health insurance policy cannot be found?
We all have a stake in the Supreme Court decision and we need hope for affirmation of ObamaCare’s provisions. What if the ACA is constitutional? We win.