In the run-up to the Affordable Care Act, the battle to make sure Americans have access to affordable health insurance was front and center.
Now, the question is: How will the government, rather than insurers and private firms, provide those insurance options?
On Tuesday, the US Supreme Court issued its landmark decision in King v.
Burwell, which held that the Affordable Health Care Act (AHCA) violates the Constitution’s Commerce Clause and the Due Process Clause by giving too much power to a handful of private health insurers, and thereby violating the people’s right to be left alone.
The court also ruled that it is a violation of the Constitution for the government to coerce Americans into paying for the benefits of a private health insurance company’s insurance policies.
“The ACA’s mandate to provide health insurance coverage to all Americans violates the constitutional rights of Americans to liberty, equality and due process,” Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote for the court.
“This violates the Due Walkback Clause, and the Commerce Clause’s Due Process Clauses, and it violates the Fifth Amendment’s Equal Protection Clause.”
The Supreme Court ruling was a historic victory for the people, who have long been concerned about the way health insurance is funded and distributed in the US.
The ruling in King marked the beginning of a long battle for health insurance in the country, and came as Congress, led by President Donald Trump, began to repeal the Affordable Act.
“It was an incredibly significant day for the health insurance industry,” said Michael Green, chief executive officer of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts, the state’s largest insurance company.
“There’s a lot of work that needs to be done to ensure that the government isn’t able to use its power to force people to pay for the products they want.”
According to the American Medical Association, the ACA will make healthcare costs unaffordable for millions of Americans.
According to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), the AHCA will cost about 20 million people their health insurance, which is about one-quarter of what they would have paid under the ACA.
In addition, the CBO estimated that the law would result in about 3 million more uninsured Americans and would lead to a 23% increase in hospitalizations and emergency room visits.
In addition, it would result by increasing the number of Americans with preexisting conditions, which could cause some people to miss work, go without health insurance or incur medical bills.
The AHCA also created new financial penalties for individuals who refuse to pay their premiums, but the court ruled that the penalties could not be imposed for nonpayment.
“The court is very clear that the individual mandate violates the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment,” said Green.
“And so, what this means is that the IRS has a duty to enforce the individual requirement.
The IRS can’t just take the individual out of the equation, because that would be a violation.
But the IRS can enforce the mandate.”
The ruling also came as President Donald J. Trump announced the creation of the National Health Care Fund, a new government entity designed to provide a pool of money for people to purchase health insurance through the insurance exchanges that are set to open on January 1.
This new program will be run by the Treasury Department, and will include $10 billion from the Treasury to support insurance markets.
“Today, the Supreme Court reaffirmed that a healthy nation does not need government handouts.
The government can’t take away the responsibility to protect the people and their health care,” said White House press secretary Lindsay Walters.
President Donald J Trump signs the AHSA into law at the White House in Washington, DC, U.S., on January 10, 2021.
Source: Al Jazeera