Everyone has been waiting for the Supreme Court to make a decision on the health care mandate. Today that decision arrived.
The Supreme Court upheld the mandate as a tax, in an opinion by Chief Justice John Roberts. The justices did find fault with part of the law’s expansion of Medicaid and made some changes.
So what does this mean for Americans? Well, the future of the law depends on which party controls the White House and Congress after November elections have been completed. President Obama wants to move forward with the mandate, while opponent Mitt Romney has pledged to overturn it. When asked today how he felt about the decision, Romney replied “What the Court did not do on its last day in session, I will do on my first day if elected President of the United States. And that is I will act to repeal Obamacare.”
He also stated “Obamacare raises taxes on the American people by approximately $500 billion. Obamacare cuts Medicare, by approximately $500 billion. And even with those cuts, and tax increases, Obamacare adds trillions to our deficits and to our national debt and pushes those obligations on to coming generations. Obamacare also means that for up to 20 million Americans, they will lose the insurance they currently have, the insurance that they like and they want to keep. Obamacare is a job killer. Businesses across the country have been asked what the impact is of Obamacare. Three quarters of those surveyed by the Chamber of Commerce said Obamacare makes it less likely for them to hire people. And perhaps most troubling of all, Obamacare puts the federal government between you and your doctor.”
Your benefits will be OK … for now. Parents can keep their kids on their health insurance plans until they reach age 26. And Medicare recipients will keep getting discounts on prescription drugs.
Most mandates will not start until 2014. Then most Americans will be required to carry health insurance or pay a penalty. These penalties could be $95 a year or up to 1 percent of a person’s income.
There are good points to the mandate. Some of the poorest Americans will become qualified to enroll in Medicaid. Others who earn more, but are still considered low income, will get tax credits to help offset their costs. Also the insurance companies will have to sell coverage to everyone, regardless of their age or medical history. Companies with 50 workers or more will also be required to offer insurance or pay a penalty.
If you already have health insurance, your plan may have to cover more preventive services without cost to you. Of course, with the insurance companies having to cover these services, more than likely you can expect premiums and co-payments to keep rising.