March 26, 2012

Today is the beginning of the presentations to the Supreme Court about the Affordable Care Act. This Act, signed into law just about 2 years ago, covers a whole bunch of aspects of health care in the United States. It’s going to bring about some big changes. But the main one that seems to have people arguing is the individual mandate that would require almost everyone buy health insurance.

The problem with the individual mandate is determining whether the government has the right to compel people to buy a product. Or rather, do they have the right to impose a penalty (in this case, a tax) on those who choose not to buy. Does this fall under their right to “regulate commerce”? Now of course, everyone having health insurance is a great goal. But, if upheld, how would this apply to other industries and products? The Supreme Court will tackle this monster on Tuesday.

And beyond just whether to uphold the mandate or not, the question is also, can this mandate be separated from the rest the law without hurting its intention? See, if it can’t, then deciding the mandate is unconstitutional would essentially strike the whole act. There’s goes our health care reform, right? That would be terribly sad.

The other areas that all healthy young people should be aware of with the Affordable Care Act are:

  1. Contraception coverage – who’s not excited that health insurance has to provide coverage for contraception? Religious organizations (surprise, surprise). But in all seriousness, this is troublesome for them. And there’s a whole lot of Catholic hospitals and universities out there.
  2. Employer funded insurance plans – this is going to be a big change in the next few years. I think more employers will not find it in their financial interest to provide insurance plans to their employees (especially ones on the lower end of the pay scale). This isn’t necessarily bad, but it will be different.

Anyway, I encourage everyone to read up on the changes that could come about because it will definitely affect everybody. I’m still going through a bunch of articles but hopefully I’ll be able to post some interesting ones next week.


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