By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
Republicans are denouncing the 5-4 decision by the Supreme Court and Democrats are celebrating a victory where many had grudgingly assumed defeat was inevitable. Both party’s spin doctors are telling this tale in a way they believe will advance their separate agendas. This was the most important Supreme Court case in 40 years and almost every American will be affected by the shock waves from this decision……whether they realize it or not.
The big winner of course was President Barack H Obama. The President admittedly inherited two wars in the Middle East, a housing market collapse, and a recession. That said, he staked his presidency and all the political capital and muscle he had to pass the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and it cost him the House of Representatives. If after all of that the U.S. Supreme Court had told him that the entire act was unconstitutional (as many of us and four Supreme Court Justices believed it was), that would have been (rightly) seen as a sad spectacle and a waste of time. Now his Presidency has an actual accomplishment that it can point to…..other than a successful mission by SEAL team 6. This election MAY become a referendum on whether or not we want Obamacare; but if Obamacare had lost Thursday it would have been a referendum on the economy and President Obama would have lost that argument. BIG win for Obama.
The pharmaceutical companies were big winners. Obama needed corporate allies to push Obamacare through the Congress and after the insurance companies balked at his proposals the drug companies came forward with millions of $$$s in advertising and lobbyists in exchange for not getting saddled with government price controls on their merchandise. Their core business is safe and the costly Medicare Perscription Drug Benefit survived untouched by Obamacare. Score it a win for big Pharma.
Persons with preexisting conditions were winners. Pre-Obamacare you paid for insurance when you were young and healthy so you could get insurance if your health changed for the worse and preexisting conditions meant you were turned down by health insurance. Now a 45 year old 330 pound diabetic who just had a heart attack will be able to get health insurance and can’t be turned down (beginning in 2014). Now it means rates will go up for everybody on the plan, but score it a win for unhealthy people.
Slackers won big. In the America of long, long ago, you turned 18 and you went to college, joined the military, or left to start a career. That appears to have changed and now 20 somethings are playing video games on their parents couch and the government is now requiring that insurers cover “children” until they are 26 on their parents’ healthcare insurance. Again the other people paying for family coverage on the plan will be paying for this, but slackers everywhere can rejoice.
This was a big win for news talk radio. Nothing drives ratings on conservative talk radio shows like President Obama messing with your healthcare.
This was a win for Romney. This just went from being an election to being a crusade. If conservative won’t reach for their checkbooks to defeat a President who has expanded federal power more than anybody since LBJ in the 60s; then they really can’t call themselves conservatives anymore.
The states. Thursday was not a total victory for team Obama. The Court agreed that the federal government can not force the states to expand Medicaid to take in millions of the uninsured. Dozens (if not all) the states will opt out of the Medicaid expansion. They simply don’t have the funds in their budgets.
That is pretty much it for the winners……now let’s take a look at the losers.
Insurance companies. After today, the only business more regulated than insurance companies may be nuclear power plant operators. The government is regulating what insurers can sell, how they market it, profit margins, administrative costs, executive bonuses and has created a situation of adverse selection where the sick, the diseased, the unhealthy have to be insured, while raising rates so that the young and the healthy have to subsidize the less healthy on the plan. Health insurers were big losers.
Doctors. Obamacare is enormously unpopular with physicians. Obamacare cuts what doctors get paid, strips them of their right to not participate in procedures that violate their consciences, and raises their regulatory burden without giving them what they wanted most…..tort reform. Expect thousands to leave the field.
The uninsured. Obamacare was supposed to decrease the ranks of the uninsured. When the Supremes tossed out the demand that states expand Medicaid to include many more adults it meant that 30 million who would have been insured under Obamacare likely won’t be and now they will have to pay more on their income taxes too.
The Tea party. Obamacare birthed the modern tea party movement. They exist to wage war on Obamacare and the growing state apparatus. They failed to stop it in 2010. They failed to get it repealed in 2011 and the Court rejected their views on the subject again. The tea party may be losers today….but they have not lost this war yet.
Medical device makers just got slammed with a new tax so they are among the losers.
The elderly will see their access to doctors decreased and eventually they will receive less and less care as the government seizes more power over senior healthcare and increasingly life extending treatments will be harder to get.
Business. Obamacare slaps business and industry with greater costs and makes insurance less affordable.
Religious institutions. Their fight for the preservation of religious liberty goes on even though it appears that this court is firmly in the Obama camp. By the time their case is finally heard Obama could have packed the court with another Kagan or Sotomajor.
The currently insured. Rates are going up and the people who currently have health insurance are going to have to absorb the costs. A lot of employers will drop coverage and pay the fine rather than pay increasing premiums.
The taxpayers. The government is spending $1.3 trillion a year more than it takes in now and now the government is adding new entitlements and more bureaucracies. Obamacare is adding billions more to the $15.9 trillion national debt. Somebody will pay for this at some point in time and the resulting combination of budget cutting and increased taxes will be painful for all of us.