Elvis used to sing “wise men say, only fools rush in…” Unfortunately, we have too few Elvis fans or, maybe, they were watching more than listening to the words. There have been some foolish behaviors that will come back to haunt the ones who are executing the behaviors. If they don’t, others will pay the price for their foolish acts.
The Cato Institute is funding the legal teams that are fighting court battles against the subsidies under the Affordable Care Act, if they were provided through the federal exchange. There is one place in the law that can be taken out of context with the rest of the document, with its intent and with the practicality that some states could not or did not want to run the exchanges. One ruling said that only the state exchanges could offer the subsidy per this interpretation, while other court decisions looked at the broader picture and said the federal exchange subsidy is OK. Fortunately, the one case should be overturned in appeal, but there are other ones as well in the works.
From where I sit, what do you gain by winning your narrow-minded argument? You will screw over 5 million people which will likely grow to more, if these cases go to the Supreme Court in a year or two. I often say that it is the pawns who get screwed in these political zero-sum games. To me, it is prima facie evidence that there are some who only want to win an argument without caring about who is impacted. In this case, people of all political stripes and races will be impacted.
The irony here is the Affordable Care Act is largely a Republican idea, borrowing from Romneycare which was supported by Tea Party leadership until Romney ran for President. The reason there is no countervailing GOP idea is Obamacare is largely it. People think I make this up, but I encourage them to Google “Jim DeMint and Romneycare” and read the many articles. And, the larger truth is Obamacare is showing many signs of success, especially with lowering the rate of uninsureds.
Here is where I remind people that I am Independent voter who has over 33 years of experience in benefits consulting and benefits management before retiring. I am also a former actuary by trade. I have long grown weary of the many attacks on this imperfect and complex law. I have been saying for two years, make the law better, as we will be better for it with more people insured. We have to get people to the doctor before the inevitable train wrecks happen. We also need the remaining states to expand Medicaid. Those states are in the bottom half of the country on healthcare quality and child poverty. This will gain even more coverage for people in need of all political stripes and races. This would include Republicans and Libertarians.
As a volunteer who helps people in need, the absence of healthcare insurance creates poverty. It can create homelessness. We need for people to be covered and when politicians or pundits tell people not to consider coverage because they do not like the President, his party or the law, they are doing that person a disservice. The subsidies go up to a family of four making $94,000 in income. For larger families, it is even more. So, my question for that so-called advisor is, should the person go into the hospital following your advice, will you pay that person’s $50,000 expense? This may sound trivial to some, but a friend of our family was told this very thing and she is in poor health. I encouraged her to speak with a navigator and she now has coverage. One month later, she entered the hospital. She would have had to declare bankruptcy otherwise. By the way, most people who declare bankruptcy cite the lack of healthcare insurance (or poor insurance) as the key reason.
My strong suggestion is for the Cato Institute to drop their cases. The one case where their contention was upheld, will likely be overturned, but if it goes to all the way to our highest court, with this Supreme Court, who knows what will happen? And, if it gets that far and it is not overturned, then what? You will be happy you won. And, at least 5 million Americans will be screwed. They should know now, that this Independent voter says they should ask their politicians to drop this Obamacare witchhunt and help make the law better. In the long run, we will be better for it. They should also know whom to blame now when they vote in the fall. If a candidate continues to harp on Obamacare, vote for someone else. I am tired of these machinations and most Americans have said they are, as well. Unfortunately, the Cato’s foolish behavior could cause us to be the fools. And, that would be a shame. My belief is it will fall back on them, but stranger things have happened.