The June 28 Supreme Court decision upholding the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act has been viewed as a major victory for one political party. However, some of the ACA’s downstream consequences look a lot like a defeat for many Americans. Why?
First and foremost, the ACA’s individual mandate intrudes on the principles of individual freedoms that the Constitution was designed to protect. If one’s purchasing decisions are now subject to arbitrary legislation, then what comes next? I shudder to think. Broccoli, anyone?
Second, employers, particularly smaller businesses, may legitimately respond by trimming their staffs or, even worse, by not hiring new employees. This looks like an economic poison pill that will seriously underfund other jeopardized federal programs such as Medicare, sending their rightful beneficiaries running for nonexistent cover.
Third, the real affordability of health-insurance premiums remains to be determined, not only for those with pre-existing conditions who tend to be older and more costly, but for younger, healthier buyers who may have to bear even more of the brunt of the former group.
Fourth, the obvious lack of tort reform virtually guarantees the continued practice of defensive medicine – certainly not a cost-saver! As a seriously flawed piece of legislation, passed by dint of a single party’s majorities in both houses of Congress, it is now upheld by a majority court opinion whose narrow margin was assured by a justice who should have recused herself for previous involvement in the crafting of the ACA.
Many Americans will become the dubious “beneficiaries” of an act that most of us did not want in the first place, and will now haunt us for the foreseeable future.