After the December 14th ruling by a federal judge against the legality of ACA healthcaremany people are wondering whether or not they will continue to have coverage. Catchy headlines ran on news media for weeks implying all sorts of possible scenarios. Between the media war and political noise, the average person hasn’t been able to piece together exactly what to expect. Here at the office it’s been one of the most common questions for the past two weeks; “Is Obamacare still going to be around for 2019?” So as professionals in the industry, here are our thoughts down at Hummingbird.
This entire event needs to be put in it’s actual context. The supreme court did not strike down Obamacare – a federal judge in Texas did. Though this has powerful implications, especially in a judiciary system where establishing precedent is important for future laws, it can not bring everything to a grinding halt all by itself. There is almost always an appeal process. The ruling in Texas is important, but it will take many months ifnot several years to see precisely how it is going to pan out.
For some added perspective, consider that this is actually the seventieth time that the ACA has been challenged in court and/or sued by an assembly of politicians. The Supreme Court itself has even examined it once before and upheld the entire structure as legal and constitutional. There is a lot of political attention and validation in certain groups for the mere effort to bring down the Affordable Care Act. This results in many symbolic attacks against the law for the sake of bolstering one’s constituency and increasing funding for political campaigns. More often than notthese lawsuits are just tigers without teeth.
A majority of people want to continue to see some sort of inclusive healthcare for our country, and this is true on both sides. Laws often get empowered or diminished in a democratic system whose hallmark is a revolving door of different parties, people, and plans. Different ideologies hold power throughout any given era. Often times, however, the core laws are upheld. The ACA, I think at least, has become a core law in the United States. That doesn’t mean it won’t be transformed or even renamed as time goes on, but it does mean that some form of government-supported healthcare that accepts most pre-existing conditions is here to stay. Even President Donald Trump has voiced his support for a healthcare structure that provides this sort of coverage.
The Texas decision may indeed climb its way to the supreme court. A newly confirmed Republican on the seat there is a valid concern for people afraid that the Supreme Court may overturn its own earlier ruling. No matter what the outcome this is going to be a long and cumbersome process. Even if the law were repealed in totality tomorrow, there would still be at least a year involved in actually dismantling it. That means that for 2019, at least, no one should need to worry too much about their coverage. The future is harder to predict, but I’m comfortable betting that some form of inclusive healthcare will continue to exist at the federal level indefinitely, hopefully as a reliable pillar of U.S. law.