How should the justices rule on the health-care reform law?
Friday, June 08, 2012 7:00 AM
What’s at stake
By late June, the U.S. Supreme Court is expected to issue its ruling on the constitutionality of the Patient Protection and Affordability Act. A key provision of the 2,700-page law is the individual mandate requiring most Americans to purchase health insurance beginning in 2014 or face a financial penalty. Supporters say Congress wanted to ensure universal coverage by forcing insurance companies to expand coverage without bankrupting them.
Twenty-six states, including Iowa, have challenged the law’s constitutionality, saying the federal government does not have the authority to require citizens to purchase a product such as health insurance. The Justice Department has argued that the mandate is necessary to address spiraling health-care costs and the costs associated with providing health care to millions of uninsured Americans.
According to a survey by the American Bar Association conducted in March prior to the Supreme Court’s deliberations, 85 percent of experts polled by the ABA predicted the court would uphold the law as constitutional.
– Joe Gardyasz
Benefits of the Affordable Care Act to individuals in Iowa
Providing new coverage options for young adults:
Health plans are now required to allow parents to keep their children under age 26 who don’t have job-based coverage on their family’s plan. Nationally, 2.5 million young adults have gained coverage because of this provision.
Preventive services with no deductible or co-pay:
Under the law, 54 million Americans gained preventive service coverage with no cost-sharing under their health plans
Removing lifetime limits on coverage:
The Affordable Care Act prohibits insurance companies from imposing lifetime dollar limits on health benefits. It also restricts the use of annual limits and bans them completely in 2014.
Young adults in Iowa who have gained insurance coverage
Iowa residents with private insurance gaining free preventive coverage
Iowa Medicare recipients who received free preventive services in 2011
(including 311,000 children)
Iowans who no longer have lifetime limits on their health policies
Source: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
Here’s how Business Record readers responded to two questions we posed recently as a Business Record poll.
We asked: Do you think the individual mandate should be ruled unconstitutional?
We asked: If the individual mandate is overturned, should the entire law be scrapped?
"Insurance costs have gone up, regulations have gone up, the uncertainty of what will happen is making planning hard. The promises that Obama made were lies when he said that you will be able to keep the health insurance you have if you want to, and the amount it would cost the country was drastically underestimated. I have tried to read the bill and the complexity of it is overwhelming and I am expected to comply with it as a business owner and a citizen. The government has gotten too big and it seems to me that they want to run our lives." - Jim Kabel, President, Kabel Business Services
"The costs associated with the act and the added hours to administrate the extra duties associated with the ACC will force us to drop private health insurance for our employee and pay the fine, forcing everyone into the government health care plan." - Anonymous
"We consult with businesses that offer health insurance to their employees. I understand that our benefits department has struggled to assist our clients in navigating through the many gray areas presented in the 2,000+ pages of the health care law. It is not likely to produce the positive results purported by the administration as many employers are considering paying a fine versus offering coverage to their employees and risking not being in compliance anyway. Health insurance is a privilege, not a right any more than any other type of insurance. " - Eric Sorensen, Vice president, crop insurance, LMC Insurance
"Our business health insurance premiums increased 21 percent this year, and we are in the low-risk category for small businesses." - William Weidmeier, President, Iowa-Des Moines Supply Inc.
"Our customers are very concerned about the “unknown” cost and added regulations associated with this legislation...they are being VERY VERY cautious." - Loren Reit, Sales and marketing manager, Tecton Industries Inc.
"We’ll benefit individually and as a business with better coverage and leverage to negotiate over time." - Randy Roth, Owner, Corporate Contracts
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