Thursday, the U.S. Supreme court largely upheld the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA or “Obamacare”) in a 5—4 decision asserting that it falls within the Congress’s authority to levy taxes. Criticizing the act as the largest tax-increase in history, the laws detractors remain undaunted in their opposition. Following the Decision, Candidate Romney announced near the Capitol, “What the court did not do on in its last day in session, I will do on my first day if elected President of the United States, and that is I will act to repeal Obamacare.” The President countered in a White House address, “Whatever the politics, today’s decision was a victory for people all over this country whose lives will be more secure because of this law and the Supreme Court’s decision to uphold it.”
What are the benefits and costs of Obamacare? The President promised that the 250 million Americans with existing coverage will keep that coverage. The “individual mandate” of the law requires that the remaining 30 million without coverage must participate in the new system, with few exceptions. The President also assures, “If you can’t afford the premiums, you’ll receive a credit that helps pay for it.”
The law prevents insurance carriers from denying coverage to individuals with pre-existing conditions or to those who become ill (i.e. “rescission”). Children’s coverage on their parent’s insurance will be extended to the age of 26. Seniors will be eligible for a $250 credit for prescription drugs and insurers will no longer be able to impose lifetime limits on care. Furthermore, President Obama promises, “[Insurance Carriers] won’t be able to bill you into bankruptcy.” (See the full text of the law here.)
Not all Democrats believe the PPACA is so benign. Former Clinton senior advisor and ABC host George Stephanopoulos said, “Under this mandate, the government is forcing people to spend money, fining you if you don’t.” David Yepsen, director of the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute adds, “Obama says he’s not raising taxes, the Supreme Court says this is a tax. Voters are going to have to decide whether they like this idea.”
The Romney campaign asserts that it is in a battle for a smaller, less intrusive government. According to Mr. Romney, “Obamacare raises taxes on the American People by approximately $500 billion…and adds trillions to our deficits and our National Debt.” Posted on mittromney.com, “Our basic liberties are at stake — and Mitt Romney will fight to restore our freedoms, and halt the government takeover of health care.” The campaign site further calls for voters to sign Mitt’s petition against “big government and irresponsible spending.”
The Obama campaign countered by accusing Romney of hypocrisy, citing the mandatory healthcare plan Romney developed for Massachusetts when he was governor. “That was right then, you should ask why he doesn’t think it’s not right now,” Obama senior strategist David Axelrod told NBC’s “Today” show.
President Obama appealed to the American People this Thursday saying, “What the country can’t afford to do is re-fight the political battles of two years ago, or go back to the way things were.” He wishes America to move forward, and come together in implementing the PPACA . His plea may fall on deaf ears though. Michele Bachman decried, “we want to kill Obamacare and we want to end socialized medicine, [and] it must be done in the next election!” Mitt Romney added, “If we want to get rid of Obamacare we’re gonna have replace President Obama.” It seems one thing is clear: No matter what your political stance, the fight over universal healthcare is far from over.