By Robert Schlesinger |
The law is a commonsense solution to our country's broken healthcare system and is clearly constitutional. It eliminates insurance company abuses, makes coverage more affordable for seniors, families, and small businesses, and creates rules that stop insurers from denying care to the sick and jacking up premiums anytime they please.
The logic of the law is that we can make coverage more affordable and fair if everyone has insurance, including the young and healthy and those who don't expect to get sick. That lowers costs by spreading the risk more broadly.
Our system is fundamentally out of balance. Many people don't get the care they need, and others only get care at everyone else's expense—and usually at an emergency room where services are far more expensive than at a doctor's office. As a result, at least $43 billion in uncompensated care is provided every year, paid for by a $1,000 "hidden tax" in the premiums of every insured person in the country.
Today most people have insurance. Most of the 50 million uninsured want coverage but either can't afford it or are excluded by insurers because of pre-existing conditions. When the law is fully implemented, families unable to afford coverage will get tax credits to put it within reach. The truth is that the individual responsibility provision, also known as the mandate, will affect only the 2 percent of Americans who have access to affordable coverage but refuse it. That's what this fight is about: the 2 percent who reject rules that will allow the rest of us to get better, more affordable coverage.
The Supreme Court has consistently ruled that the Constitution gives Congress the ability to develop national solutions to national problems. If the court were to bow to political pressures to strike down the law, it would essentially put regulation of healthcare, which accounts for nearly 18 percent of our economy, beyond the reach of Congress. That is plainly absurd.
The case against the health law is an extension of a transparently partisan political mission to tear down this milestone law as a way to turn President Obama out of office in November. What the partisans selfishly refuse to acknowledge is that there is so much more than politics at stake.
About Ethan Rome Executive Director of Health Care for America Now
Ian Millhiser Policy Analyst at the Center for American Progress
Ron Pollack Founding Executive Director of Families USA
Elizabeth B. Wydra Chief Counsel for the Constitutional Accountability Center
Phil Kerpen Vice President for Policy at Americans for Prosperity
Hans A. Von Spakovsky Senior Legal Fellow at the Heritage Foundation
Rick Santorum Republican Candidate for President of the United States