Debate Club

Striking Down the Affordable Care Act Would Be Unconscionable

By + More

For millions of Americans, the Affordable Care Act's promise of better healthcare is already a reality. Young adults can now maintain health coverage through their parents' policies until they turn 26. Children with conditions like autism or cerebral palsy can no longer be denied coverage by insurers for having pre-existing conditions. Insurance companies cannot cut off coverage if someone gets sick or reaches a lifetime limit. Seniors are paying less for prescription drugs and getting free preventive care. Small businesses are using tax credits to make coverage available for their workers.

Starting this summer, comprehensive preventive care for women, including mammograms and contraception, will be free. And in 2014, no insurance company will be allowed to discriminate against women (or men) with pre-existing conditions by charging higher premiums. Tax credits will make health coverage affordable for millions of middle-class families. And millions of low-income Americans will get coverage through an expanded Medicaid program.

[Check out editorial cartoons about healthcare.]

It would be unconscionable for the Supreme Court to take these gains away from the American people. It would also be a profound legal error. Most courts that have considered challenges to the Affordable Care Act have found the law to be soundly constitutional. Prominent conservative jurists, like Jeffrey Sutton of the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals and Laurence Silberman of the D.C. Circuit, have upheld the law's individual responsibility provision. In his opinion, Judge Sutton concluded that it is up to the people through their elected representatives, not the courts, to decide what makes good policy. The Supreme Court should adopt this reasoning.

On the lesser-known, but vitally important, question of the Medicaid expansion, there should be even less controversy. Medicaid has been expanded many times in its 47-year history. No court has ever rejected any expansion. Even the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals that (erroneously, in my view) struck down the individual responsibility provision found that the Medicaid expansion was constitutional, stating that the states' complaints in this arena were more "rhetoric than fact."

For the American people, the stakes in this case are extraordinarily high. The health, and even the lives, of millions hang in the balance. Fortunately, the law is on the public's side. If the Supreme Court follows existing precedent, it should, and will, uphold the law.

Ron Pollack

About Ron Pollack Founding Executive Director of Families USA

Tags
health care reform
Supreme Court

Other Arguments

#1
2,026 Pts
Much More Than Politics at Stake

No – Much More Than Politics at Stake

Ethan Rome Executive Director of Health Care for America Now

#2
1,951 Pts
Constitution, Court's Precedent on Affordable Care Act's Side

No – Constitution, Court's Precedent on Affordable Care Act's Side

Ian Millhiser Policy Analyst at the Center for American Progress

#4
1,935 Pts
Founding Fathers Would Approve of National Healthcare Policy

No – Founding Fathers Would Approve of National Healthcare Policy

Elizabeth B. Wydra Chief Counsel for the Constitutional Accountability Center

#5
-1,886 Pts
The Individual Mandate Is Unconstitutional and Corrupt

Yes – The Individual Mandate Is Unconstitutional and Corrupt

Phil Kerpen Vice President for Policy at Americans for Prosperity

#6
-1,922 Pts
Individual Mandate Goes Against Basic Freedom and Liberty

Yes – Individual Mandate Goes Against Basic Freedom and Liberty

Hans A. Von Spakovsky Senior Legal Fellow at the Heritage Foundation

#7
-1,940 Pts
Obamacare Both Unnecessary and Improper

Yes – Obamacare Both Unnecessary and Improper

Trevor Burrus Legal Associate at the Cato Institute

#8
-1,974 Pts
Rick Santorum: Obamacare Means Unlimited Government

Yes – Rick Santorum: Obamacare Means Unlimited Government

Rick Santorum Republican Candidate for President of the United States

You Might Also Like


See More