If the chatter in our capital city this week proves accurate, the Supreme Court is poised to strike down the Affordable Care Act in full.
The question on everyone’s mind is, “What then?”
I predict that Congress’s first order of business, before addressing the plight of the uninsured, will be to reinstate, as a stand-alone measure, the section of Obamacare that closes the so-called “Donut Hole” of the Medicare Part D prescription drug program.
The reason is simple. Congress—all of it, not just one party—is over-responsive to the demands of wealthy seniors. If and when they find out they’re going to be adversely affected by the overturning of Obamacare, seniors are going to raise holy hell. And since they were the bloc of voters most resistant to its passage, the appropriate response to the ensuing outcry should be the world’s tiniest violin—but it won’t be.
Another prediction. We’re going to see a sort of strange alchemy in the opinion trends of low-information independents. When they become aware of the fact that Obamacare contained not just spinach but sweets as well, their reaction will be as follows: “But ... but, I didn’t know that was in there!”
Conor Friedorsdorf sums it up nicely at the Atlantic:
Put simply, Americans want all the freedom of a market-based health insurance system, all the security of a system heavily regulated by government, and the option to put off purchasing this guaranteed insurance until it’s needed. And all for no more than they’re paying now. It seems whoever is in power will be doomed to disappoint.
All true—with the ever-thus exception of seniors, who want to continue enjoying the benefits of single-payer insurance (for me and not for thee), and for no more than they’re paying now. They’ll likely get their wish.
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