Court rules on the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act
The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that the Affordable Care Act is, in fact, constitutional. The Court has determined that all of the provisions of the controversial health care law are to be upheld. This includes the individual mandate provision that requires all U.S. citizens to purchase and maintain some form of health insurance coverage. The decision of the Court could have widespread political and economic implications. The effects of the law are expected to impact much more than the health insurance and medical industries.
Several benefits expected to come to consumers
For consumers, the health care law has a number of implications that will change the way they purchase health insurance and what policies they have access to. According to the Affordable Care Act, families with an average household income of $90,000 or higher will be able to purchase policies from health insurance exchanges at a subsidized rate. Those making $29,000 or less will qualify for insurance coverage under the Medicaid program. Preventative care, such as health screenings, will be available without out-of-pocket costs. Adults up to the age of 26 will also be able to receive coverage from their parent’s insurance policies.
Insurers and health care providers to work to adapt to the new health care law
The health care law is also expected to have a broad impact on both the insurance and medical industries. Insurers will no longer be able to deny coverage for those with pre-existing conditions. They must also spend the majority of the money their collect through premiums on improving medical care. Physicians and hospitals may be able to move away from the fee-for-service business model toward alternatives that could produce higher revenues or better service to patients. The health care industry is expected to be inundated with new patients, which could put stress on hospitals and health care professionals as they work to adapt to the changes produced by the health care law.
Court considers individual mandate a tax issue
The Supreme Court has determined that the most controversial provision of the health care law – the individual mandate – is to be considered a tax, thus is not subject to changes by the Court itself due to the commerce clause of the constitution. The health care law will go into full effect on January 1, 2014.
The Supreme Court has released a transcription of its opinion on the matter, which can be found here.