Next March, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear the challenge by 26 states and the National Federation of Independent Business to the constitutionality of the Patient Protection and Affordability Act, better known as Obamacare. A ruling is expected by mid-summer.
Although many provisions don’t kick in until 2014, this 2,700-page mess is already giving America’s health care system a bad cold, which will morph into pneumonia if the law is not overturned. A few of the symptoms have already emerged:
Adding costs -- Some doctors are now charging patients extra fees for basic services such as processing forms. Without malpractice tort reform, which Obamacare rejected, doctors are facing higher insurance fees themselves along with anticipated bureaucratic regulatory costs.
Reducing coverage -- Faced with a mandate to ignore pre-existing conditions, insurance companies have dropped child-only coverage.
Hiking premiums -- Health insurance premiums have risen across the board by an average of 9 percent in 2011, according to the Henry J. Kaiser Foundation, with Obamacare accounting for about 20 percent of that increase. Costs are slated to rise annually under Obamacare. In 2014, a new tax on full private health coverage plans kicks in, raising costs another few percentage points. President Obama’s promise during an interview with the AARP in July 2009 that, “If you are happy with the health care you’ve got, then keep it” should become the signature punch line for late night comedians.
Enriching D.C. firms -- An army of lobbyists has made millions hounding Washington law makers, and the lobbying continues. In 2009 and 2010, 1,251 organizations reported that they had employed lobbyists for and against various provisions of Obamacare, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.
Violating federalism -- More than half the states are in open rebellion, with many refusing to create federally mandated state exchanges and 27 states (the 26 plus Virginia in another case) suing the federal government.