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The Obamacare Individual Mandate Ruling – What it Really Means

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of
AP Photo/Andrew Harnik

Now that an appellate court has upheld a U.S. District judge’s finding that the individual mandate in the Affordable Care Act (ACA), otherwise known as Obamacare, is unconstitutional, expect the Democrats' hysteria machine to be fired up and working overtime. They’ll portray millions of Americans as instantly losing their health insurance and ply the airwaves with sob story after sob story decrying evil Republicans and their plot to deny Americans the medical care they need. 

The problem is none of what they’re claiming is based in reality. There will be no immediate change to the law or to the insurance of those who hold ACA policies. The 5th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals’ decision will likely set the stage for yet another Supreme Court fight in 2020, which will change nothing while the process plays itself out. Any action from Congress or President Trump will take time to be implemented. Democrats will attempt to scare people into thinking that they will now be directly thrown off their health insurance plans as a result of the ruling and this is simply not true.

Consider this case with the perspective that the Affordable Care Act failed to fix a broken health care system and, in many ways, made it worse. While the court’s opinion correctly focused solely on the ACA being unconstitutional, the fact is that only 22% of Americans with Obamacare plans said they were satisfied with their policies in 2017. In fact, both Republicans and Democrats acknowledge that a better solution is needed. Even presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders, who voted for the ACA, calls the system a failure.

The Trump Administration has already acted and initiated solutions to strengthen Medicare, increase transparency, reduce surprise billing and decrease the cost of prescription drugs by authorizing the approval of more generic medications.

The good news is this ruling forces action on health care reform. Republicans are currently working on practical solutions to keep and build on what’s working in communities across the country and fix what’s not working. These reforms include guaranteed coverage safety nets to protect those with pre-existing conditions, freedom to choose your own doctor, expanded health savings accounts and flexible and innovative plan designs to fit personal needs.

Democrats, on the other hand, keep pushing the radical and disruptive Medicare for All scheme that damages doctor-patient relationships and burdens Americans with one-size-fits-all health care. It would destroy employer-based health insurance and obliterate the popular Medicare Advantage program. It would also leave Americans with gigantic tax increases to fund this folly. It’s clear that the Democrat solution to health care reform is more government intrusion and even less freedom.

The private sector is now anticipating the freedom to develop competing policies without the regulatory weight of Obamacare. Ultimately, the last dying gasps of the ACA allows the free market to do what it does best – innovate the way to affordable health care.

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