Wednesday, April 4, 2012

The Health Care Law Is Not All That Unpopular – California May Implement It If U. S. Law is Struck Down

Finally Recognizing that Voters May Actually Like the Law Once They Know About It

There is widespread concern that a Conservative majority of the Supreme Court, a bloc that often votes their policy preferences rather than the law will overturn not just the requirement to buy health insurance but all of the health care reform law.  In that event Americans will suddenly find that they didn’t hate the law all that much. 

For example, the charge that the law infringes on individual freedom is largely bogus.  The individual freedom that the law restricts is the freedom not to have health care insurance, a freedom that an overwhelming majority of Americans not only do not use today, but a freedom they really don’t want.  Vote to eliminate Medicare and see how hard it is to get re-elected. 

The real freedom that the health care law restricts is the freedom to stick the insured and the government with the health care cost of the uninsured.  This is what lead Mitt Romney to insist on the requirement for health insurance in Massachusetts, but Mr. Romney has since said Massachusetts is not necessarily the model for the nation (after he said it should be, but who’s counting Mitt’s turnarounds).  Of course the “free rider” problem is not restricted to any state.

The average California family with coverage pays an additional $1,400 in premiums annually to cover the costs of the uninsured, according to the California Endowment, a private foundation focused on health issues.

Even if the whole law is scrapped nationally, many of its consumer protections, such as guaranteed coverage for children, are expected to survive in California

And yes, keeping parts of the law would mean keeping the mandate.

There's already legislation pending in Sacramento to further implement the federal overhaul, and those proposals could become the vehicle for a state substitute. Crucial to that effort, supporters say, would be ensuring all Californians purchase health coverage in order to spread the risk and lower costs for everyone.

Of course, what would not happen is the expansion of health care coverage to low income individuals, because without federal funding the state (and all the other states) would just not have the resources to provide that coverage.

But a massive expansion of coverage for the poor and the uninsured would be doubtful without tens of billions of dollars in federal aid.

But that’s okay, because the reason poor people cannot afford health care is because they are building huge mansions, with underground garages and elevators for their cars.  No wait, that’s Mitt Romney.

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