Here we go again. Get ready for another Supreme Court ruling on the Affordable Care Act following a controversial development in which two federal courts reached opposite conclusions concerning dubious wording revolving around the legality of subsidies that help millions of low and middle income people pay their premiums. Adding that financial aid can be paid only in states that have set up their own insurance markets (Missouri does not have its own insurance exchange).
Now if you understand all that, then you should be writing this column instead of me.
The White House said not to panic for policy holders will continue to get financial aid until all of this is resolved. Probably in a few years.
So, how do enrollment numbers look? Not good – for Republicans and their 54 attempts to derail the ACA. Before the 2010 ACA went into effect, there were 47 million Americans uninsured including 834,000 Missourians.
Today, various tracking sources show that from 20 million to 29 million now have health insurance. The government’s website reports that at the end of the first annual open enrollment period 8 more million people nationwide bought insurance. Of that number 152,335 Missourians selected a marketplace plan.
While some people do face insurance premium hikes, overall health insurance rates are down 13.4 percent for adults, the lowest level since 2008. Further, the insurance companies have paid back nearly $340 million in rebates to policy holders because of the federal rule mandating that they spend at least 80 cents on the dollar on health costs.
Most polls indicate consumers are against the ACA yet many who oppose the law say it doesn’t go far enough and there should be a single-payer program instead. A CNN poll reports 18 percent of respondents say they are better off while 35 percent said they saw the lives of others improved.
The latest challenge revolves around what plaintiffs call a “single, sloppily” written paragraph showing Congress intended to deny subsidies to those buying insurance on exchanges the federal government listed. Democrats say they never would put in language that would derail their our own bill.
Some 29 million American ACA enrollees, plus more signing up each enrollment season, will be affected by a Supreme Court decision. Hopefully, before President Obama leaves office. Meanwhile, the GOP House racked up attempt number 55.
I give you President John Adams’ toast: Independence forever
Jerry Plantz lives in Lee’s Summit. His website is at www.Jerryplantz.com. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.