Opponents of the Affordable Care Act who believe the Supreme Court will declare the law unconstitutional are going to be disappointed next year when a majority of the nine justices vote to uphold it. It will likely be a 5-4 decision, but moderate conservative Anthony Kennedy will, I’m confident, recognize that without the law, the free-market system of health insurance, so highly valued by conservatives, will implode, sooner rather than later.
The high court announced earlier this week that it will hear oral arguments on the constitutionality of the law next March. A decision is expected in June, just a few weeks before the parties hold their conventions. Regardless of which way the justices go, the decision will ensure that health care reform will be as contentious a campaign issue as it was in 2008.
Here’s the reality. The provision of Obamacare at the heart of the constitutional challenge — the requirement that all Americans will have to buy health insurance if they’re not eligible for a public plan like Medicare or Medicaid — is a “must have” for the nation’s health insurance industry.
The plaintiffs who filed the lawsuits, including the attorneys general of 26 states, either haven’t been paying attention to what’s been happening in the private insurance market or have chosen to ignore it because of blind allegiance to ideology.
The indisputable fact is that our employment-based system of private health insurance has been crumbling for years — to the point that potential new business for health insurers is, for all practical purposes, nonexistent. And ironically, it is their practices and policies, made necessary by profit-hungry shareholders, that have led to this state of affairs.