(PRWEB) June 30, 2012
The Supreme Court's upholding of the ACA may be a political triumph for President Obama, but the effects on the health and financial well-being of average Americans is still uncertain at best.
In its 5-4 ruling, the high court found a way to solve the problem of the constitutionality of the mandate by removing it from the Commerce Clause and allowing it to stand if the fee for not buying insurance is assessed as a tax, rather than a penalty. Justice John Roberts, not Justice Kennedy as expected, was the decider in the decision. The Chief Justice made it clear in his opinion that the Court was not endorsing the "wisdom" of the law.
“It’s too bad Democrats in Congress didn’t support the public option like they have the mandate,” said Sue Saltmarsh, Chief Organizer of the Demonstration for Universal Healthcare (DUH), set to take place on the National Mall on October 6, 2012. “With this ruling, and with so much of the implementation of the ACA still up in the air, people will be forced to spend money on ‘basic’ insurance that may only restrict their access to care due to high co-pays, deductibles, and uncovered costs.”
For Saltmarsh, constitutionality has never been the issue, but rather the quality of the product people will be forced to buy. Though the law requires that all plans offered on exchanges meet the minimum standards of providing “essential health benefits,” defining exactly what those benefits are has been unsuccessful thus far.
“Republicans like to talk about the ‘free market’ offering choices to consumers,” says Saltmarsh, “but for millions like me, the ‘choices’ offered are ‘Sophie’s choices’—between food and healthcare, housing and healthcare, child care and healthcare—and the only way to eliminate that hardship is to remove profit motive from the picture.”
What happens next is uncertain. The Court might have done better to strike down the entire law, since other key provisions, like the expansion of Medicaid and the coverage of adults with pre-existing conditions, will be difficult, if not impossible, to implement, given Congress’ obsession with budget-cutting and many states’ decimation of Medicaid already.
For supporters of President Obama who are also advocates of single-payer healthcare, the next steps are clear. “First, we must work to get President Obama re-elected,” says Saltmarsh. “Next, we must clear Congress of all rigid ideologues and obstructionists who are controlled by corporate money and give him a Congress that he can work with. Finally, we the people, must give him the proof he needs that we want Medicare for All and the backup he’ll need to push it through. As the great John Lewis said in 1963 during the civil rights march on Washington, ‘We all realize that if any radical social, political, and economic changes are to be made in our society, it is the people, the masses, that must bring them about.’ That’s what DUH is all about.”
To learn more about the Demonstration for Universal Healthcare, or to join in DUH, go to http://www.duh4all.org.