Guest post from Ashwin Madia.
The U.S. Supreme Court will hear arguments regarding the constitutionality of The Patient Care and Affordable Care Act in March 2012. The Affordable Care Act stands as President Obama’s signature domestic achievement, promising affordable health insurance to every American. Congress narrowly passed the statute in March 2010 after a heated national debate. Opponents quickly filed suit to have key provisions declared unconstitutional.
Of the four federal appellate courts to rule thus far, three have upheld the law in its entirety while one declared the Act’s key provision—the individual mandate—unconstitutional. This post will discuss the background and important provisions of the Act, key arguments on both sides of its constitutionality, and what will likely prove to be the most important factor in the Supreme Court’s ultimate decision.
A recent study published in the American Journal of Medicine (PDF) reviewing personal bankruptcies found that medical bills contributed to 62.1% of all bankruptcies in 2007; 92% of these debtors had medical debts over $5,000. The rest met criteria for bankruptcy because they had lost significant income due to illness, or mortgaged a home to pay medical bills.
While that is not too suprising, what is interesting is that most medical debtors were well educated, owned homes, and had middle-class occupations. Three quarters had health insurance.
Former Cigna executive Wendell Potter says the insurance industry is playing dirty in an effort to manipulate public opinion. He said “I know from personal experience that members of Congress and the public have good reason to question the honesty and trustworthiness of the insurance industry.”
Whistle-blower: Health care industry engaging in PR tactics | CNN
Wendell Potter’s Blog | Center for Media and Democracy