News Politics

What’s At Stake in the Court’s Affordable Care Act Decision

Robin Marty

With a new law on the books that says customers cannot be turned down for insurance coverage regardless of pre-existing conditions, the 2012 election could determine the fate of millions of Americans with illnesses and disabilities.

The U.S. Supreme Court is expected to soon provide a ruling on the challenge by 26 states who claim the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) requirement that every American either purchase health insurance or pay a fee is a unconstitutional.  While most wait to see if the court will uphold, strike down part or reject all of President Barack Obama’s key health reform bill, Obama himself seems to be planning contingencies already.

Bloomberg News reports that Obama has begun telling potential donors at fundraising events that there is a chance that the bill will have to be revisited in his second term in office, depending on the court’s decision. 

As he previewed his agenda for donors at a May 14 fundraiser, Obama said he may be forced to try to revise parts of his health-care plan, depending on how the court rules later this month, said one activist, who requested anonymity to discuss the president’s comments. Guests at the $35,800-a-plate dinner in the Manhattan apartment of Blackstone Group LP (BX) President Tony James were asked to check their smart phones and BlackBerries at the door.

The president has made similar remarks, usually in response to questions, at other fundraising events since the Supreme Court heard arguments in the case during the last week of March, according to two other activists, who also requested anonymity.

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The admission, if true, adds yet another piece to the myriad of issues that could be decided after the 2012 election, when what limited effects the ACA has already had since its implementation could be immediately rolled back.

Republican nominee Mitt Romney has also begun to focus on health care, releasing a web ad that talks about his wife Ann’s struggle with Multiple Sclerosis and his vow to support her in any way he could during her illness. The video, which also requests donations to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, is being touted by media as an attempt to show his “softer side” and “humanize” him.

However, as writer Erin Kotecki Vest comments, it makes for good television, but not such great policy. Vest, who also is under treatment for an auto-immune disorder, writes:

Unfortunately it doesn’t say a word about what ‘President’ Romney would do for people like Ann and I. Not one. Single. Word.

What we do know is candidate Mitt would repeal the Affordable Care Act– the groundbreaking legislation that would make sure my and Ann’s disease would not mean we’d lose our insurance coverage, or making sure there is an end to lifetime limits of benefits.

Vest notes that the very group that the Romney’s are soliciting donations on behalf of is a supporter of the Affordable Care Act due to the advantages it creates for those who have the disease, a fact that Romney leaves out of any discussion of his wife’s illness.

The Supreme Court is expected to deliver its ruling on the individual mandate by the end of June.

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