Obama's Affordable Health Care Act
Now that the United States Supreme Court has ruled that President Obama's Affordable Health Care Act is of legal standing, it will be interesting to see what changes will be made to the sweeping legislation. There is no doubt that hospital owners want the government to reduce the $155 billion in health care payment cuts they agreed to during negotiations over the law. In addition, medical device makers will ask that the 2.3 percent tax on their sales gets rolled back. Meanwhile, insurance companies will want more leeway to charge older people higher rates than younger customers.
Anyway we look at this bill, there will be changes made through lobbyists and amendments proposed by lawmakers. In fact, President Obama and his staff have basically told lobby groups that changes can and will be made to the law that was signed in 2010 so long as federal officials are able to write new regulations that spell out new provisions and how they can be implemented.
As it stands now, the health care reform law will raise employers' insurance costs by about two percent a year as a variety of fees and taxes are collected starting in 2013 and 2014. In addition, a special tax to fund research on the effectiveness of treatments will double next year and will remain in place until 2018.
The question of whether the new health care law is imposing a tax on Americans who don't buy health insurance could get a little messy. Republican Presidential candidate Mitt Romney agrees with President Obama that those who don't buy health insurance under the new law are not paying a tax. However, it is clear to me that those who don't buy health insurance for themselves and/or their employees will certainly be paying a penalty and thus will be taxed accordingly.
Supreme Court Justice John Roberts claimed in his decision that upheld the law that the penalty for not obtaining insurance resembles a tax and thus falls within Congress's right to impose taxes. For whatever reason, Romney has agreed with his competitor to not agree with Judge Roberts' decision, probably because the law as it stands now looks very similar to what he approved as the governor of Massachusetts.
Either way, changes will be made to the new Affordable Health Care Act. Unfortunately, since our representatives in Washington,D.C., haven't been able to agree on anything of late, there is a good chance that the legislation will never resemble what it looks like now. That could be good or bad, depending on what side of the aisle you sit on.