SCOTUS And The Affordable Care Act: An Overview

The internet is abuzz with talk of the Affordable Care Act. Two Mondays in a row, eager newsmakers have been gearing up to pounce on a Supreme Court decision only to find it won’t be announced… just yet. With a complicated piece of legislation facing a confusing series of legal challenges, trying to understand the situation can lead to some serious eye crossing.

I used two charts describing the possible outcomes of the Supreme Court ruling on Thursday — one is from the Brookings Institute, another from Kaiser Health News — to make my own, slightly less confusing, chart:

There are a lot of great resources out there if you want to know more. PBS worked with Kaiser Health News to better understand the impact of this ruling on a few different demographics.  Here are a few articles from their series:

What’s at Stake for Medicaid:

If struck down, Medicaid itself could be deemed unconstitutional. This would create radical changes, since “medicaid is the workhourse of the nation’s health system, covering 30 percent of all children, 70 percent of nursing home residents and 40 percent of all deliveries,” reports Phil Galewitz.

If upheld, many more people would become eligible for Medicaid. The federal government would assume much of the additional costs initially, slowly transferring 10 percent of that burden to states by 2019.

What’s at Stake for Seniors:

If struck down, “49 million Medicare beneficiaries could lose a variety of benefits that have already kicked in,” writes Marilyn Werber Serafini. These include prescription savings, preventative services, and wellness visits. However, if only the individual mandate is struck down, “nearly all of the health law’s Medicare changes will remain intact.”

What’s at Stake for Women:

“Even excluding maternity coverage, the National Women’s Law Center found that nearly one-third of the most commonly sold insurance plans charged women aged 25 to 40 at least 30 percent more than men for the same coverage,” writes Julie Appleby. The ACA would bar insurers from charging women higher premiums than men. Other provisions include requirements regarding maternity coverage, and removing copays for mammograms and contraceptives.

PBS and Kaiser Health have also written What’s at Stake for Patients, and A Consumer’s Guide to the Health Care Reform Law. The latter parses out which provisions of the ACA are already in place, and which provisions will be enacted in 2014, if the law is upheld by the Supreme Court.

Stay tuned for more coverage of the Affordable Care Act decision and its implications for New Hampshire.


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