Rather than a pocket guide to the Supreme Court ruling (it did accomplish that, sort of) [Rusthoven, July 9], this is a pocket guide to the laboriously crafted Republican response to the Supreme Court ruling on the Affordable Care Act. The main thrust is that the health reform process—now proceeding across the country and with some vigor in many states—is to be labeled primarily as a tax hike. That an IRS-enforced tax penalty of about $600 that will probably apply to less than 2 percent of taxpayers can be transformed into an Obama (general?) tax increase, shows the lengths those folks will go to fracture reality.
Here is the further substance of the ruling:
(1) Congress does have the power to regulate the insurance industry to not deny coverage (that was not at issue, but is true nevertheless).
(2) That regulation requires virtually all individuals be insured to prevent adverse selection overwhelming those regulated insurance firms when they offer insurance to all comers.
(3) The tax penalty is an inducement for individuals to purchase coverage in a regulated market where there will be more transparency for purchases and identical market prices for each region for everyone. This penalty will offset the health care costs of the uninsured population that will be much reduced as more people are able to and consent to buy insurance.
We should encourage our state government leaders to get busy implementing the health insurance exchange frameworks so that Indiana can have a part to play in its design and operation. Several other states that brought suits against the Affordable Care Act however are already implementing insurance exchanges because they like the idea! Many other states are also enthusiastically implementing the insurance exchanges as well as other provisions. Indiana has implemented only baby steps.
David J. Weinschrott,
research director, Prodev Associates Ltd.