The Supreme Court decision to hear challenges to the legality of giving subsidies to families and individuals who signed up for ObamaCare through federal exchanges could lead to the de facto repeal of the program. And, with the Republican victory in the midterm elections, the next step could be the passage of the Republican version of ObamaCare — an excellent piece of legislation that the country will happily accept.
The Republican alternative to ObamaCare, passed by the House but, obviously, never brought up for a vote in the Democratic Senate, provides for tax credit subsidies for all who need them to buy health insurance and incorporates the basic consumer protections embedded in the Affordable Care Act. Insurers cannot discriminate based on pre-existing conditions under the GOP bill nor can they either terminate coverage or raise rates when their customers become ill.
But the Republican alternative eliminates the coercive aspects of ObamaCare. Nobody has to buy insurance nor does any employer have to offer it. And those who do purchase insurance can get as much or as little coverage as they want. One size will no longer attempt to fit all.
A particularly important provision of the bill extends Medicare coverage to those who are sickest with the highest medical bills, so the government pays for all their costs.
Would Obama veto the Republican bill?
Much as his veto pen will be itching to do so, he really won’t be able to use it. Once ObamaCare subsidies are struck down by the Supreme Court, seven million or more Americans will be out of health insurance entirely. Most will have once had adequate policies for which they paid themselves, only to find that Washington forced cancellation of their policies and made them buy insurance on the federal exchanges. Having gotten more coverage, at a higher cost, than they could either afford or need, they became dependent on the federal subsidies the court will have just thrown out.
Obama and the Republican Congress will have a moral and political imperative to restore their coverage. They and most of America will approve of the Republican alternative and Obama will be unable to veto it with the presidential elections looming.
So the ObamaCare saga will have had a happy ending with a good bill filling a gap in our healthcare coverage. And all the wrangling will seem to have been so unnecessary.
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