Three years after the enactment of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, or PPACA, we are beginning to suffer its painful consequences. Indeed, far from being “affordable,” the law is causing skyrocketing health insurance premium costs and forcing businesses around the country to cut back on employee hours, lay off workers or stop hiring altogether.
Far from offering protection, the law actually hurts those it presumably was intended to help. This includes the poor, who are among those who will suffer the most as they struggle to pay the skyrocketing premiums and find access to care, or be relegated to a failing Medicaid system. Likewise, the elderly and the young will be among those hurt by the law. America’s seniors will find themselves at the mercy of an unaccountable board of bureaucrats, the Independent Payment Advisory Board, which will make life and death decisions over their medical care, while the young will bear the burden of paying higher premiums and buying insurance laden with mandates they neither want nor need.
In June 2012, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a historic ruling on this law, which restrained the federal government’s power to coerce states to expand Medicaid. But the Court also upheld the insurance mandate penalty as a tax, which requires individuals to purchase a government-approved, private insurance policy under penalty of fine enforced by the Internal Revenue Service.
In the wake of this ruling, the fight to roll back the federal government’s takeover of health care continues on several fronts, with lawsuits pending around the country. These include a case challenging the penalty as an improper tax under the U.S. Constitution’s origination clause, cases challenging the law’s mandated benefits and a case challenging the Independent Payment Advisory Board as a violation of the U.S. Constitution’s separation of powers doctrine. Likewise, 33 states are saying no to funding PPACA health insurance exchanges, which are key to enforcing the individual mandate. Only nine states plus the District of Columbia have agreed to Medicaid expansion, which would expand an already failing system and strain, if not break, already cash-strapped state budgets.
PPACA has come to Illinois as well, most recently with the announcement of the establishment of a federal partnership insurance exchange, which will be key to enforcing the government’s individual mandate against Illinoisans and Illinois businesses. LJC is monitoring these developments and exploring ways to challenge PPACA and protect health care freedom in our state.
Diane Cohen is General Counsel at Liberty Justice Center