Critical Condition

Supreme Court Health-Care Decision: It Is Not Over

The recent Supreme Court decision may be a disappointment. Many thought the justices would strike the law in its entirety and end this bad dream for the country now. Unfortunately that did not happen. But there is more to come.

The law remains unworkable, unaffordable, and bad health-care policy. It straps the American people with higher taxes and higher premiums and more spending and more deficits. It also breaks the many promises made by President Obama, including keeping the coverage you like, not adding to the deficit, protecting Medicare, and not increasing taxes or premiums on middle-class families.

The House of Representatives has scheduled another vote on full repeal of the health-care law, putting the decision in the hands of the Democrat-controlled Senate.

In addition, there are the 23 lawsuits representing more than 50 organizations relating to the highly polarizing HHS mandate requiring religious employers to provide coverage of abortion-inducing drugs, contraception, and sterilization, regardless of religious or moral objections. These suits challenge the constitutionality of the law relating to religious freedom. This benefit mandate is just the first of many more controversial decisions likely to come out of the administration relating to the essential-benefit package.

Furthermore, as 2013 nears, there are the existing Obamacare taxes that will take effect. Notably, there will be the $210 billion raised by increasing the Medicare payroll tax from 2.9 percent to 3.8 percent and expanding the tax to investment income. While on the surface this tax appears to only impact those individuals with incomes above $200,000 and above $250,000 for couples, that threshold is not indexed to inflation. So, like the AMT, more people will face this tax in the years to come. 

Finally, the election. The American people have been consistent in their opposition to the health care. The Court’s decision will likely not impact American’s long-settled views that health reform based on the premise on more government, more regulations, and more mandates is the wrong way to solve the country’s health-care problems.

— Nina Owcharenko is Director of the Center for Health Policy Studies and the Preston A. Wells Jr. Fellow at the Heritage Foundation.

Nina Owcharenko — Nina Owcharenko is a senior policy analyst for health care at the Heritage Foundation's Center for Health Policy Studies.

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