Critics grow louder as Obamacare premiums soar
The opposition to the Affordable Care Act (ACA) or Obamacare, is set to grow even more fierce, as reports indicate that insurance premiums are averaging at 25%. The rising costs have not only cost the ACA exchange valuable customers, it has also become political ammo for Republican Donald Trump. He said "Repealing Obamacare and stopping Hillary's health care takeover" is one of his priorities.
Obamacare is the unofficial name for the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (the Affordable Care Act) which was signed into a law by President Barack Obama in 2010. Obamacare mandated that every American had to purchase health insurance and provided subsidies to those who could not afford it. Moreover, those who did not buy insurance would be fined under the 'individual mandate' system.
Fining a person for not doing something or the "individual mandate" of Obamacare was termed unconstitutional by the Republicans. They argued that the government does not have the power to do such a thing.
The Supreme Court upheld President Obama's health law, saying its requirement that most Americans obtain insurance or pay a penalty was authorized owing to Congress' power to levy taxes. The vote was 5 to 4, with Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. joining the court's four more liberal members. The court limited the law's expansion of Medicaid, the federal-state health program.
Republicans argued that in order to get the money to help insure tens of millions, new taxes will be levied on Americans (mostly on high-earners and health-care industry) making Obamacare an unfair deal. Based on the system of 'individual mandate' those who miss the Federal Poverty Level (used to qualify people for insurance assistance) are hit the hardest as they don't qualify for assistance.
The Affordable Care Act pledged to assist states with extra federal cash to make them amplify their Medicaid programs. In states where Medicaid had expanded to provide "free or low cost health coverage", it was to be made accessible to people with earnings below a certain level regardless of family status, disability, financial backing and other aspects that are generally taken into consideration.
Medicaid is a plan conceived by the federal government, but executed by the state to "provide payment for medical services for low-income citizens."
The US Supreme Court has retained a key chunk of President Barack Obama's health-care law which safeguards health insurance for millions of Americans and is popularly known as Obamacare. In a 6-3 decision, the justices said that tax subsidies that make health insurance economical for low-income individuals can continue. Republicans have pledged to continue fighting the law.
Stocks of hospitals and insurance companies like Humana and United Health Group rose following the Obamacare ruling that upheld a core part of the health-care law. News of Aetna's (the second most valuable US health insurer) acquisition of Humana Inc further gave the stocks a second push. Top winners included HCA Holdings, LifePoint Health, Tenet Healthcare and Universal Health Services.
After five years of negotiations to block the Obamacare program, the congressional Republicans succeeded in sending the legislation to US President Barack Obama's desk to repeal his landmark health-care law. Obama is expected to veto the measure, which passed the Senate last month under special rules that prevented Democrats from blocking it. Republicans hailed it as a hard-fought victory against the 'repressive' policy.