The forecast calls for cooler nights and warmer days for the early spring. The residents of the Jersey Shores are still suffering from the affects of Hurricane Sandy as Governor Chris Christi hunkers down to address some of the political spill overs from “BridgeGate” and “Oil-Gate” not to mention those iconic photos of this darling upcoming Republican conservative embraced with President Barack Obama. We remember Governor Christi and President Obama as they met to discuss federal help for the victims of Hurricane Sandy and the “photo ops” many felt cost Candidate Mitt Romney the presidential election of 2012.
We also remember the political fall out from the roll out of “Obamacare” also know as the Affordable Care Act, the President’s signature legislation and the center piece of his legacy. We remember “repeal”, then “repeal and replace” and the more than forty different efforts by our highly paid congressional leaders to overturn “Obamacare”. So were the clouds of doubt back then and so continue the clouds of doubt now as Hurricane Obama meet the Supreme Court, Congress, and the President for the final showdown. Four little words, “established by the state” and what these words mean, will either make or break what has become known as “Obamacare.”
The AP storyline by Kelli Kennedy, dated 03/05/2015 reads,” States on edge about the future of health insurance markets”. Old habits die hard as I read the story but immediately went to the photo to see the AP Photo credit. It was Seth Perlman, whom I know and had worked with “years ago” back in my roll as a “photo-stringer” for AP. Perlman coverers the Springfield-Decatur area of Illinois, The photo shows a man named John Phillips at work at his auto repair shop that he owns in Decatur. Phillips, according to the story reveals that he is no fan on President Barack Obama’s health care law but says “he is worried about the outcome of a U.S. Supreme Court Decision”. You see, Phillips and his wife, like many other Americans receives a subsidy that enables them to “afford “( like in the “Affordable Care Act”) healthcare. The case, King v. Burell will be ruled upon probably sometime this summer. In a nut shell it is about the “state exchanges and the federal exchanges and the tax credits and subsidies associated with the Affordable Care Act. Sixteen states and the District of Columbia created state health exchanges while 34 states refused to establish state exchange, hence the federal exchanges, ie, www Healthcare.Gov. Enrollees in the state and federal exchanges both qualify for the tax credit and hence subsidies for health care. The plaintiff has alleged only enrollees of exchanges established by the states can receive the credit and not all fifty states as the administration and the Affordable Care Act allegedly calls for. Millions of Americans could lose their health care if the Supreme Court ruled against the tax credit going to enrollees in all fifty states and the District of Columbia.
Changing gears, let’s down shift to paying as little as $10 and as high as $10,169 for the same blood test known as a lipid panel test. If your doctor wants a medical assessment regarding the possibility of you having high or low cholesterol levels, the lipid panel test is frequently ordered. The headline by Vox Media ,reads,”A $10,169 blood test is everything wrong with America health care”, as written by Sarah Kliff on March 10, 2015. The story is based upon the work of Renee Hsia, an associate professor at University of California, San Francisco who published the data in her study. Hsia and her associates compiled data from more than 100 hospitals in California. According to the article they compared the cost of a basic blood test, hence the variations in prices for the lipid panel as low as $10 and as high as $10,169. It should be noted that the nation’s hospitals and medical insurance industries have a lot to gain if “all” Americans, the well, the sick, the young and the old, have health care.
I am always amazed and perplexed when reviewing the cost of medical services I have received when my health care plans kicks in. Frequently the items charges read something like this; Amount Billed $852.00; Discount $598.25; What your plan paid, $228.39; What I owe $25.36; You saved 97%. These are exact categories and figures but review your own itemized statements for medical services and you will get the drift. The “kicker” is if you have any kind of health care, prices are negotiated and you do not get completely fleeced by the health care system, but without healthcare, you are responsible for the entire amount.
Back to the political forcast. Remember all those red states” that refused to establish a state health care exchange. Health care enrollees had to go to the “federal healthcare exchanges’ to access health care under the Affordable Care Act to qualify for a tax credit and subsidy. A “subsidy” so they now could afford to have health care like their congressional leaders and federal government workers receive, including the nine Supreme Court Justices wearing black robes who will make a decision in King v. Burwell. The Supreme Court will decide the fate of consumers in no less than 30 states that uses the federal market-place or health exchange to see if it is constitutional for them to receives tax credits that helps pay for the coverage. I could go on but by now you may be hearing that roaring sound of a train running through your house, the walls are shaking and it seems like your are experiencing a tornado, a hurricane and a “Barack-Attack” all at the same time. The lighting is flashing and the thunder is roaring. The economic system, this time not the Dred Scott Decision, but the “dreded” health care system where one out of ever six dollars spent in the economy is on health care related issues is in front of the highest court in the land. Just one man or one woman can and will make a decision that will be felt economically around the world, not just in America. Millions of American some with pre-existing conditions may have to return back to the ranks of the un-insured as Obamacare could finally be repeal, or, repeal and replaced. After the storm, if the Supreme Court rule the tax credits are unconstitutional ,healthcare will be “Un-Affordable” again as the poor pay $10,169 for a blood test and the rich pays $10. Hmmm…