Unintended Side Effects of Not Having Obamacare

Originally posted on www.moderndaypearls.com.

The Supreme Court is expected to make its decision about the constitutionality of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) any day now (is anyone else waiting with bated breath?).  As I'm sure we've all heard, there are many, many, many provisions in the law that could potentially be struck down: the individual mandate, whether Congress surpassed its authority, the requirement that insurance companies cover pre-existing conditions, etc.

Opponents of the law may be surprised to be disappointed with the after-effects if some provisions are deemed unconstitutional.  Newly insured Americans under the Medicaid expansion will no longer have health insurance coverage.  Insurance companies will be able to once again charge women 50% more for the same coverage as men (for examples of premium differences, check out my comparisons here).  People with pre-existing conditions will find themselves back in the world of having few if any options for (exorbitantly priced) policies.  And all of those "keep the government out of my Medicare" vocalists out there will surely be disappointed if they have high prescription drug costs and lose the hundreds of dollars in discounts they receive under the PPACA.

Regardless of what is decided by the Supreme Court, political battles will continue to rage on regarding health care in the U.S.  Health care costs are still too high, and health outcomes for this country are still too low.  The people who may be most impacted if the Supreme Court strikes down some or all of the PPACA, however, are young twentysomethings who have continued to be covered under their parents' health insurance plans, even if they are not full-time students or dependents for tax purposes.  As you may recall, one of the first components of the PPACA to be implemented was allowing young adults to stay insured on their parents' plans until they reach the age of 26.  Young adults have had the highest rates of uninsurance of any age group, and no, it's not because they're lazy or are risk-takers or cheap.  Recent college graduates face record rates of unemployment, and combined with high housing costs and skyrocketing student loan debts, this lack of access to employer-provided health insurance results in this age group being uninsured.

In my opinion, any opposition to this provision of the PPACA is bogus.  Extending young adults' coverage on their parents plans does not incur high costs to taxpayers, it is rational, and it is an effective solution to an increasingly common problem.

Millions of young adults who are currently covered under their parents' health insurance policies as a result of the PPACA, which in many cases was their only option.  These twentysomethings most likely sought coverage through their parents' plans because they had a pre-existing condition and could not afford necessary coverage, they could not find full-time employment for some period time after graduating from college, or their employers did not offer health insurance benefits (or some combination of the three).  Regardless, should the Supreme Court declare this provision unconstitutional, then these young adults will find themselves in the unfortunate situation of trying to find private health insurance that will be affordable and that health insurance companies will agree to provide them (if you haven't had to do this, trust me, it's unpleasant to say the least).  Either criteria will be difficult to meet.

What do you think?  Are you nervous about the upcoming ruling?  Are you affected by any of the provisions in the PPACA?  What will you do if any or all of the law is struck down?

Photo Attribution:

Ambulance Photo:  By Mister Falcon (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (www.creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0) or GFDL (www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html)], via Wikimedia Commons

Affordable Health Care for America Photo:  Leader Nancy Pelosi via Flickr


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