SCOTUS Obamacare, Arizona immigration rulings possible this week
By VICTORIA JONES
Talk Radio News Service
WASHINGTON – The Supreme Court is expected to rule before the end of June - possibly this week – on the healthcare law.
As it currently stands, the individual mandate takes effect in 2014, at the same time that the law would prohibit insurance companies from denying coverage to people with existing health problems – unless virtually all people join the insurance pool, the coverage guarantee would balloon costs.
Opponents say Congress overstepped its constitutional authority; the administration says the requirement’s permissible because it serves to regulate interstate commerce.
Most experts don’t really want the whole thing overturned – seniors with high prescription costs in Medicare’s “donut hole” could lose coverage worth $600 – now, for example.
Five scenarios are possible:
1. Mandate struck down, the rest stays. This could be very likely, and leaves a lot of things in place, like pre-existing conditions, donut hole, young adults on parents health plans – and a complete mess. Without the mandate, you can’t afford the pre-existing conditions, so people could see their premiums jump hugely and the young adults piece is covering 6.6 million people and is hugely popular. This will ultimately be hugely unpopular with the public once they figure out what it will mean that they lose.
2. Mandate goes down and so does pre-existing conditions. This is the Zombie Ruling. The law’s not dead, but lurching around with its arms stretched out and not alive either – doing damage to Obama leading up to the election.
3. The whole thing goes. Potentially good for Romney and bad for the White House in theory. But because there are parts of the law that are popular, it puts the onus on the House to pass legislation keeping the bits the public likes. However, the House is a House divided, so is that likely? Many Republicans don’t agree with it – Rick Santorum, for example, believes people with pre-existing conditions should pay more
4. Law is upheld. This is not necessarily good for Obama, because the Democrats have done a lousy jobs of convincing even Democratic voters that the law’s a good idea
5. SCOTUS punts. They decide it’s too soon to rule.
UnitedHealthCare, the nation’s largest insurer says whatever the outcome of the court decision, it will keep in place preventive health care without co pays or out of pocket charges, adult children on parents plans, and the more streamlined appeals process.
The court, as early as this week, could also rule on Arizona’s controversial immigration law. It is
SCOTUS – ARIZONA’S CONTROVERSIAL IMMIGRATION LAW* Ruling expected before the end looking at the 2010 law on only the question of whether Arizona’s attempt to fix its border problems is trumped by federal law. That means opponents could still ask the courts to block enforcement of the law on other grounds.
The justices aren’t considering the possibility that racial profiling might arise from the law.
Based on skeptical questions posed by the justices, legal experts expect the court will uphold the requirement that police check the immigration status of people they stop for other reasons – that provision’s now on hold pending a ruling. A decision in favor could clear the way for other states to enforce immigration check requirements and play a larger role in immigration enforcement. Five other states have similar laws – Alabama, Georgia, Indiana, South Caroline and Utah.
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