UPDATE: Health Care Reform Challenges
The landscape of health care reform advocacy has changed drastically in the last few days. As an advocate and health care consumer, here's what you need to know:
- U.S. district judge sides with 26 states, rules health care law unconstitutional: Monday's news that Judge Roger Vinson ruled unconstitutional the law's individual mandate--the requirement that all individuals purchase health insurance--was not that surprising given his comments during oral arguments. However, his second point that the entire law should fall if an appeals court agrees with him sent shockwaves through the news wires. Ultimately, the U.S. Supreme Court is expected to hear the last appeal; NPR, Politico and CNN all offered analyses of how the nine justices might decide the case.
- Despite judge's ruling, implementation will continue: Like Judge Henry Hudson, who also ruled the individual mandate unconstitutional in December, Judge Vinson allowed implementation to continue while the Obama administration appeals Monday's decision. Some states have indicated they will slow down their preparation for setting up state insurance exchanges, which the law requires to be operational by 2014, but benefits that have already gone into effect, such as the provision allowing young adults to remain on their parents' health plans until age 26, are safe for now.
- Senate rejects repeal of health care reform: The vote to repeal health care reform (through an amendment to an aviation bill) failed by a party-line vote of 51-47 (not all Senators were present). The vote was expected to fail and considered largely symbolic. A bipartisan majority of Senators did, however, support the repeal of a revenue-raising provision in the bill: a requirement that businesses fill out a 1099 form for every purchase exceeding $600, beginning in January 2012. The repeal of this reporting requirement does not affect any benefits provided by the health care reform law, nor does it change the Congressional Budget Office's finding that the law would ultimately save money.
As opponents of health care reform continue to challenge this landmark law, your voices are needed more than ever. In addition to calling and e-mailing your elected officials from our Chai Impact Action Center, you can also sign a petition expressing your opposition to repeal, sign up for our Weekly Legislative Updates to track the progress of repeal legislation, and visit our health care issue page to learn more about the law. Also, contact me if you want to discuss additional ways your congregation can get involved in protecting health care reform.