Friday, June 26, 2015

Thank goodness Supreme Court upheld Affordable Care Act, again

Republicans in Congress actually breathed a sigh of relief when the Supreme Court ruled 6-3 Thursday in a case that is basically in favor of the Affordable Care Act. The case had to do with wording in the law that ultra conservatives believed the law as applicable only in states where exchanges were established. Chief Justice John Roberts, who for nearly every ruling during his term except those about the ACA and some social issues has been a conservative, might now be known as a “liberal” or “progressive” member of the high court. In the ruling he wrote: Congress passed the Affordable Care Act to improve health insurance markets, not to destroy them.

The ruling is another win for President Obama and his Democratic colleagues but it also takes the Republicans off the hot seat because other than to close it down completely, the GOP members have yet to come up with a specific health care plan—insurance or otherwise—to take the place of the ACA. And, there’s no doubt that Americans need such a plan of some sort. Relying on the medical suppliers (doctors, lawyers, etc.) and the medical insurance companies (high paid executives, lawyers, etc.) to do the right thing is akin to sticking your head in the sand. Both entities, despite creeds and oaths taken and promises given, are primarily in the game for financial gain. Okay, okay, not all doctors are in it for financial gain, but they probably over-charge. And, every now and then, there’s a story about a heroic medical provider who says he or she is practicing to help, not to make oodles of money so personal acquisitions are common place in their lives. But that’s rare.

On the other hand, sometimes you read about the beneficiaries of the subsidies that come with the ACA and you have to wonder why and how this person can take part. For instance, there’s a bike mechanic in Carrboro who makes about $15,000 a year and who signed up for ACA assistance, getting $220 a month to supplement the $15 a month he pays. To quote a story from The News & Observer: (He) is a stunt rider whose flips, spins and other gravity-defying tricks have resulted in broken bones on a dozen occasions, including reconstructive wrist surgery last year. He is currently recovering from another injury, this one to his ankle, caused by falling from a height of about 10 feet, a mishap occasioned by riding backwards on a ramp that reaches the roof of a shed. He said merciless abuse is the occupational hazard of a BMX stunt rider. (He) regards health insurance not as an option but a necessity that saves him from financial ruin. “I’d go broke if I got injured,” he said. “I’d be pretty much destroyed if something happened to me.”

Should he be so well-covered by an ACA subsidy? Or should those who hire him, probably an independent contractor, for the stunts include medical coverage for damage to him and his body during the stunts and the practice thereof. If he’s only making $15,000 a year as a bike mechanic and BMX stunt rider, maybe he needs to rethink his profession. Supplementing his insurance cost is probably a discussion for another time, but, right now, the Supreme Court, no doubt one of the most conservative at any time, has turned many heads with its agreement this time and previously with the Obama Administration through rulings in favor of the ACA. The Democrats who live for national healthcare and the Republicans who have no ideas to handle soaring healthcare costs, both the medical profession and the insurance companies, should both thank the Supreme Court.
-------------------- word of the day
tenderfoot (noun) [ten-der-foo t] novice

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