Where We Live: Health Care Reform, The Supreme Court, and Connecticut

As the Supreme Court hearing gets underway, we look at the Affordable Care Act.

<< Previous
0 of 1 Images
Next >>
U.S. Supreme Court
Photo:Stephanie Hicks (Flickr Creative Commons)
Elliott Pollack
Photo:Chion Wolf
Arielle Levin Becker
Photo:Chion Wolf
Jeff Cohen
Photo:Chion Wolf
Where We Live: Health Care Reform, The Supreme Court, and Connecticut
Download Audio
Audio Playlist
Where We Live: Health Care Reform, The Supreme Court, and Connecticut

Arguments begin in the Supreme Court today over the Affordable Care Act - its one of the biggest, longest, and most highly publicized cases in the court’s recent history - and it has enormous political implications.

If the law - or parts of it - are overturned or retained, it could affect the outcome of November elections, with President Barack Obama, the man behind the law running for re-election...and Mitt Romney, the former governor who helped create the framework for it in Massachusetts, likely running against him. A Republican surge in the House and Senate this fall could also mean lawmakers could push to repeal the Act - regardless of the court’s ruling.

But beyond the politics, there are some interesting legal and healthcare issues in question. Today we’ll try to pull this apart - and give you a chance to ask questions of some experts.

Should the government be able to “mandate” that you buy health insurance? What other reforms might be in jeopardy if the court rules against the Affordable Care Act? What will this all mean for Connecticut - as it begins setting up its healthcare “exchanges?” 



Listener email from an actuary:

A few comments from an actuary:

One word that is not often used in the healthcare discussion is “subsidize.”

If everyone is required to buy health insurance and can buy it without regard to their current health, then the healthy are subsidizing the unhealthy.

The usual insurance market combines people who have similar characteristics and they all pay the same price. Then the lucky (who don’t have claims) subsidize the unlucky (who do have claims). But at the time they buy coverage, there is no way of knowing who will gain and who will lose.

Under the new law, it would be clear who is subsidizing whom (the healthy subsidize the unhealthy), who the winners and losers are. Maybe that’s what we want, just as our tax system requires the higher earners to subsidize the lower earners in paying for government services. But we should be very aware that this is what the law does.