Is Obamacare in Trouble?

Obamacare on Trial

Perhaps as part of or maybe even resulting the current fiscal problem (isn’t there always a fiscal problem?) in Washington D.C. Obamacare is facing more more challenges from both a structural implementation and public opinion perspective.

The Department of Health and Human Services has recently announced that it will have to put off implementation of new Obamacare generated reimbursement codes for Medicare. The new codes, if and when they take affect, will increase the current set of codes from 18,000 to 140,000. Already burdened by the current code sets, doctors and medical treatment facilities will no doubt welcome this delay. New government regulation usually brings more paperwork. Obamacare is no exception.

The United States Supreme Court will soon hear arguments centering around the general legality of Obamacare under the US Constitution. Recent polling data also suggests that a large majority (more than 75%) of Americans are against Obamacare. It remains to be seen, however, how any of this will affect this year’s Presidential election. Obamacare has not become more popular among voters or doctors since being implemented.

Predictions of Obamacare making medical coverage and care less expensive and more accessible for all Americans are not coming true. An independent investigation by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has actually revealed that a handful of programs have actually become more expensive under Obamacare. Health premiums are also expected to keep going up and up and up…

Obamacare, Business and the Law

American businesses are also starting to feel the bite of Obamacare. In the current economic situation businesses need more certainty, not less. A basic concept of economics is that an economy works better when it is more predictable. Obamacare makes the business environment less predictable. This means companies of all sizes are having a difficult time making long-term budget plans because they don’t know how much health costs will affect their payroll over time. Hiring new employees becomes very problematic under this cloud of uncertainty.

Despite its lengthy weight (over 1,000 pages), the Obamacare plan fails to provide a great amount of specifics. Most of the stipulations in the Bill that was passed into law make reference to the Secretary of Health and Human Services setting up specific details at some future date. Many, if not most, of these stipulations are still pending. So, if a business develops any mid-range or long-term budget plan under Obamacare right now it could find itself forced to change it again based on “soon-to-come” rules. Businesses hate uncertainty and Obamacare is full of uncertainty. This is especially true since the future of Obamacare is itself uncertain.

Legal professionals are also taking issue with Obamacare. The Institute for Justice has brought new charges against Obamacare, citing the unconstitutional nature of the policy in terms of long-established procedures of contract law. The Affordable Care Act (part of Obamacare) requires individuals to purchase medical insurance, which according to the Institute for Justice, violates current contract law.

Bringing legal challenges before a court at any level is itself problematic. Challenges in court against Obamacare are often turned away by courts because they don’t like to get involved in overturning laws voted on by Congress. Courts do overturn laws, but it is not a common practice. It is uncertain how successful court challenges to Obamacare provisions will be at this time.

One thing proponents and opponents of Obamacare can agree on is that more action will be required by the US Congress to lay out clearer guidelines for how Obamacare should be implemented in practice.

There already is a requirement in every State that people have insurance before they can drive automobiles. Supporters of Obamacare can and have pointed out that insurance for drivers has not skyrocketed as a result of this requirement. Relating car insurance to help insurance, however, is not the best match. Healthcare is much more complicated than automobile insurance. Automobile insurance is also provided solely by private insurance companies and these companies are allowed to compete across State borders. People can purchase insurance from national chains or local providers as they see fit.

Obamacare in Politics

Many of Mitt Romney’s GOP opponents have pointed out that Romney’s healthcare plan in¬†Massachusetts closely resembles Obamacare. In a general election, if Romney wins the GOP nomination, Obama will certainly be quick to point out the similarities as well. What, if anything, Romney would do to change Obamacare remains to be seen.

As it stands now, Obamacare is likely to face increasing criticism and opposition from many fronts. Political and business interests have a stake in the final outcome and will certainly employ their resources toward gaining a favorable outcome. Obamacare stands on very shaky ground at the moment.