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Supreme Court - Affordable Health Care Act
Mar 29, 2012

What will happen to existing Federal PCIP insurance plans that provide insurance for people (like me) who have a pre-existing condition if the Supreme Court finds the Affordable Healthcare Act unconstitutional?

Response from Mr. Chambers

It all depends on how the court overturns it.

It is possible they will disallow only the mandate that everyone buy insurance. If that happens, and the rest of the law stands, then the PCIP plans will probably continue. If, however, that does happen, the health insurance industry will justifiably want out of their promise to cover everybody who applies regardless of their health, and that could put the whole law back into play in Congress.

If, however, the court strikes down the entire law, then all provisions, including the PCIP plans, allowing children to stay on their parents' policy until age 26, and requiring that all plans cover preventive coverage 100% with no deductible are gone too. And there are many other provisions to the law, major changes to Medicare and Medicaid, limits on gifts to doctors from pharmaceutical peddlers, improved breaks and breast-feeding rooms for new mothers at work, forcing restaurants to list calories of menu items, and many more that the public is probably not aware of.

Would Congress be willing to work together to replace those parts of the law that people like or are already in force? Personally, I'm a little pessimistic about them working together on anything given the current political climate nowadays.

And the PCIP programs. Would any states be able legislate continuation of their state's PCIP plan and find enough money to continue the plans on their own? Again, I'm somewhat concerned about that given the budget problems most states are having already.

Not a pretty picture.

However, despite the tone of the questions during oral arguments, pundits have often been wrong in predicting the final decision based simply on the oral arguments. It did appear in the third day of testimony, the court clearly realizes the major impact that throwing out the entire law would have. Hopefully, the depth of those consequences will continue to grow as they discuss it in private and exchange drafts of opinions before they release their decision in late June.



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