Healthcare Reform’s 2nd Anniversary

March 23, 2012

Today marks the two-year anniversary of the passing of the Affordable Care Act into law. According to an ABC poll Americans overall remain very skeptical of the new law and how it will affect them with 52% opposing it and 41% supporting. Regardless of your position on the new healthcare law, it has had a rocky start since passage in 2010.

Over the last two years we have seen two of the major provisions of the healthcare law implemented; rules that extend healthcare coverage to those with pre-existing conditions and allowing youth to stay on their parents plan until 26 instead of 23. Though the law does not go into full affect until 2014, some companies are preparing for cost increases related to the law now. The Washington Times reports that some job creators have even gone as far as shedding jobs at their companies to pay for the increased costs of healthcare for current employees.  Many cite the new regulations placed upon businesses with 50+ employees, that require each business to offer government approved health insurance or face steep fines.

While the law’s provisions continue to kick in, the Supreme Court has announced that it will be ruling on the constitutionality of the law’s major provision requiring individuals to purchase health insurance. The mandate is the most controversial piece of the law. According to the same ABC poll above, 2/3 of Americans feel that the law will be ruled unconstitutional or that the Supreme Court should at least overturn the mandate.

The hearing’s opening arguments are scheduled for next week. Only time will tell if the law will continue to move forward but provisions already put in place are likely to remain according to Jonathan Gruber, an economist at MIT who said, “The early deliverables are on the way and are hard to reverse.” Should the law be struck down and the early provisions remain, it is likely that costs for the law will increase, as revenue from the purchasing mandate will not materialize.

In the end the healthcare law has been a controversial piece of legislation with both die-hard supporters and critics. Though a recent CBO report details that costs for the law are likely to remain low, that could change after the high court’s ruling. If that is the case, we can hope Congress will find some way to offset these costs instead of increasing our already trillion dollar deficits.

Click here to view our look at the FY 2013 Budgets by the Numbers breakdown.

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