With a huge amount of disinformation about President Obama's healthcare plan swirling around the country, it is no wonder Americans are unsure about 'Obamacare' and what it means for them. As Bob Cesca wrote in a column earlier this week, even Republicans love Obamacare, they just don't know it.
So what does the Supreme Court ruling that upheld the major tenants of Obama's healthcare plan (and the much derided individual mandate) actually mean for real people? Jeffrey Young at the Huffington Post spells out the major components:
The Supreme Court's decision allows the Obama administration to go forward with a law that will extend health coverage to as many as 30 million Americans through private health insurance and Medicaid starting in 2014. The law also prohibits health insurance company practices that were previously legal, including refusing to sell plans to children and adults with pre-existing medical conditions, setting lifetime limits on medical coverage that cut people off when their expenses get too high, and charging higher premiums to women.....
Under the law, people who earn 133 percent of the federal poverty level or less will qualify for Medicaid coverage. Those whose income is between 133 percent and 400 percent of the poverty level will be eligible for tax credits to defray the cost of health insurance. Companies with at least 50 employees will have to provide health benefits to workers or pay a penalty to the government, and some smaller companies will receive tax credits for employee health insurance. And nearly every American will be required to obtain some form of health care coverage or face a penalty under the individual mandate.
So the beneficiaries of 'Obamacare' are basically pretty much everyone. It is not a perfect solution to the nation's problems - far from it. It is a deeply flawed plan that at the end of the day, still leaves health care in the hands of private insurance companies. But there are major benefits that outweigh the costs, primarily that is is the largest expansion of coverage in 45 years.
Josh Marshall at TPM outlines the two major ramifications of the ruling:
A lot of people tonight and in the future will sleep a lot better for this result. Young people, people with pre-existing conditions and mainly people who through the chaos of the health care market simply find themselves with no coverage.
That’s the big deal.
What also matters is: we may learn that President Obama sacrificed his presidency to push through this piece of legislation — the Dems already lost Congress over it. But presidencies are for doing important things not just for getting elected to second terms in office. And I strongly suspect that even if Mitt Romney wins and gets a Republican Congress, they still won’t be able to get rid of this law.
That counts. That matters.
Mitt Romney joked yesterday that the President wouldn't be "Sleeping real well in the White House" in anticipation of the ruling. Maybe he didn't, but it will be Romney not sleeping so well tonight.