Affordable Care Act upheld as law: Forward to single-payer
June 25, 2015
Today, in the case of King v. Burwell, the Supreme Court of the United States in a 6 to 3 ruling upheld the insurance subsidies guaranteed by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010. This means that over six million Americans who recieve federal subsidies for their insurance plans through federal or partnership exchanges will be able to keep their plans and subsidies.
The Affordable Care Act (ACA) has been under constant attack by the far-right of the Republican Party and those who represent the interests of America's private insurance companies since the first day it became law. More than 50 attempts have been made in the US House of Representatives to repeal it. The 2012 US Supreme Court case of National Federation of Independent Businesses v. Sebilius upheld the ACA's individual mandate which requires that all citizens who are financially able be required to purchase some form of health insurance or pay a tax towards the system which guarantees emergency care for the uninsured. The King v. Burwell ruling, while surprising to few, solidifies the ACA as a law that isn't going anywhere soon, at least not under the current balance of forces.
The Affordable Care Act, the brainchild of the conservative Heritage Foundation and modeled after several Republican state level insurance reforms, did address some very important problems with the previously existing healthcare system of the United States. However, after being hacked away at by the interests of private insurance lobbies in congressional committees, the act that was passed had few of its original provisions and its solutions to these problems were limp wristed and ultimately the best of a bad situation. Truly it is a testiment to the power and authority that looms over the US government by privately run corporations and a socially fragile aristocracy of billionaires.
Immediately upon the ACA becoming law, the Republican Party began a long fought campaign for its full repeal and the resumption of market anarchy. In the US House of Representatives, they made over 50 attempts to repeal it legislatively. At the base level, the campaign to repeal the ACA may only die out with Fox News's ageing viewership. For all intents and purposes however, should the White House remain under Democratic occupation for the four years following 2016, it will be safe to say that the United States will ultimately move forward towards a single-payer improved-Medicare-for-all system, similar to the one existing in Canada.
The right wing is horrified by this. They know that the advancement towards single-payer - a socialization of healthcare financing - will lead to the full socialization of the American healthcare system. With current public opinion and changes in forces persisting, this is most likely going to happen during the coming decades. The conservative faction of capital knows that the socialization of the healthcare system will set precedent for the socialization of other sectors of the economy as well, until capital is ultimately defeated as the socialized economy becomes the dominant sector. The American people, however, have nothing to loose from this and a whole new world to gain.