No SCOTUS ACA Ruling Monday
June 19, 2012
WASHINGTON - Monday was the first day for the Supreme Court to release its rulings for this term, but there's no ruling yet on the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act. The act, dubbed by some "Obamacare," requires every American to have health insurance or pay a fine, expands preventive care covered by insurance, and prohibits private insurers from rejecting people because of pre-existing conditions.
That last provision is of special interest to retiree Keith Duner. He's too young for Medicare and couldn't get private insurance because he has asymptomatic COPD.
"What was most traumatic to me was A) Finding out that I couldn't get insurance and then B) not having a clue as to how to pursue a solution. I didn't know what to do next."
Duner ended up getting the high-risk, state-sponsored Cover Colorado insurance. But if the Affordable Care Act stands, he hopes to shop around for a less-expensive policy. The court will have a decision on the Affordable Care Act by the end of the month.
Duner worries that if the court strikes down the mandate that everyone have insurance, insurance companies won't cover pre-existing conditions.
"It strengthens their hand to manage their business for profitability. I'm a reasonable person. Business is driven by profit. But at some point there has to be a recognition of the importance of common good."
He says he can't afford not to have insurance, even a high-risk policy like his that costs $800 a month and has a $3,000 deductible.
"Statistically speaking, the older you get, the greater likelihood that you'll get some sort of sudden, catastrophic health event occurring. That could wipe us out."
In addition to the mandate, the court is considering if a ruling should wait until 2014, when the full law in implemented, and if the government can make states expand Medicaid for the poor.