Health Insurance Info for Colorado

news & commentary on health insurance and benefits

The Alternative to Obamacare is Easy

Tags: , , , ,

I’ve said for some time that “health care reform” wasn’t the goal of Obamacare, and it certainly shouldn’t have cost however many trillions of dollars thats been forecast to pay for it (the actual figure isn’t important, save for one fact: it’s a lot more than we were promised, before we knew “what was in it”).

The mass media seems to be of the opinion that Republicans have no alternative to Obamacare, but the truth is that any number of alternative policies have been discussed within Republican circles. Most critics of outright repeal like to point out that the individual and employer mandates were Republican ideas; this canard has been bandied about for so long that it now been accepted as fact. The reality is that the mandates were viewed as essential only by a handful of think-tank policy wonks, and never really achieved critical mass with conservatives who study health care policy closely.

One of those individuals is John C. Goodman, from the Independence Institute. Mr. Goodman is considered to be the “father” of the health savings account, and he has a brand new article on what Republicans can do, now, to repeal the worst parts of Obamacare. In a previous article, “How The GOP should now deal with Obamacare”, he discussed the pitfalls that Republicans will likely encounter as they try to “repeal and replace” Obamacare with a new system that will inevitably be some version of what is currently in place.

In “A Republican Alternative To Obamacare”, he expands on his earlier work, by advising Republicans to concentrate on the promises made to voters in the 2014 elections: “keep your job; keep your health insurance; and keep your doctor”. And his solutions to health insurance, and health care, issues are the best I’ve read, encompassing great ideas and solutions to the kind of Washington-driven, centrally-planned health insurance environment we find ourselves in, with narrow networks, a return to highly steered “managed care”, rigid health care design, and lack of choice and flexibility.

I highly recommend the policy solutions he puts forward, and dearly hope that someone in the Republican leadership is listening and taking copious notes. The bottom line is this: without a clear cut and simple approach to replacing the disaster now known as Obamacare, Republicans will stand little chance of gaining any ground against entrenched interests, which include progressive Democrats, insurance company executives, and others who are beginning to reap the benefits of a quasi-monopoly driven by the central planners at HHS. Taking the alternative directly to the American people is the best way to get the message out, and that requires more than a statement in front of a podium at the Capitol, which is essentially all we’ve been given from the current Speaker of the House. It requires a full-court press by the leadership, because there isn’t a more pressing issue than repeal and replace Obamacare. I believe the political will can be found, and not just from Republicans.

Six Million? Really??

Tags: , , , ,

Much ballyhooed numbers on Obamacare enrollment are released, with an estimated six million enrolling, but  Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) expresses doubt. See the video and news story here.

Even in the face of such strong enrollment numbers, though, which have not yet been verified, the government has moved to extend the open-enrollment date for federal exchanges, even after a Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS) spokesperson said “we don’t actually have the statutory authority to extend the open enrollment period in 2014.” And of course, she is correct, as reported here. The open enrollment period is specifically defined by statute, and isn’t open to interpretation. Forbes has an interesting article on it, go here.

What this means is that people who have recently fallen ill or are otherwise uncovered will be able to get health insurance beyond the open-enrollment date, something that troubles insurers, some of whom are predicting double digit rate increases for 2015.

UPDATE: Here are three little questions about those Obamacare enrollment numbers.

Obamacare: premiums “to double”

Tags: , , , ,

Health industry officials say Obamacare premiums will likely double, and in some cases triple, in certain parts of the country next year, in part because of the flawed launch of the new exchange marketplaces mandated under The Affordable Care Act. Announcements of rate hikes could come within months, with the most significant cause of rate increases related to projections about the number of young healthy individuals and families who would enroll, which have proved to be way off the mark.

The projection of double or triple-rate increases fly in the face of remarks by HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, who said that “the [rate] increases are far less significant than what they were prior to the Affordable Care Act,” in testimony before the House Ways and Means Committee last week. This runs contrary to the way health insurance industry officials view rates in the coming year.

We’ve all been hearing about how younger people aren’t signing up in anywhere near the numbers needed or projected. So, why are young people important? In a phrase: adverse selection, which means, far more older, sicker people than younger, healthier ones in the pool, which creates – wait for it – higher claims costs that are almost certainly not supportable by current premiums.

In an article entitled Young Invincibles Are Killing Obamacare, Megan McArdle writes for Bloomberg View: “Young healthy people, and a lot of them, are needed to keep the market stable and premiums low. As we head into the final few weeks, we have a pretty good idea of how many young healthy people there will be, and the answer is: a whole lot fewer than the healthcare wonks were expecting.” Unfortunately, her dismissive analysis of the coming “death spiral” of Obamacare was flawed, even if she herself says that reaching anywhere near projections for young enrollees is “not likely”. Surprisingly, she concludes: “… it is now probably impossible to achieve the demographic mix that the government has been forecasting. And keeping it from happening may well prove very expensive for the federal government”.

How expensive? In his blog ACA Death Spiral, Seth Chandler, a law professor at the University of Houston Law Center, writes a thoughtful analysis on the Kaiser Family Foundation study of early, low enrollment of younger participants in Obamacare, cited by Ms. McArdle in her column. His analysis and conclusion is posted as “The Kaiser analysis of ACA enrollment has problems”, and is a good, if somewhat dense, analysis of how difficult it is to make an accurate projection, and why the projected deficit in insurer profits isn’t 2.4%, as projected by KFF, but “rather a  [deficit] projection of 4.5%”.

This is not good news for premiums, or for costs related to Obamacare that the federal government will be required to pay for. With rates for 2015 likely being filed this summer for approval prior to 2014 open enrollment, it increasingly looks like Obamacare will be the election year issue of 2014.

Obamacare individual mandate: slip-slidin’ away!

Tags: , , , , ,

Today, The Wall Street Journal reports on  Obamacare’s secret mandate exemption. An amazing read!

A few choice quotes below:

“last week the Administration quietly excused millions of people from the requirement to purchase health insurance ..”

“the mandate suspension was buried in an unrelated rule that was meant to preserve some health plans that don’t comply ..”

“shifting legal benchmarks offer an exemption to everyone who conceivably wants one.”

The article concludes: “The larger point is that there have been so many unilateral executive waivers and delays that ObamaCare must be unrecognizable to its drafters, to the extent they ever knew what the law contained.” Indeed.


The Roberts Court and Obamacare

Tags: , , , ,

Well, I can’t pick horses, either.

With the stunning decision by the Supreme Court of the United States this morning, Chief Justice John Roberts reminded me of the history surrounding another Chief Justice, Earl Warren, appointed by President Dwight D. Eisenhower. Eisenhower, when asked, made the point that many may make about Roberts in the not-too-distant future – that it was, after all, a bad decision to elevate this juror to the Supreme Court, given his now-apparent political unreliability and left-leaning nature. Roberts has now proven, in at least two decisions this year, to be at least as politically unreliable as Justice Warren, and has firmly relabeled the Supreme Court as “the Roberts Court” rather than “the Kennedy Court”, since Justice Kennedy sided with the minority, all conservative, in the dissent to the bizarre and unsupported decision concerning the Affordable Care Act. Chief Justice Roberts, flatly, sided with the liberals on the Court in upholding the constitutionality of The Affordable Care Act.

It’s not as if the Court hasn’t previously made law out of whole cloth: but what’s interesting about this decision is that Mr. Roberts has essentially told the Obama Administration, and the country, that, while the individual mandate exceeds the Commerce Clause authority, the mandate can and will be considered a tax, something that the Administration itself argued wasn’t the case, until it had to be argued, and then promptly reversed itself, again, during oral arguments before the Justices. Chief Justice Roberts in essence said, yes, I think this is a tax, notwithstanding the Solicitor Generals’ previous denial, and as such you can proceed. He did what all Constitutionalists fear: he warped reality and invented law, conveniently, to advance an ideological position, from the bench.

The Affordable Care Act now becomes the biggest issue of this Presidential election, or perhaps any election since 1936. While Republicans have always espoused “repeal and replace” as the ultimate solution, in light of the devastation wrought by this decision, Republicans will be galvanized (or should be!) like never before to do just that, as, given the breathtaking depth and breadth of the societal changes wrought by Obamacare, they face the prospect of permanent isolation in the wilderness of politics, or, alternatively, complete disintegration as a political organization, if Mr. Obama is handed another four years to build a permanent majority of government-dependent voters who will fully embrace a government-dominated socialist society that promises them everything at the expense of the producers who, flatly, create the bounty we now enjoy. With this election, and this enormous landmark legislation now seemingly upheld, voters will be handed a stark contrast, one that favors liberty and individual freedom and one that favors “equality” and government intrusion. It is not inconceivable that, if Mr. Obama is re-elected, a permanent Democratic majority will come into power for decades, based only on the power of a newly created “dependency class” to continue voting to receive government largesse. And the bottom line is that, if you want to see the outcome of such a majority, take a good look at Europe today.

“That sound you hear is the marching of libertarians into Camp Romney, with noses held, knowing that the libertarian and conservative coalitions must unite to defeat Obama and Obamacare.” – Eric Erickson,

The Supreme Court decides

Tags: , , , , ,

Media reports suggest that today (or, at, least, this week) the Supreme Court will hand down its decision on The Affordable Care Act. To briefly recap, dozens of states sued the federal government to overturn the act; the reasons for that suit are varied, such as the individual mandate, but include such issues as Medicaid funding requirements, which is a huge unfunded liability for states.

I’ve resisted the urge to handicap the forthcoming possibilities, but I do have an opinion. Right or wrong, I’m going to publish it today; one way or the other, the debates between Mr. Obama and Mr. Romney about health care in the upcoming general election will be fascinating to discuss in light of what the SCOTUS decides.

There are four possible outcomes: to do nothing and leave the entire Act standing; to narrowly strike down just the mandate provisions; to strike down the mandate and two other major provisions (which is the position that the Obama Administration said should happen if the Supremes conclude that the individual mandate is unconstitutional), and the fourth: declaring the entire Affordable Care Act unconstitutional.

I have no idea what the “Vegas line” is on this decision, so, I will take my shot-in-the-dark and lay odds:

Do nothing: 12 to 1. Not likely.

Strike down just the individual mandate: 6 to 1. Too narrow, and creates a bigger problem.

Strike down the mandate and the provisions relating to it (the position argued by the Administration if the mandate is unconstitutional): 4 to 1. The Administration wins, and the remaining Act becomes a rallying cry for progressives who always wanted the single-payor option (and this decision almost guarantees it).

Strike down the entire Act: 3 to 1. The most sensible solution of all.

My reasons for giving the best odds for striking the entire Act lay in the unprecedented suit brought by a coalition (frankly, a majority) of states against the federal government. I’m unaware of any action brought against the government by so many states, and this alone should prompt an unprecedented examination of the role of the federal governments’ power to pass legislation that intrudes on the right of the states to govern themselves. It also bears pointing out that the federal government is, technically,  a government of limited powers (the term “states rights” is not a pejorative for discrimination, despite what liberals have always said) with the remaining powers reserved exclusively to the states. With the individual mandate exceeding any rational understanding of the purpose and use, even in liberal hands, of the Commerce Clause, the demand by the states to be relieved of a burden they clearly feel is unconstitutional has to be carefully considered. The strange manner in which the Act was passed, the lack of ANY bipartisanship (or, of that matter, any input from anyone except the Progressive Caucus in the bills ultimate form) the distorted cost projections, not to mention the majority view of the Act across the nation by voters – all of these things must be taken into account by the Justices. Never mind that they are legal scholars who pass judgment on constitutional issues at the highest level; there is and always will be a political element to every controversial Supreme Court decision. Couple this with the lack of a severability clause, and my opinion is that the Supremes err, not on the side of caution, but on the side of good sense: telling Congress that this legislation is so flawed and so intrusive that it would be best to just start over.

And that is what I think the Supremes will do. If they don’t, they will be performing a major disservice to the country, by leaving in place a huge entitlement program that completely remakes the social contract between the government and its citizens (or should they now be called subjects?) without any rational means to pay for it (assuming that the Commerce Clause doesn’t allow the government to tell you what you must buy), while dooming a portion of the insurance industry to almost-certain extinction or, worse, outright nationalization or regulation as a monopolistic utility, with the government calling ALL the shots, while re-distributing massive tax increases to pay for it.

Whatever they decide – it’s going to be interesting. And don’t forget that, in the absence of any new federal legislation, states, including Colorado, will be in a position to craft their own solutions, which is how it should be in the first place. The fact is that Colorado state Republicans control the House by a slim one vote margin – and history shows that in the early 90’s, Colorado’s Governor Roy Romer (D) threatened to pass a single payor system unless “health reform” was enacted, which set us upon the very path we now walk.

Let the games begin! Quoting Rep. Michele Bachmann: ““The decision on Obamacare goes well beyond health care,” she wrote. It “will determine whether or not the court believes the government has a right to mandate that Americans buy a product or service, a direct impact on our freedom and liberty.”




The Argument Against Obamcare

Tags: , , ,

The Supreme Court of the United States, beginning this week, will hear arguments in the case against Obamacare, brought by 26 states against the federal government. Their legal ruling, due sometime this summer, will determine, in the words of David B. Rivkin and Lee A. Casey, writing in an op-ed in the pages of The Wall Street Journal, “the Constitution’s structural guarantees of individual liberty, which limit government power and ensure political accountability by dividing that power between federal and state authorities”.

In their article, published today, attorney’s Rivkin and Casey may be giving us a sneak peek at how Paul Clement, the attorney arguing against Obamacare, will craft his arguments to the Court. Mr. Clement is the former United States solicitor general charged with arguing that Obamacare “represents an unprecedented overreach into the personal lives of Americans”, according to Jess Bravin, writing in the WSJ (“Courtly Battle in Health Case”). Mr. Clement is lead counsel in the case, brought by 26 states to overturn the Affordable Care Act, notoriously known as Obamacare.

Given that there are any number of ways, on any number of separate issues, that the Supremes could rule, I will refrain from making any predictions. It is interesting to note, though, that health insurers, who have been reluctantly complicit in the birth of Obamacare, the major negotiating point in their favor being the individual mandate, presented the court with a brief that was remarkably neutral, suggesting that, if the individual mandate is overturned, then the entire bill must be overturned. This is nothing more than window dressing: the insurers know that their survival, at least at the time, required a healthy dose of government-imposed regulation on their business model, turning them into crony-capitalist utilities in exchange for the chance to continue profiting from a system that many Democrat legislators have decried as “evil” and have vowed to destroy. What this means is that insurers signed on to Obamacare as soon as the government promised them that everyone must be on coverage, essentially mandating a compulsory market (with compulsory profit, too). As it turns out, given the kind of remarks we’ve heard from former Administration officials and the Secretary of HHS, their flight to regulatory safety was ill-advised and will result in their ultimate demise. Perhaps they should have stood their ground and made a fight for it, rather than make a pact with the devil.




U.S. Senators release report on Obamacare

Tags: , , , ,

Senators John Barrasso, R-WY, and  Sen. Tom Coburn, R-OK, have co-authored a report detailing the disaster known as Obamacare. Senators Barrasso and Coburn have a unique perspective on the emerging octopus of centralized/federalized health insurance: they are both physicians.

Some excerpts from the 38 page report:

  • Warned the health care law could eliminate about 788,000 jobs. CBO Director Doug Elmendorf confirmed in Congressional testimony that the health care law would reduce the workforce by approximately 800,000 jobs.
  • Concluded the Medicaid expansion’s “extra costs forced upon state taxpayers and state governments could climb into the hundreds of billions of dollars”. In fact, according to a tally of state estimates, the law will impose about $120 billion in additional costs on states, just in the first few years of the law’s implementation.
  • Explained the Community Living Assistance Services and Support (CLASS) program was “a budget gimmick to appear to offset new spending” and warned the program could “expose taxpayers to tens of billions of dollars of loss” because it was would eventually collapse. The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has admitted CLASS was unworkable, and shuttered the program.
  • Cautioned “the appearance of Medicare‘s extended solvency is actually only a mirage. In reality, under the new law, Medicare‘s unfunded liabilities will grow worse”. The Medicare Actuary late concluded that Medicare’s unfunded liabilities are made worse by about $2 trillion under the law.
  • Warned that “as the new law is being implemented, millions of Americans are in danger of losing their current health insurance.” HHS concluded that, under the law, between 39 and 69 percent of businesses will lose their status as “grandfathered health plans”—plans largely unaffected by the law’s new mandates. HHS estimates by 2013, up to 80 percent of small businesses will lose their grandfather status.
  • Noted that “rather than fixing an issue everyone in Congress agreed was a problem, Congressional leaders left the doc fix out of the final health bill” because of “budgetary shenanigans” to decrease the appearance of the bill’s cost. We warned that this policy omission “could endanger access to care for millions of seniors. In fact, Congress has already had to intervene several times to prevent severe cuts to physician reimbursements that would harm seniors’ access to care.

An eye opening report that every employee worried about their employer abandoning their health care, and every employer worried about the spiraling cost of benefits, should read.

Obamacare implementation moves forward in 2012

Tags: ,

2012 will be a landmark year in the life of The Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare, as the federal regulatory apparatus continues it’s torturous development of various aspects of the legislation and HHS builds out the infrastructure of the program, in spite of the constitutional challenge brought by more than two dozen states attorney generals, scheduled for oral argument in April by the Supreme Court of the United States. Battle lines continue to be drawn between pro and con advocates of the sweeping legislation, with California being the latest to submit an Amicus Brief in support of health care reform (not surprising, given the lay of the political landscape in California).

Here are some key dates this year in the implementation of this massive expansion of the welfare state:

Jan/Feb. 2012 – HHS awards grants totaling $3.4 billion to Consumer Oriented and Operated Plans (CO-OPs) for startup costs in order to meet state solvency requirements. These programs, which are essentially non-profit collectives with a high degree of default risk, are essentially being seeded and grown with federal taxpayer dollars and will surely undermine private, for-profit health care organization. HHS admits that these organizations may lose $1 billion of more. Sounds like Solyndra to me.

Spring 2012 – “Essential Health Benefits” regulation expected. This regulation will tell us what benefits will be required for all plans, rather than current state regulations or oversight. Expect health care premiums to increase with the publication of these regs, since there will be little effort to constrain what will be required for essential benefits (well, unless you are a senior on Medicare, of course).

March 26-28, 2012 – The Supreme Court of the United States hears oral arguments on the constitutionality of Obamacare. The Court has scheduled three days of oral arguments, almost unprecedented in the modern era. (The final day of Supreme Court’s 2011-2012 session is June 25th, 2012 – media reports suggest that a decision on Obamacare’s constitutionality is expected within a week or two before this date.)

June 29, 2012 – Deadline for States to apply for federal grants to implement Health Insurance Exchanges. Colorado has accepted federal grant money to develop it’s exchange, discussed here.

November 6, 2012 – For those who aren’t in favor of letting the Supreme Court legislate from the bench, or strike down only parts of Obamacare rather than extinguish it all based on it’s lack of a severability clause, this is the most important day of the year: Federal Election Day.


Out, once again: Aetna

Tags: , , ,

This should really not come as any surprise to anyone who has followed Aetna and it’s on-again/off-again history in Colorado:

Aetna retrenches in Colorado” – read, exit, stage left, once again.

Perhaps a quick look at the not-too-distant past is in order. Aetna, in a snit to this observers’ mind, left the Colorado market with the first whiff of “reform” that passed through Colorado in about 1995; this was the same period, more or less, marked by Roy Romers’ threat to put all of Colorado on a single-payor system unless the legislature enacted health insurance reform. And a bunch of recalcitrant, big name insurers (and a non-profit, if memory serves) had to be dragged, kicking and screaming, into the small group market, which they had avoided like the plague for eons. Exit number one for Aetna.

Then, in 1997, Aetna decided to come back into the state with the purchase of Frontier Community Health Plans, Inc., a small and fragile managed care company based here in Colorado. Known back then as Aetna U.S. Healthcare, they made quite a thing of being able to offer a variety of HMO-based products in Colorado – just before the crash-and-burn of HMOs and “managed care”.

And now, we have exit number two. Unless they buy someone (again), Aetna will be barred from re-entering the Colorado market for five years.  (By that time, individual plans will look, and cost as much, as small group plans do now. Care to guess how many people will be forced to drop their coverage?)

To its credit, Aetna grew its individual business here, eventually becoming the sixth largest provider of individual health plans. With its decision late last year, in the wake of health care reform, which mandates a minimum loss ratio for small and large group carriers, to leave the  small group market, Aetna set the stage for the abandonment of the Colorado insurance market once again, just as it did in the mid-nineties.

Now, don’t get me wrong – I have no problem with any private sector corporation doing what it needs to do to survive in a bad economy. But from this agents’ perspective, Aetna always seemed more interested in protecting their bottom line the easy way, rather than stay and slug it out in a “competitive” environment, like some others have – Anthem, United Healthcare, and Assurant Health, to name three. Even some that aren’t particularly competitive in terms of product or premium make up for those weaknesses with superior service and other products – or they remain as admitted carriers who aren’t actively in the market, as any veteran of the health insurance biz in Colorado will attest to.

Unfortunately, we have less and less competition in the group or the individual market in Colorado than ever before, and much of the blame for that can be laid directly at the feet of the legislators who feel that doing everything they can to make things “fairer” is the answer to controlling costs (hint: it isn’t). One only has to look at the cloistered relationship between legislation/regulation and admitted carriers to understand that, to a degree, existing carriers in Colorado don’t really want more competition, and legislators, at least on the Democrat side, are all the more interested in making it harder to compete here in any event, thereby strengthening the hand of the existing carriers at the expense of any other carrier who wants to do business here but can’t or won’t risk insolvency for the privilege of serving Colorado and its shrinking small business and other health insurance base. Certainly, mandating “reproductive services” (mandatory contraceptive and maternity coverage) for all new individual policies sold in the state, in the name of equality and fairness, won’t attract any new carriers, and likely played a hand in Aetnas’ exit, as well.

Hint: That individual policy you have, right now? It just became a whole lot more valuable.

On one hand, I wish Aetna had stayed – we need the competition. By the same token, leaving when things get , well, tough, isn’t endearing, either. Maybe Aetna just needs to admit that it can’t live on the paper-thin profits of the health insurance industry – after all, when was the last time Wall Street was bullish on health insurance? Especially with the individual mandate, the dubious gift hailed by John McCain, Mrs. Clinton, and by POTUS Obama, all but dead and gone for now, skewered on the sword of a Federal Judge who understands the constitutional mandate of limited federal power. Too bad that no one thought of that before they passed the bill – so that we could read what was in it, of course.

Judge Vinson declares PPACA Unconstitutional

Tags: ,

In a 78 page ruling you can read here, U.S. District Court Judge Roger Vinson has issued a summary judgment declaring the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. a.k.a. Obamacare, unconstitutional.

In the opinion, Judge Vinson says that Congress has no authority under the Commerce Clause to enforce the individual mandate, which would have required individuals to purchase health insurance.

I’m reviewing the ruling and will likely post more on this later. The important thing is that the issue of severability is in play – the Act has no “severability clause”, and as such, if any part of the Act is ruled unconstitutional, the entire Act must be treated that way. I’ve written on this in prior posts; the bottom line is that, in their rush to pass health care reform, the Democrats, either by design or by default, didn’t include the necessary language in the bill protecting it from being declared wholly unconstitutional, rather than just the parts specifically relating to an unconstitutional claim.

Judge Vinson speaks of the limited power of the Federal government, and of the Federalist papers. That’s a good start. Developing…

Obamacare: individual mandate ruled unconstitutional

Tags: , ,

Obviously, the big news this morning is the “individual mandate” decision rendered by Federal District Judge Hudson in Commonwealth of Virginia v. Sebellius, et al. Judge Hudson ruled that the individual mandate exceeded Congress’ Commerce Clause power and was, therefore, unconstitutional.

First, we have opponents of Obamacare chortling that the end is near, and secondly, we have Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) saying that (as if it were a baseball game) the Dems are up 2-1.

Neither is accurate, and both are misleading.

Opponents of Obamacare have seemingly forgotten that the individual mandate, the centerpiece of Virginia’s lawsuit against PPACA, was largely created and added to the legislation as an inducement to health insurers. Without it, due to adverse selection, health insurance companies will be destroyed in relatively short order. (I don’t believe that anyone even casually schooled in basic insurance principles, or simple economics, would disagree with that statement.)

Unfortunately, Judge Hudson severed the individual mandate from the Act, rather than rule that, given the unconstitutional nature of the individual mandate, the entire act was unconstitutional. While not without precedent, it is troubling, since the Act was passed without a severability clause, a small but important piece of legal boilerplate that says, essentially, if any part of this legislation is struck down, the rest remains. This means that, as of this moment, the funding mechanism for Obamacare has essentially been tossed, along with any “directly-dependent provisions”, but not the rest of Obamacare.

The thrust of the individual mandate argument demands that the entire Act be deemed unconstitutional. Assuming severability, the portions of the Act remaining will still be law, and that is an even bigger recipe for disaster (as if things could get any worse!).

Cut to the chase: This decision will ultimately be taken up by the Supreme Court, and could bypass the traditional appellate review. As the Virginia Attorney General said at one point this morning, “I’m sure it will be a 5-4 decision… I’m not sure which 5-4”. Justice Kennedy, anyone?

As to the  2-1 scorecard, Sen. Durbin is spinning the news for political purposes, of course. At least one of the other lawsuits wasn’t based on the same narrow criteria – Thomas More Law Center brought suit strictly on federally-funded abortion issues, while the suit involving Liberty College focused on the same individual mandate, albeit with the supporting argument that premiums would be used to pay for abortions. The reality is that the “score”, if you want to look at it that way, is really 1-1-1 (and I’m being charitable).

All of this pales in comparison to the 20 state lawsuit, filed in a Florida federal court (of which Colorado is a participant), suing the federal government over PPACA. That is where, in this observers’ opinion, the real action will be. For all I know, the Virginia case could seemingly be combined with the bigger, 20 state action when reviewed by the Supremes.

See comments by the Colorado AG on the Virginia ruling. Also, here.

Additional comments here, and here. And a legal opinion, here.

© 2009 Health Insurance Info for Colorado. All Rights Reserved.

This blog is powered by Wordpress and Magatheme by Bryan Helmig.