UPDATE: The Supreme Court did not rule on the health care law on Monday, with justices issuing a ruling on Arizona’s controversial immigration law instead. The court is expected to rule on the health care law on Thursday. Original story continues below…
The U.S. Supreme Court is set to issue its ruling on President Barack Obama’s signature health care law early next week, a decision which will have a huge impact on how South Carolina families pay for their health care.
The court has the option to strike down part of the Affordable Care Act or get rid of the whole thing, and Obama Administration officials said they’re ready for any contingency. But according to McClatchy Newspapers’ Michael Doyle and David Lightman, the court’s ruling certainly won’t be the end of the contentious health care debate:
If the entire Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act survives, Republicans will introduce repeal bills to keep the debate roiling. If the law dies, Democrats will turn an “activist” Supreme Court into a juicy campaign target while lawmakers from both parties resurrect certain favored portions of the measure. If the individual mandate to purchase coverage is cut out but the rest of the law is left intact, lawmakers and insurance companies will be figuring out how to manage what remains.
“The question is always, does Congress want half a loaf?” Justice Elena Kagan noted during oral arguments. “Is half a loaf better than no loaf?”
If the conservative-leaning Supreme Court leaves the American people with no loaf by striking down the entire health care law, even its many popular (and perfectly constitutional) provisions would go down with it. In addition to letting children stay on their parents’ health insurance until the age of 25, protecting children with pre-existing medical conditions and lowering the cost of prescription drugs for seniors the law also gave $2.9 million to five community health clinics in the Palmetto State.
“The health care law is making our community health centers stronger and ensuring more Americans get the care they need,” Sebelius said. “Through the Affordable Care Act’s commitment to expand access to high quality health care for all Americans, these grants will support establishment of new full-time service delivery sites.”
In addition, the health care law is giving hundreds of thousands of South Carolina workers an average rebate of $227 this year — unless the Supreme Court strikes it down, that is.
“If the federal law is struck down in total it’s as if the law didn’t exist,” Blue Cross/Blue Shield of South Carolina president Jim Deyling told the Columbia Business Report. “If they strike down the law then the rebates are null and void.”
Click here to see a list of South Carolinians’ health care benefits provided by the Affordable Care Act.