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The Supreme Court today ruled, by a vote of 5-4, that the Affordable Care Act (ACA), or Obamacare, is constitutional. The individual mandate, a key provision that is the lynchpin of the entire act, was ruled to be a tax and, therefore, also constitutional. In a somewhat surprising move, Justice Anthony Kennedy, a consistent swing vote on the Court, voted to strike down ACA, while Chief Justice John Roberts, a conservative vote, voted to uphold it.
So the matter is settled, then? Not quite. There will be considerable fall-out from this decision, not the least of which is that personal freedom just eroded quite a bit. The individual mandate compels Americans to buy health insurance or face a stiff monetary penalty. In ruling that the mandate is nothing more than a tax, the Supreme Court may have just opened the door for the federal government to compel Americans to purchase a number of goods or services under the guise of a tax. The question here is: Who makes better decisions for you – you or the government?
In theory, ACA means more Americans are insured. In practice, there are serious consequences for American women and their families. For example, insurance premiums are going to go up. The Kaiser Family Foundation reports that premiums have gone up by nearly $2,500 since President Obama’s reforms began taking effect. And they’re likely to go up even more according to the Congressional Budget Office. This is not good for women, who have been hit hard by ailing economy and are already struggling to make ends meet.
Even more concerning for women are the unintended consequences of ACA, which may result in their children losing health care coverage. If a worker receives health care insurance through their employer, the government has deemed that the employee can enter into a taxpayer-subsidized health exchange if their premiums are too expensive (and, again, the government decides this). The problem is that only the employee can get coverage through the exchange, meaning spouses and children are left without coverage. This could result in financial devastation for many American families.
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And remember that provision that allows adult children to be covered under their parent’s plan until the age of 26? Many employers and other organizations, including unions, have found the added burden of covering adult children so great that they are dropping dependent coverage altogether. This is a very scary and real consequence of ACA.
It turns out the Affordable Care Act may not be so affordable after all. In ruling that the legislation is constitutional, the Supreme Court also affirms that the Federal Government can compel Americans to buy whatever the bureaucrats in Washington, D.C., deem acceptable. Taking power away from citizens and placing it in the hands of the government is dangerous and the beginning of a slippery slope to a further loss of freedom. American families are already suffering from the deteriorating economy – can they really afford to lose control of their health care decisions, too?
Check out President Obama's reaction to the ruling below:
Teri Christoph is the co-founder of Smart Girl Politics, a non-profit organization for conservative women, and co-chair of She-PAC, a hybrid PAC supporting conservative women candidates. Follow her on Twitter: @TeriChristoph.