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If the Supreme Court Ends Obamacare, Here’s What It Would Mean

  • September 22, 2020

About 60 million people are covered under Medicare, the federal health insurance program for people 65 and older and people of all ages with disabilities. Even though the main aim of the A.C.A. was to overhaul the health insurance markets, the law “touches virtually every part of Medicare,” said Tricia Neuman, a senior vice president for the Kaiser Family Foundation, which did an analysis of the law’s repeal. Overturning the law would be “very disruptive,” she said.

If the A.C.A. is struck down, Medicare beneficiaries would have to pay more for preventive care, like a wellness visit or diabetes check, which are now free. They would also have to pay more toward their prescription drugs. About five million people faced the so-called Medicare doughnut hole, or coverage gap, in 2016, which the A.C.A. sought to eliminate. If the law were overturned, that coverage gap would widen again.

The law also made other changes, like cutting the amount the federal government paid hospitals and other providers as well as private Medicare Advantage plans. Undoing the cuts could increase the program’s overall costs by hundreds of billions of dollars, according to Ms. Neuman. Premiums under the program could go up as a result.

The A.C.A. was also responsible for promoting experiments into new ways of paying hospitals and doctors, creating vehicles like accountable care organizations to help hospitals, doctors and others to better coordinate patients’ care.

If the groups save Medicare money on the care they provide, they get to keep some of those savings. About 11 million people are now enrolled in these Medicare groups, and it is unclear what would happen to these experiments if the law were deemed unconstitutional. Some of Mr. Trump’s initiatives, like the efforts to lower drug prices, would also be hindered without the federal authority established under the A.C.A.

Repealing the law would also eliminate a 0.9 percent increase in the payroll tax for high earners, which would mean less money coming into the Medicare trust fund. The fund is already heading toward insolvency — partly because other taxes created by the law that had provided revenue for the fund have already been repealed — by 2024.

Article source: https://www.nytimes.com/article/supreme-court-obamacare-case.html

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