June 28, 2012 will be a day to remember. The US Supreme Court declared President Obama‘s Affordable Care Act (ACA) and its centre piece the ‘individual mandate’, which requires virtually everyone in the US to buy health insurance cover or to pay a fee, constitutional. This ruling comes as a surprise to many. It has the potential to change the US as we know it and will surely boost Obama’s campaign for re-election (election day November 06, 2012).
Paul Krugman, economist and widely read columnist for The New York Times, identifies, beside President Obama, the real winners of this legislation (article here).
So the Supreme Court — defying many expectations — upheld the Affordable Care Act, a k a Obamacare. There will, no doubt, be many headlines declaring this a big victory for President Obama, which it is. But the real winners are ordinary Americans — people like you.
Why? Well there are estimated 46 million Americans currently without health insurance (here), about 30 million would gain access via Obamacare (according to Congressional Budget Office). Many will enjoy health insurance for the first time in their lives. Krugman thinks this an underestimation. He writes:
(…) add in every American who currently works for a company that offers good health insurance but is at risk of losing that job (and who isn’t in this world of outsourcing and private equity buyouts?); every American who would have found health insurance unaffordable but will now receive crucial financial help; every American with a pre-existing condition who would have been flatly denied coverage in many states.
Obamacare will replace individual insecurity, risk, hardship with collective insurance cover, a monumental shift. Krugman concludes:
For almost all of us stand to benefit from making America a kinder and more decent society.