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One scenario sends shivers through the health care industry: The Supreme Court strikes down the mandate only, and delegates other courts to determine what else stays or goes.
Republicans would keep trying to block the law. They will try to elect presidential candidate Mitt Romney, backed by a GOP House and Senate, and repeal the law, although their chances of repeal would seem to be diminished by the court's endorsement.
A: Individuals would have no obligation to carry insurance, but insurers would remain bound by the law to accept applicants regardless of medical condition and limit what they charge their oldest and sickest customers.
The nation still faces huge problems with health care costs, requiring major changes to Medicare that neither party has explained squarely to voters. Some backers of Obama's law acknowledge it was only a first installment: Get most people covered, then deal with the harder problem of costs.
Taxes, Medicare cuts and penalties on employers not offering coverage would stay in place.
Taking down the law would kill a costly new federal entitlement before it has a chance to take root and develop a clamoring constituency, but that still would leave the problems of high costs, waste and millions uninsured.
A: Many people would applaud, polls suggest.
People with health insurance could lose some ground as well. Employers and insurance companies would have no obligation to keep providing popular new benefits such as preventive care with no copayments and coverage for young adults until age 26 on a parent's plan. Medicare recipients with high prescription drug costs could lose discounts averaging about $600.
The insurance mandate was primarily a means to an end, a way to create a big pool of customers and allow premiums to remain affordable. Other forms of arm twisting could be found, including limited enrollment periods and penalties for late sign up, but such fixes would likely require congressional cooperation.
Obama would feel the glow of vindication for his hard fought health overhaul, but it might not last long even if he's re elected.
Supreme Court health care ruling analysis
A: Many fewer people would get covered, but the health insurance industry would avoid a dire financial hit.
Q: On the other hand, what if the court strikes down the entire law?
Q: What if the court strikes down the mandate and also invalidates the parts of the law that require insurance companies to cover people regardless of medical problems and that limit what they can charge older people?
Starting in 2014, most could get coverage through a mix of private insurance and Medicaid, a safety net Vans Dark Blue Gum Sole
need it, which is a major problem that the law was intended to fix.
Without the mandate, millions of uninsured low income people still would get coverage through the law's Medicaid expansion. The problem would be the 10 million to 15 million middle class people expected to gain private insurance under the law. They would be eligible for federal subsidies, but premiums would get more expensive.
That would prevent a sudden jump in premiums. But it would leave consumers with no assurance that they can get health insurance when they Vans Burgundy Shoes
Insurers could continue screening out people with a history of medical problems; diabetes patients or cancer survivors, for example.
But the major GOP alternatives to Obama's law would not cover nearly as many uninsured, and it's unclear Mbt Tabia Sandals how much of a dent they would make in costs. Some liberals say Medicare for all, or government run health insurance, will emerge as the only viable answer if Obama's public private approach fails.
program. would get closer to other economically advanced countries that guarantee medical care for their citizens.
Some Republicans in Congress already are talking about passing anew the more popular pieces of the health law.
Studies suggest premiums in the individual health insurance market would jump by 10 percent to 30 percent.
leaves the rest of the Affordable Care Act in place?
WASHINGTON (AP) Some are already anticipating the Supreme Court's ruling on President Barack Obama's health care law as the "decision of the century." But the justices are unlikely to have the last word on America's tangled efforts to address health care woes. The problems of high medical costs, widespread waste, and tens of millions of people without insurance will require Congress and the president to keep looking for answers, whether or not the Affordable Care Act passes the test of constitutionality.
Experts debate whether or not that would trigger the collapse of the market for individuals and small businesses, or just make coverage even harder to afford than it is now. In any event, there would be risks to the health care system. Fewer people would sign up for coverage.
Q: What happens if the court strikes down the individual insurance requirement, but Skechers D'lites Pink
Unless there's a political deal to fix it, the complicated legislation would get harder to carry out. Congressional Republicans say they will keep pushing for repeal.
The clear winners if the law is upheld and allowed to take full effect would be uninsured people in the United States, estimated at more than 50 million.
Obama administration lawyers say the insurance requirement goes hand in hand with the coverage guarantee and cap on premiums, and have asked the court to get rid of both if it finds the mandate to be unconstitutional.
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