By William H. Maruca, Esquire
The newly Republican-controlled House of Representatives voted 245-189 on January 19, 2011 to repeal the controversial 2010 healthcare reform law, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA). Two federal courts have held it unconstitutional, and three others have upheld it. While no one seriously expects this vote to spell the end of what its opponents call “Obamacare,” the PPACA will remain a political football this year and into the next, and the judiciary, not the legislative branch, is more likely to have the final word.
Many provisions of the law are highly popular with voters: coverage of children under their parents’ plans to age 26; elimination of pre-existing condition coverage restrictions and lifetime caps; phase-out of the “doughnut hole” in Medicare drug coverage; and elimination of co-pays for certain preventative care, for starters. Other provisions are highly unpopular, particularly the “individual mandate” requiring the uninsured to buy coverage; the financial penalties that kick in after 2013 on certain employers who do not provide basic coverage to their full time employees; and the expansion of Form 1099 tax reporting requirements, a provision that nobody likes but which was included as a way to help fund the bill’s price tag. Some critics claim the law simply does too little to rein in runaway healthcare costs.
Here’s a look at the various challenges to the law, their possible outcomes, and their potential impact on healthcare in the U.S.