NALC applauds Supreme Court victory for Obama health plan

July 3, 2012 — Last week, the U.S. Supreme Court rejected efforts to invalidate President Obama’s historic health care law that will extend health insurance coverage to nearly 30 million Americans between now and 2014. Right-wing opponents of the legislation asked the Court to throw out the law enacted in 2010 as an unconstitutional use of power by the national government.  By a 5-4 vote, the Court upheld the legislation, preserving reforms that are already benefiting NALC members, including a provision that allows children to stay on their parents’ health plan until the age of 26 and a provision that eliminates the so-called ‘donut hole’ in the Medicare Part D program that saves seniors thousands of dollars on prescription drug costs.

The Court’s decision means that progress toward universal health coverage in America will continue.  But it also sets the stage for the 2012 elections that will ultimately decide whether all citizens in the United States will finally be guaranteed insurance against illness and injuries. Republicans have vowed to repeal the Obama health care law if they win control of the Senate and the White House in November.  Mitt Romney, the Republican nominee for president, has said he would move to repeal the law on “Day One” of his administration if he wins.  And the GOP-controlled House of Representatives has scheduled a vote to repeal the law on July 11, even though it already voted to repeal the law earlier this year – and despite the fact that there is no chance that the Senate would follow suit this year.

The GOP opposition is ironic since the Obama plan is modeled on a plan developed by the conservative Heritage Foundation in the early 1990s that Republicans advocated as an alternative to President Clinton’s reform plan.  That Heritage plan also served as the blueprint for the bipartisan health care law adopted in Massachusetts when Mitt Romney was its governor.

NALC President Fred Rolando noted that the decision was a victory for working people, but warned that the victory would not be complete until November: “The Court did the right thing today,” he said, “but this fight is not over – working people and their unions must spare no effort to elect progressive representatives to ensure universal health insurance for all will finally be achieved.”

For decades, America’s hybrid public-private health care system has left as many as 15% of Americans without insurance, relying on emergency room services and inadequate public health facilities for even basic health care. The system’s inefficiency has raised America’s health care costs to twice the level of most other advanced countries.  Letter carriers and other workers with insurance coverage have been paying for the health care costs of the uninsured through higher premiums for decades. The Obama health care law, though imperfect, will help address these serious flaws and end the greatest source of inequality in American life.  It will also end the problem of free riders by imposing an individual mandate and prohibit the worst abuses of the private insurance market (pre-existing condition clauses, annual and lifetime caps, etc.).

The Affordable Care Act of 2010 was the culmination of a 75-year struggle by the American labor movement and progressive Democrats to secure health care for all Americans.  President Franklin Roosevelt proposed to expand the universal state pension scheme (Social Security) to cover health care costs in the 1930s but Republicans blocked President Truman’s attempt to do so in the 1940s. Progress was made in the 1960s when President Johnson created the Medicare program for the elderly and the Medicaid program for the poor, but those programs still left millions of working Americans without coverage if their employers did not offer a health plan. President Clinton proposed universal coverage through an employer mandate in the 1990s — but Republicans objected to requiring businesses to offer coverage, claiming to favor a system based on an individual mandate that required citizens to buy private health insurance on their own if their employers did not offer coverage.

The Obama plan enacted in 2010 provides for both an employer mandate (for firms with more than 50 employees) and an individual mandate to buy insurance, but offers both workers and small businesses financial assistance to pay for premiums and sets up regulated exchanges that requires insurance plans to compete for enrollees at the state level.  Although much of the labor movement favored a public “single-payer” plan like Medicare for all citizens, the complex Obama plan gained widespread support among unions as a huge step forward for millions of Americans.

Most Republicans have shifted sharply to the libertarian right and now no longer support universal coverage at all. Talk of “repeal and replace” has morphed into simple “repeal.”  The GOP leadership offers empty, poll-tested jargon about “patient-centered” health care and “common sense” reforms to disguise the fact that they have no plan for affordable, universal health care.  Indeed, Republican Senate Leader Mitch McConnell admitted that covering the 30 million Americans who are uninsured is “not the issue” as far as he is concerned.

Over the past two years conservative Super PACs funded by billionaires and large corporations have spent a quarter billion dollars to spread disinformation about “Obamacare,” driving support for the law downwards even as its individual provisions garner strong support. But once Americans realize that group coverage at work satisfies the unpopular  “individual mandate” and that ending the abuse of insurance by free riders who don’t buy insurance until they get sick will hill help reduce inflation in health care premiums, support for the law is expected to grow

15 thoughts on “NALC applauds Supreme Court victory for Obama health plan

  1. Continue to work hard?? When will they start?

    Wingman- you say it is the same demographic that was oppossed to social security and medicare. Last I checked, both of those are going broke, if they are not already. You think Nobamacare won’t end up the same way-collapsing under its own weight?
    Why does it take a bill of over 2000 pages just to give us “health care?” Because, as all thinking people know, its not about health care, its about control. All of the communist countries use the platform of health care to control the population. No difference here. The democraps don’t want you to be on your own, they want control.

  2. I am a middle class democrate and i like sitting on the porch of the home i own.Working in a union job that supports fair wages and benefits with dignity .Is`nt this the american dream?Vote democrat this november and let them continue to work hard to offer you a chance at your dream!

  3. Pat ,if money is the root of all evil and as you say, most republicans are rich,then we must believe republicans are evil!

  4. Wingman…do you actually believe anything you say? The insurance companies supported this tax with back door chicanery from your beloved democrat party.

    Your an idiot to say the least!

  5. Actually, it was Pharmco, the legalized dope dealers, that drafted the socialist legislation. If you think the Unaffordable Health Care is free, check out the CBO scoring on this miserable bill. Just following the union’s propaganda is not educating yourself. Romney over this crap any day of the week.

  6. “bj” and ERICKA:
    Do you work here dummy?
    The “new” health care will be offered through “exchanges” which mirrors OUR HEALTH CARE “MENU” from OPM…
    What’s wrong with you???
    Those people who already HAVE healthcare insurance will continue on with it while their carrier adjusts to ALL of the new mandates….ALL health insurance companies already offer the expanded coverage elements required by the NEW LAW, WITH MINIMAL INCREASED EXPENSE.
    Ahhhhhhhhhh….I love it…..Hows that “John Roberts” workin out fer ya???

  7. The U.S. has the most expensive health-care costs in the world, but only about the 17th best care in the world…maybe this will help, at least many uninsured won’t be using E-rooms for basic health-care services since they will have to pay a penalty (or tax, call it whatever you want to). Hopefully they will take advantage for insurance assistance.

  8. WINGMAN: It was the insurance companies that help craft Obamacare. They are going to make a killing. They will get all these new mostly young customers. More profit. The hospitals will make out the best. Why do you think their stocks rallied after the SC decision. It is the biggest tax increase in the history of man. I agree with tj that you just lost your freedom.
    About the NALC backing this. It figures they backed Obama and Dem. senator’s who stabbed the letter carriers in the back with 5 day delivery and that postal reform bill. Throw them all out.

  9. Ref: Wingman…your a dumba$$…innovation has better and more quickly without govt involvement…fool.

  10. You stupid mindless useful idiots, yes you! Happy Dependence Day you fools…this Bill is just another step closer to losing your liberty, but you are too stupid to realize it…Just more of your freedom lost to the powers that wish to control you and you gladly follow as mindless sheep. So sad to see so many great americans willfully give up their freedom for a empty promise…you think health care will be free?? those that can’t afford it are going to get if for free?? Everyone on health care for free??…Nothing is free, those tha work and pay taxes, will pay the bill for those that can’t afford it, no problem right?? Those that have HC will be limited in seriveces provided, watch and see…rationing will have to take place for all to recieve the utopia that you think you will live in…fools.

  11. If republicans are so incredibly stupid, why are they the only ones that are rich. ( as liberals seem to believe )

  12. If the fierce opposition by the GOP against people having affordable health insurance doesn’t convince voters that they (the Republicans) are squarely in the pockets of giant insurance companies and have no concern for anybody beyond their owners in big business, nothing will. There is no excuse for any working man or woman to be against having affordable insurance. They simply listen to FOX, Limbaugh and other Republican whores who call it a tax and believe whatever they’ve been told.
    It’s the same demographic that was opposed to Social Security in the mid 1930’s and Medicare in the 1960’s. Just try taking those entitlements away from them.
    Republicans have always relied on their voting base to be staunchly opposed to any new ideas, progress and forward thinking of any kind. A typical Republican voter lives in fear of his world. He doesn’t read much, has no interest in expanding his understanding of the world around him, and is extremely fearful and hateful toward anything not intimately familiar, regardless of how damaging that issue can be.
    When it comes to human evolution, new technologies and leaps forward in all matter of science, engineering and other worthy pursuits, it’s always the Republican lawmakers who try to kill the funding and the voters have to be drug along kicking and screaming every step of the way because too many of them are too stupid to have to exert any effort to try to learn something new. Only when they’re left with no alternatives does progress move forward. It’s a wonder we even have computers, smart phones and the like. If the pace of technology had been up to our Republican voters, we’d still be sending telegraphs.

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