Chief Justice John Roberts

We are halfway through our sophomore year when it comes to Healthcare Reform (what it actually is: healthcare finance reform). 2011 was the genesis of our freshman year. That was when we learned how to say PPACA (puh-pack-uh) and ARRA (arr-ugh). Some may have even learned how to spell: layoff, wage freeze, job insecurity, commission cuts, and the like.

If you are like me, you’d rather not relive your freshman year. I spent a lot of time trying to figure out how to fit in, afford the price tag of designer clothes, and discern who my real friends were. I guess that’s not too different than playing healthcare politics today, is it? Fast forward to this sophomoric year, pun intended. SCOTUS (aka, the Supreme Court of the United States) knows we only have one thing on our brains–we all want to hike up the skirt of the justices’ robes and see to what, if anything, we have to look forward.

If we could take a sneak peak under their wraps we would be revealed the following… we will have to wait until school is out for the summer in late June:

1. Is SCOTUS within the confines of the constitution to make determinations prior to 2014?

My professional opinion is no. Whether the assessed fee is determined to be a penalty or a tax is the question. If the law is upheld, a penalty cannot be ruled on until it occurs. And a 2014 penalty wouldn’t happen until filed…which would be in 2015. If it’s deemed to be a tax, rather, the federal Anti-injunction Act ties their hands until the tax actually goes into effect.

What I am saying is, we have to wait until it’s broken to fix it. Wait, isn’t that the current model of healthcare in this country? Reaction instead of proaction? Thank Sebelius for perpetuating this already existing flaw with her wisdom of ‘let’s just pass it and then figure out what’s in it.’

2. Is the individual mandate legal or does it violate a citizens constitutional right?

Personally and professionally, I am in favor of this one. Currently, the individual mandate is $95 in 2014 and up to $695 in 2016, and then ultimately will be based on your income…is that birth control enough to shift the paradigm of a sickcare nation to a fiscally responsible one? I don’t think so. It is a start, however, so those of us who do maintain coverage are not penalized by providers…as much…by them charging even higher premiums to us to help offset the services they are mandated to provide those even without health insurance. I associate it with the fine for not maintaining financial liability on one’s car.

3. Is it an all or none or a la carte law?

To bundle or not to bundle; that is the question. Since this mandate is supposed to make the market flush ( I don’t know what actuary confirmed this since there is no historical data from which to base this and our government is known for being so precise when estimating the cost of doing business) with premium to pay for these claims…ya know, for all these covered pre-existing health conditions beginning in 2014, that will flood the market since the Act will no longer require medical underwriting.

So, what will our Nebulous Nine do?

1. Strike it all. Toss the baby out with the bath water. Not a real baby, folks. The entire law. Ask Congress to try again.

2. Keep it all. Keep on trying to reactively fix a problem that started by reacting to a problem. Um, I mean, uphold this law. Deal with the consequences of it later.

3. Red line the mandate and carry on.