By: Dan Abramson
The Ruling on Obamacare Explained (By Someone Who Doesn’t Understand the Ruling on Obamacare)
Depending on when you checked CNN or Fox News, you may have heard that the Affordable Care Act (affectionally deemed Obamacare) was upheld by the Supreme Court. Lots of people were talking about this, Twitter literally exploded and the News was all over it when they weren’t fucking it up. So what does it all mean? Let’s find out! Full disclosure: I have no idea what I’m talking about.
Q: So does this mean that everyone in this country has health care?
A: Everyone who wants it.
Q: What if I don’t want it?
A: No problem at all. That just means that Barack Obama will personally see to it that you are deported and sent to China where you’ll learn the importance of a socialist society. If you hide, he will find you. If you last a few months off the grid and he is reelected, he will make your capture the sole purpose of his next term. You will be banished from this great nation, which will now be known as “China 2.”
A: No. You’ll just have to pay a tax.
Q: Yeah, what was that about? I know I heard something about that being an important stipulation.
A: Yup. Not really sure what the difference between an added tax is versus the fine you would have had to pay, but whatever, it lets this stay constitutional, which is the key here.
Q: Okay, okay. What about those death panels? Is that like jury duty? Am I going to have to serve on those?
A: For fucks sake.
Q: What else was upheld?
A: Lots of things!
Q: Like what?
A: Oh, I don’t know. The bill was like 2700 pages long. I can’t even make it through tweets without checking my email.
Q: That’s more of a comment on society and another article in itself, no?
A: Cool it. This is my Q&A and I’ll ask the questions.
A: Sorry. You’re right. You ask them. Now, you said something about what else was upheld.
A: Ummm, let’s see ‘Oh! Insurers are banned from denying coverage to someone with a pre-existing condition.
Q: Like cancer?
A: Like cancer!
Q: Oh great, now everyone’s going to go out and get cancer just because they can now.
A: We can only hope! See Figure 1 for how this will play out in the fears of conservatives.
These sorts of explanations always have charts and graphs and such
Q: What about that whole thing about kids sucking on their parents’ teat?
A: I’m assuming you’re referring to the fact that insurers are forced to offer health coverage for policyholders’ children who are the under the age of 26.
Q: What?! Slackers?!
A: C’mon. In this market it’s not like it’s a given that college grads will get a job after school. Did you have a job after you graduated?
Q: You know I’m a fictional person you made up, right?
A: STOP STALLING DID YOU HAVE A JOB OR DIDN’T YOU HAVE A JOB?
Q: You know full well that I didn’t! You’re just projecting! Now lay off!
Q: Is there anything else?
A: Probably. Here’s a paragraph from the SCOTUS blog that probably breaks it down better than I could:
In Plain English: The Affordable Care Act, including its individual mandate that virtually all Americans buy health insurance, is constitutional. There were not five votes to uphold it on the ground that Congress could use its power to regulate commerce between the states to require everyone to buy health insurance. However, five Justices agreed that the penalty that someone must pay if he refuses to buy insurance is a kind of tax that Congress can impose using its taxing power. That is all that matters. Because the mandate survives, the Court did not need to decide what other parts of the statute were constitutional, except for a provision that required states to comply with new eligibility requirements for Medicaid or risk losing their funding. On that question, the Court held that the provision is constitutional as long as states would only lose new funds if they didn't comply with the new requirements, rather than all of their funding.
Q: Awesome! I think I got that.
A: Wonderful. If you didn't, here's a picture of Joe Biden to distract you.
Awesome! So now we're all caught up.