In an interview with Talking Points Memo, a ULCA law professor said that opponents of the 2010 Affordable Care Act might celebrate a victory if the Supreme Court declares parts of it unconstitutional but it will be short lived as alternatives are presented.
The prospect of moving toward a more liberal, government-controlled health care system is fraught with political peril, and therefore far from inevitable, but may wind up being the only way to prevent the demise of the unsustainable, existing system from leaving many more millions without access to health care. Without a mechanism like an individual mandate to cover the uninsured and tackle the free-rider problem, health care costs are set to rise at an unsustainable rate and compel potentially drastic action from Congress.
“Conservatives may find that they weren’t careful about what they wished for in opposing ‘Obamacare,’” Adam Winkler, a constitutional law professor at UCLA School of Law, told TPM. “The economic, social and political pressure for health care reform aren’t going to just disappear. There’s a reason every major industrialized country has national health care. If the Supreme Court invalidates the Affordable Care Act, we are likely to see a government takeover of health care in the next decade.”
In that scenario, progressives could turn to two alternatives that have proven successful at lowering costs in other countries: A single-payer plan a la Medicare but for everyone, or a two-tier system in which private and public insurers compete. Both concepts are anathema to Republicans, but their constitutionality is not in doubt — and the GOP has been unable to devise a replacement plan, which could give liberals ammunition for their cause.
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