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Informing Policy. Advancing Health.

From Our CEO

From Our CEO

July 3, 2012

Big hurdles for Olympians and the ACA

My friend and I have a running joke about the Olympics. Every four years we recall what we know about minute details of arcane sports.  Then we get smart on even more minutia, the deductions on balance beam routines or the nuances of underwater kicks coming off a backstroke turn. In fact, we amass just enough knowledge to not only know the rules but to express opinions about such matters. Throughout the trials and Olympic Games, we banter about things and chide each other about performances in which, frankly, we have such limited expertise our opinions should be ruled null and void.

Then, we forget just about everything. After all, 2016 is a long way off.

Such was my experience with the U.S. Supreme Court ruling. Or, at least parts of it. 

I’ve never taken a class on constitutional law. Yet here we are discussing, parsing and opining on anti-injunction issues, the fallacy of the commerce clause argument and whether a tax is a tax if it’s not called one. No one, it seems, is without opinions on such matters.

If my track record is any indication, I will be hard-pressed to remember what I know about these issues at the end of the summer and certainly not by the time 2016 rolls around.

But I will remember the sum total of the ruling itself. And no matter what side of the argument you find yourself on, the ruling brought an end to the constitutional argument about the Affordable Care Act. The mandate stands, Medicaid expansions are optional and the rest of the enormous piece of legislation is constitutional and can proceed.

The ACA now faces hurdles in less lofty spheres, in the trenches of implementation. The political season is swinging into high gear and “repeal” is the option often offered by conservative candidates. The political debate will be equally as fascinating and important as the Supreme Court decision. National and state elections will play a critical role in whether the ACA will be implemented. 

Our attention shifts to what’s next.