Books read in 2012: 21/50
Q: What happens if the court strikes down the requirement that everyone must have insurance, but leaves the rest of the Affordable Care Act in place?
A: People would have no obligation to carry insurance, but insurers would remain bound by the law to accept applicants regardless of medical condition and limit what they charge their oldest and sickest customers.
Studies suggest premiums in the individual health insurance market would jump by 10 percent to 30 percent.
Experts debate whether or not that would trigger the collapse of the market for individuals and small businesses, or just make coverage even harder to afford than it is now. In any event, there would be risks to the health care system. Fewer people would sign up for coverage.
The insurance mandate was primarily a means to an end, a way to create a big pool of customers and allow premiums to remain affordable. Other forms of arm-twisting could be found, including limited enrollment periods and penalties for late sign-up, but such approaches probably would require congressional cooperation.
Unless there's a political deal to fix it, the complicated legislation would get more difficult to carry out. Congressional Republicans say they will keep pushing for repeal.
Without the mandate, millions of uninsured low-income people still would get coverage through the law's Medicaid expansion. The problem would be the 10 million to 15 million middle class people expected to gain private insurance under the law. They would be eligible for federal subsidies, but premiums would get more expensive.
Taxes, Medicare cuts and penalties on employers not offering coverage would stay in place.
My posts are slow, and basically irrelevant now. Looks like everything stands.