The world is watching for the news of the decision from the Supreme Court on whether Obamacare is constitutional. Whichever side of the debate the pundits are on, one thing is certain. When they appear on television to give their opinions and predictions, the end of the world is upon us. Very few people seem to be relaxed while they wait for the decision. So let’s take the possibilities step-by-step. The most extreme outcome would be for the Court to strike down the entire Act. This would rely on the majority finding that the introduction of the mandate undermines all the other provisions. This seems less likely but, if it happened, we would simply go back to the law as it applied before the Affordable Care Act was signed by the President. This is a known quantity and the only loss would be all the money spent on preparing for the new law to be implemented. The threat, of course, is that angry healthy people like you will simply stop buying any form of health insurance leaving only those who need treatment facing ever larger bills. No one says political protests have to be rational.
But suppose only the mandate is struck down. This would leave insurers bound to accept everyone with pre-existing conditions. When this was tried in Washington, health insurance quotes surged higher. Except, unlike Washington, Obamacare also includes a subsidy which helps those on lower incomes. So those most at risk would find their payments remaining affordable. States pick up the bill for keeping premium rates low. It also gives them an incentive to find ways of reduced medical costs.
But what if the Supreme Court finds Obamacare is constitutional? The mandate was been working well in Massachusetts and there’s no reason to believe it will not work equally well in the rest of the country. If people decide to make a political protest and refuse to buy health insurance plans, they will pay a tax penalty of either $695 or 2.5% of their income whichever is higher.