A celebration, or a dubious anniversary, either way you view it, the second anniversary of the national health care overhaul ramps up the controversy just ahead of Supreme Court oral arguments on its constitutionality.
Count Sen. Mike Johanns as a harsh critic of the measure officially named the Affordable Care Act and derisively called Obamacare by opponents.
Johanns worries about the cost of the law. The Congressional Budget Office has estimated the law will cost $1.76 trillion over the next ten years. The Obama Administration had estimated its cost at around $900 billion. Johanns predicts the cost will actually exceed $2 trillion over the decade.
The senator expects millions to actually lose insurance over the next few years, at least lose the insurance they now have. He predicts corporations will dump health care for employees, forcing them into various health exchanges, as a way to reduce costs.
Johanns hopes the Supreme Court strikes down the law. Some suggest the court could strike down the mandate that everyone must buy health insurance, yet uphold the law. Johanns says such a split ruling would create chaos. He says that would allow people to opt out of paying, but take advantage of the law’s requirement that pre-existing conditions cannot disqualify anyone from buying health insurance.
“You could literally wait until you broke your arm, you could wait until you are diagnosed with cancer, you could self-finance your health care until the day that somebody says you need a heart transplant and then you could buy insurance that day,” Johanns tells Nebraska Radio Network.
Johanns says a court ruling against the bill would allow Congress to start over. He says the federal government could consider alternatives dismissed during debate over the bill, such as allowing small businesses to form larger pools of employees to reduce the cost of health care, emphasizing wellness to reduce health care needs and reforming medical malpractice.
Twenty-six states, including Nebraska, have filed a lawsuit asking the courts to overturn the law. The Supreme Court begins hearing oral arguments in the lawsuit Monday. It has set aside three days of oral arguments.
AUDIO: Brent Martin reports [:45]
AUDIO: Brent Martin interviews Sen. Mike Johanns on healthcare law anniversary [10 min.]