Affordable Care Act

The Supreme Court, in a five-four decision, upheld the individual mandate in the Affordable Care Act. The justices ruled that the individual mandate is unconstitutional under the commerce clause, but can go ahead as a tax.

The individual mandate requires that all people must buy health insurance. For insurance companies, that means they’ll be getting a large, new pool of customers. In Wyoming, 17-percent of the population is currently uninsured, compared to a nationwide average of 16-percent.  

Analysts predict that the Supreme Court’s decision upholding most of the Affordable Care Act will strengthen President Barack Obama’s position for reelection this November. Obama’s critics had charged that the healthcare law was unconstitutional, but, the court’s ruling now effectively removes that line of argument.

Jim King is a professor of political science at the University of Wyoming. He says Republicans will continue criticizing the content of the law, but will most likely use the healthcare act as a means of energizing voters.

Wyoming's Congressional leaders are voicing their disdain for the Supreme Court’s decision to uphold most of the Affordable Care Act.

Senator John Barrasso says despite the court’s ruling, the law is unworkable, unpopular, and bad for patients, providers and taxpayers. And he urged voters to remove elected officials in order to repeal the law.

Wyoming’s largest health insurer Blue Cross Blue Shield says they’re unsure what effects will be felt in the state should the Supreme Court strike down the Affordable Care Act.

Wendy Curran is with Blue Cross Blue Shield. She says the insurance giant has been working hard to get up-to-date with provisions laid out by the ACA. However, should the act be struck down, she says many of the acts provisions would likely remain. But all eyes are on one key provision:

A series of town hall meeting around the state will be held to glean public opinion on healthcare exchanges - a set of state regulated, standardized healthcare plans from which individuals may purchase insurance that’s eligible for federal subsidies.

Elizabeth Hoy serves as the Governor’s Health Policy Advisor. She says the meetings are being held because the Affordable Care Act, or ACA, requires states to create health exchanges, where consumers can shop for competitive rates for health insurance.

Hoy says many small businesses are on board with the changes.

New proposals by state and federal officials might help authorities crack down on fraudulent and insolvent insurance trusts.

On Monday, the Department of Labor announced that new regulations under the Affordable Care Act would give the agency more power to oversee associations composed of multiple employers. They’re called MEWA’s for short.

The Joint Labor, Health and Social Services interim committee will also meet to discuss a proposed bill that aims to provide the state’s insurance department more authority over health insurance trusts and plans.

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