Stand down, everybody. Or at least the several dozen of us who were waiting with bated breath for news on whether the Supreme Court would issue its decision today on the federal health overhaul also known as Obamacare.
But one can never be too prepared, right? The Associated Press has just put out a lovely run-down of several possible permutations of the impending court decision. (I can just imagine the newsroom discussion. Editor: What’s going to happen with the Supreme Court decision? Reporter: Nobody knows. Editor: Well, write something forward-looking anyway.)
It’s worth reading the whole thing, but here are some of the beautifully brief bottom lines:
Q: What if the Supreme Court upholds the law and finds Congress was within its authority to require most people to have health insurance or pay a penalty?
A: That would settle the legal argument, but not the political battle.
Q: On the other hand, what if the court strikes down the entire law?
A: Many people would applaud, polls suggest.
Q: What happens if the court strikes down the individual insurance requirement, but leaves the rest of the Affordable Care Act in place?
A: Individuals 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.
Q: What if the court strikes down the mandate and also invalidates the parts of the law that require insurance companies to cover people regardless of medical problems and that limit what they can charge older people?
A: Many fewer people would get covered, but the health insurance industry would avoid a dire financial hit.