In his remarks, part of the opening plenary of the National Council’s 42nd annual Conference and Expo in Chicago, former South Dakota Senator Tom Daschle stated his confidence that the insurance mandate in the Affordable Care Act will be approved by the Supreme Court.\
“There is ample reason to believe that the insurance mandate will stand just as Congressional mandates have done in the past,” he said, citing “similar mandates, such as the requirement that all Americans purchase Social Security as a required retirement insurance plan.” He added that Medicare Part A is based on a similar mandate. Given these, he felt that the ACA insurance mandate was supported by “ample Constitutional precedent.”
With or without a Supreme Court ruling, however, Daschle said that “there will be a mandate.” He stated that this would be either the ACA’s new mandate, or the community mandate that exists today as all who hold insurance pay the additional costs for those who do not. “This,” he said, “has existed for some time.”
Daschle’s hope for a favorable Supreme Court’s decision on the ACA is also bolstered by what he says would be “the cataclysmic impact” of any decision to reverse it. The ACA, he said, has already impacted the lives of over 100 million Americans through a range of its provisions: the end to lifetime limits, the end of exclusions due to pre-existing conditions, closure of the Medicare “donut hole,” and the extension of coverage for young people to age 26 on their parent’s insurance policies.
Later in his remarks, Daschle joked about the likelihood of a long and winding road ahead for health reform, a path down which he says the ACA will advance the US “just about 30 percent.” He quoted former British prime minister Winston Churchill who once stated, “the Americans will do the right thing, but only after they’ve exhausted every other possibility.”