As some lawmakers continue to attack the Affordable Care Act through lawsuits, legal challenges, hearings and votes of repeal, industry experts wonder whether these anti-ACA efforts will lead to a single-payer, government-run insurance system.
The U.S. Supreme Court's decision in the Hobby Lobby case allowing closely-held companies to avoid covering certain contraceptive services could serve as the beginning of the end of employer-sponsored insurance. It exposes the ACA as "messy" and gives employers power to determine what benefits their employees receive, reported MedPage Today.
Princeton Economics Professor Uwe Reinhardt agreed, saying the decision raises the question of why employers have "quasi-parental power" to choose employees' benefits.
Another case, Halbig v. Sebelius, awaiting a ruling from a U.S. Appeals Court in the District of Columbia Circuit also could impact the future of the nation's health insurance system.
That case alleges that the federal health insurance exchange doesn't actually allow subsidies to help consumers pay for their coverage. If the plaintiffs win, it "would be another huge blow to relying on private health insurance to make affordable coverage available to most Americans," Bob Doherty, senior vice president for governmental affairs and public policy at the American College of Physicians (ACP) wrote Friday on the ACP's blog.
"When future historians write the history of healthcare reform in the United States, they may very well report that Obamacare was a stepping stone to single-payer ... because conservative opposition to Obamacare ended up destroying employer-based private insurance, leaving the government as the only remaining payer," he added.