When President Obama writes his memoirs, he will surely point to Nov. 14, 2011 as one of the worst days of his presidency. That's when the U.S. Supreme Court announced it would hear legal challenges against the Administration's sweeping overhaul of the United States' health care system. Administration officials spent thousands of hours horse-trading with various members of Congress, ultimately producing a document which, according to one recent poll, roughly two-thirds of voters would like to see altered or overturned.
For more conservative voters, the legislation smacks of government overreach and a loss of personal liberty. For liberal voters, the overhaul didn't go far enough, leaving too many profits on the table for private insurers, as the "public option" component was negotiated out of existence.
Of course the Supreme Court won't simply hand down a ruling based on a poll of current voter preferences. Instead, the justices will look at various aspects of the legislation and determine whether any or all aspects need to be rolled back.
With a ruling expected on or before June 25, it's time to prep your portfolio for the various possible outcomes. (The Supreme Court holds its press conference on Thursday, June 14, leading many to expect an official announcement to come on June 14 or June 21 and not June 25, which is the last day of the current session.)
$938 billion must be found somewhere
The effort to expand health care insurance to all eligible citizens would cost nearly $1 trillion, according to the Congressional Budget Office. To pay for the legislation, the government would save money or raise revenue by:
• Reducing payments to Medicaid and Medicare providers ($320 billion in savings)
• Boosting taxes on medical devices and insurers ($100 billion)
• Adding transaction-based taxes to hospitals ($210 billion)
• Placing a "Cadillac Tax" on wealthy citizens ($30 billion)
• Penalizing citizens that don't buy mandatory insurance ($70 billion)
• Reducing benefits in Medicare C , also known as "Medicare Advantage" ($130 billion)
• Other streamlining that yields roughly $190 billion in savings.