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Obamacare survives: what it means for the future of health care

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Rick Newman joins Myles Udland, Brian Sozzi, and Julie Hyman to break down what's next for Obamacare after the Supreme Court made a 7-2 decision to uphold the law marking it the third defeat for Republicans battle against Obamacare.

Video Transcript

[MUSIC PLAYING]

JULIE HYMAN: Well, the Affordable Care Act yesterday withstood a third challenge before the Supreme Court. In a ruling 7 to 2, the Supreme Court upheld the act here.

And our Rick Newman is here with us now to talk about what happens next, if anything, now that the ACA seems to be-- you know, I don't know if there are any other Supreme Court challenges that are going to get thrown at it. I suspect that it's sort of played out at this point. So what happens now? Are we going to see kind of an evolution of it?

RICK NEWMAN: My guess is we're turning a corner as a country. And this could actually be important. So Republicans have tried to kill the ACA for 11 years since Congress passed it in 2010. They've lost three out of three times at the Supreme Court. But this has also turned into a political loser, because public opinion is shifting on this.

The favorability rating for the Affordable Care Act bottomed out at around 35% a few years ago. But now it's up to about 55%. People generally like it. And there's another thing that's happening, which is people do want the government to do more to help with health care.

I mean, we've seen a big shift on this during the last five or seven or 10 years. And I think this is in part because Bernie Sanders and some other people are talking about Medicare for All. But I think people just realize that we need to go a little further. We still have 30 million people who don't have health insurance. And we have about 40 million who do have health insurance, but they are what you call underinsured.

So their insurance still leaves them with heavy medical bills. So Congress, Biden has plans to expand the ACA to more people. Actually, there was a two year change to that effect in the ARP that passed in March. And Biden wants to do more. And more states are doing more too. So I think we are actually going to start making progress toward getting more people covered in this country.

JULIE HYMAN: And so what is that going to mean? I mean, there's also been still a lot of consternation over things like medical costs and bills for folks. And I wonder if there's going to be more acute targeted focus on that. We haven't had the prescription drug pricing discussion in a little while, but just generally the cost of health care continues to be quite high.

RICK NEWMAN: Well a lot of this is percolating in Congress right now. So there is legislation that would allow the federal government to negotiate drug prices under Medicare. That would have a big impact on drug prices. And there's another bill that would lower the eligibility age for Medicare from 65 to 60. And these are all these sort of incremental things that might happen in coming years just to get more people covered.

Now, the question is, are Democrats going to actually be able to pass anything like this, and how would they do that? I mean, I think that's really up in the air. The most likely thing might be that this does not happen during the next two years. And then if Democrats are lucky enough to hold on to their majorities in both houses of Congress, we could see it in the second half of Biden's presidency.

But remember, Biden himself did call for a so-called public option that would be similar to Medicare. He did not call for Medicare for all, but the public option. That would just be a new program as a kind of a last resort for more people. So this stuff doesn't happen fast in Washington. But I think we're just seeing a little bit of momentum for let's get a few more people covered here.

JULIE HYMAN: Yeah, we'll see what happens. We'll kind of need to keep covering it for us. Thank you, Rick Newman, appreciate it.