HHS Secretary: If Supreme Court Rules Against Obamacare, Many Benefits Would ‘Cease to Exist'

June 8, 2012 - 9:36 AM

Kathleen Sebelius

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius (CNSNews.com/Penny Starr)

(CNSNews.com) – At a town hall-style meeting at the White House on Thursday, Obama administration officials touted the benefits for women’s health afforded by the Affordable Care Act – benefits Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said would “cease to exist” if the U.S. Supreme Court overturns the law.

“Much of what we’ve described here today would cease to exist,” Sebelius said to a gathering of mostly female supporters and journalists. “Young adults on their parents’ plan would no longer be the law. Insurance companies could go back to rescission (contract-cancelling) policies, could continue to charge women significantly more than men.

“There would not be assistance for a new market without pre-existing health conditions,” Sebelius said. “And that would not be the law any place in the country.”

The event was staged to give Sebelius and other Obama administration officials, including senior advisor Valerie Jarrett, the opportunity to showcase the benefits already in place since President Barack Obama signed the bill into law in 2010, including allowing children up to age 26 to stay on their parents’ health insurance plan.

The portions of the law that will not go into effect until 2014 were also touted at the event, including the establishment of “markets” in states around the country for purchasing health care – a purchase mandated by Obamacare.

Sebelius’ remarks were in response to a question from a  reporter, who called the Supreme Court case the “dark cloud” hanging over the otherwise cheerleading session in support of Obamacare.

“I would say we still remain confident and optimistic that this change in the law was well within the purview of Congress,” Sebelius said. “It fits into about 70 years of expansion of the Commerce Clause and, really - as we’ve discussed today - people who are outside the health market impact the health market each and every day by not having or not purchasing insurance influences the price of the marketplace.”

In the meantime, Sebelius said the Obama administration is “working as hard as we can to get ready for 2014.”

“We think that it’s the best preparation to anticipate that the law is really constitutional and that people are eager to be eligible for these new marketplaces,” Sebelius said.

Another reporter followed up with a question about the fate of the portions of Obamacare that have already been implemented.

“Much of what we’ve described here today would cease to exist,” Sebelius said. “Young adults on their parents’ plan would no longer be the law. Insurance companies could go back to recession policies, could continue to charge women significantly more than men.

“There would not be assistance for a new market without pre-existing health conditions,” Sebelius said. “And that would not be the law any place in the country.

“So it has a pretty cataclysmic impact along the way because really we’ve had two years of implementation, and millions of Americans have preventive service benefits, have contraception as part of their health plan and have the ability to get immunizations for their kids without co-pays,” Sebelius said. “We assume that the court would strike that down and those would cease to be the law of the land.”