Retirees may pay about $20,000 more for medical care if the U.S. Supreme Court overturns the 2010 health care overhaul, according to a report from Fidelity Investments. Passage of the health law saved money for seniors, who among other benefits gained additional coverage for prescription drugs and free preventative care. The cost of losing those benefits, should the court overturn the law, would be about $20,000 before their deaths, according to Sunit Patel, senior vice president for Fidelity Benefits Consulting and the leader of the project.
The Supreme Court is weighing whether the law’s requirement that most Americans have health insurance is constitutional, and if not, how much of the law to overturn. Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, the likely Republican nominee for president in November’s election, has said he would repeal the entire law “as quickly as possible” should he take office. According to Bloomberg News, the court may preserve the drug benefit for seniors, which closes the gap in Medicare’s coverage for prescription medicines known as the “doughnut hole”. About 78 percent of people polled by the Kaiser Family Foundation in April said they held a favorable view of that provision. “We have a dollar figure in hand on how much more seniors are likely to pay if health care reform is struck down or repealed,” said Barbara Easterling, President of the Alliance for Retired Americans. “It is just plain wrong to say the repeal would benefit seniors.” stated Easterling.