WASHINGTON (June 28, 2012) — The R Street Institute, a free market think tank that specializes in insurance issues, welcomed today’s decision by the U.S. Supreme Court on the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act’s so-called “individual mandate” for providing clarity to health insurance markets.

While we believe the individual mandate was not properly structured and that Congress should have pursued alternative means to expand health insurance coverage, we also think it promotes individual responsibility for health care and was within Congress’ power to create.

R Street also welcomed the court’s decision constraining the federal government’s power to unilaterally expand Medicaid, which has always been built upon a partnership with the states.

“The health care reform genie is out of the bottle and there is no way to get it back in,” said R Street Associate Fellow Lawrence Mirel, the former insurance commissioner of Washington, D.C. and one of the nation’s foremost experts in insurance law. “Regardless of the problems with the Affordable Care Act — and there are many — much of the new law has already been implemented and has created expectations that providers, employers, insurers and users alike rely on.”

“There is no way to revert to what we had before,” Mirel said. “The old system was fundamentally flawed because far too many Americans did not have access to it.  Whatever the issues with the new system, the basic structure is sound and the parts that prove unworkable can and will be fixed by further administrative actions and legislation.”

In the wake of the decision, R Street encourages Congress to move forward to correct other problems inherent in the U.S. health care system, including the unsustainable growth of entitlements spending and, more generally, the lack of effective controls on spiraling health care costs.

“Although PPACA contained some good ideas — including the exchanges and a move away from employer-provided health care — the medical insurance system still needs improvements and the bill needs major changes,” said R Street President Eli Lehrer “With this ruling, the Supreme Court has made it clear that those changes should be made by the people’s elected representatives in Congress.”

R Street is a non-profit public policy research organization that supports free markets; limited, effective government; and responsible environmental stewardship. It has headquarters in Washington, D.C. and branch offices in Tallahassee, Fla.; Austin,Texas; and Columbus, Ohio. R Street’s co-founders previously were the staff of the Heartland Institute’s Center on Finance, Insurance and Real Estate. Its website is www.redesign.rstreet.org.

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