Richard Houskamp and the Brauers have differing views of the healtcare debate
GRAND RAPIDS (WZZM) - It's been a somewhat stressful week for some following the heated Supreme Court hearings on the Health Care Reform Law. Everyone from the uninsured to small business owners watched the arguments closely.
WZZM talked with two local people, both with a lot hanging on the high court's decision.
Ken and Linda Brauer of Rockford are an older, educated couple who never thought they'd find themselves unemployed and without health insurance.
Richard Houskamp is a local small business owner, who says if the law isn't overturned, he may have to outsource his work overseas in order to pay for higher insurance costs.
Both are pulling for different outcomes.
"It's really sad to think this could be overturned," said Linda Brauer.
She lobbies for mental health councils in the area, and has made multiple trips to Lansing recently to fight for broader coverage for neuropsychiatric disorders. But the Brauers have been living without their own coverage for two years. Ken lost his job awhile back. At first they paid into COBRA.
"I was sure we would get jobs within two months," said Linda.
But the two months turned into 18 months, and eventually they spent $18,000 on COBRA.
"We depleted the last of our savings paying for COBRA, so we would have portability when we did get new insurance, so that would cover pre-existing conditions, but that didn't work out," she said. "I don't mind if we have to pay the mandate. I would much rather do that than have no insurance."
The only plan that would cover Brauer's pre-existing conditions at their age requires a $10,000 deductible.
"We both have Master's Degrees and just didn't realize we would be in this place," said Linda.
"People think that this is about being responsible, and that everyone can get health care, but they can't, they can't get a job with full-time benefits when they're our age, it's really hard."
Court arguments signal the mandate is in grave danger of being struck down.
Houskamp, who runs web design and marketing company Neural Planet in Grand Rapids, says their arguments surprised him.
"I was more pessimistic. I was very concerned that the court was simply going to look the other way," he said.
"When we hear the justices recognizing that this is that severe, and that they have that level of concern, I think there's a very good chance it will be overturned," said Houskamp.
He listened intently because if the law isn't overturned, his health care costs will go up. But he has more to worry about.
"Our services with the online and business applications and software applications are typically one of the services that gets cut."
He has 11 employees and wants to add a few more this summer, but says he could end up with fewer all together.
"Because we produce software, we could produce it anywhere in the world. Our contingency plan is if the costs goes up to where it becomes unmanageable, we simply move positions overseas."
The Supreme Court's decision won't come until late June.
Those inside the hearings say it appears the majority of the court believes that if they rule the individual mandate unconstitutional, then the rest of the health care law probably cannot be saved.