On a personal level I'm quite pleased with the ruling from the Supreme Court recently upholding the Constitutionality of Obama Care. The reason is because I think it provides a path for doing some of the things I've dreamed of doing, but was concerned I'd never be able to do.
Here's one. I've thought about how fun it would be to hike the Appalachian Trail. But I kind of feel like I can't do it. Why? I'd probably have to be willing to quit my job, and that would mean I wouldn't have subsidized health care from my employer. In the US you have to always have health care. If you don't and you develop a pre-existing condition you're screwed. I suppose you could get a cheaper policy, but those have their own risks, like high, unaffordable deductibles.
Basically I think walking away from your job before you hit Medicare age is tough. You can do it if you have a ton of money and can either afford your own policy or afford to pay out of pocket for medical expenses should they arise. It's obviously possible to do it, but it's risky for those that don't have a lot of money.
But now it seems to me that it will be possible. I have young kids and I won't be retiring any time soon. They need to finish college first and I really want to see them do it without graduating with a mountain of crushing debt. Also I have a house, and along with that I have a house payment. But I'm estimating that both of those expenses will be behind me when I'm 51 years old.
Less space means less utility cost, less maintenance cost. It means I can live on a smaller income.
Suppose I could live on an income of $25K/yr. I think that's doable when you aren't consuming unnecessary things. When I'm 51 I'll have saved enough to draw that kind of income from my 401k savings. How much would health care cost me? If I'm reading this right it's $291/yr (since I'm married). Not the $14K/yr or so that I pay now (along with my employer).
It seems kind of exciting. 51 is not that old, and I can conceivably retire by then if I'm willing to live modestly. Maybe I can ride my bike from New York to Los Angeles. Maybe I can do a lot of charitable work. Maybe I could live in a foreign country for an extended length of time. It opens up a lot of possibilities, allowing me to do what I want, not necessarily what I would otherwise have to do. Work. It's kind of freedom enhancing.