This week's news was dominated by the U.S. Supreme Court's hearings on a challenge to the Affordable Care Act, the cornerstone of the Obama administration's health-care reform law. Much of the debate focused on the law's most controversial provision -- the individual mandate, which requires Americans to buy health insurance.
But a bigger question is whether the court will go on to overturn the entirety of Obamacare, as both opponents and supporters of health-care reform call the law. As Forbes.com reports, much of day three of the hearings delved into whether the individual mandate could be severed from the law, or whether eliminating the provision would necessitate junking the entire program. While liberal Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg argued that a "salvage job" would be more prudent, the court's conservative stalwarts, Justices Samuel Alito and Antonin Scalia, seemed to focus on whether Congress would have passed health-care reform in the first place without the mandate.
That leads to this question: If Obamacare is overturned, how would the reversal affect Americans in their forties, fifties and beyond? Retirement Revised's Mark Miller writes that if the Affordable Care Act is overturned, many families are going to lose significant benefits that they've already received. That includes:
Those popular parts of the law may end up being discarded along with the controversial individual mandate, which requires all Americans to obtain health insurance. Miller characterizes the latter as the "secret sauce" that makes it possible financially to extend near-universal coverage to Americans at affordable rates.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology economist Jonathan Gruber, a key figure in shaping both Obamacare and the 2006 Massachusetts health-care reform legislation championed by former governor and present GOP Presidential hopeful Mitt Romney, offers this analysis of the pocketbook effects of health-care reform at The Daily Beast. Gruber argues that the individual mandate actually would help to cap Americans' health-care insurance costs so that no one would have to pay more than 9.5 percent of their income for coverage.
Jamie Moyer Isn't MLB's Only Forty-Something: Earlier this week, I updated you on 49-year-old Moyer's effort to become the oldest pitcher ever to win a major league game. He's in spring training with the Colorado Rockies. But lest you think Moyer is the only player who probably remembers the original Johnny Depp version of 21 Jump Street, 680 News Radio notes that 11-time Golden Glove winner Omar Vizquel, 44, has cracked the Toronto Blue Jays' roster as a backup infielder, making him the oldest active position player in the major leagues.
Female Tech Leaders: ChipChick, a website that writes about electronic gadgetry from a woman's perspective, is trying to disabuse everyone of the notion that it takes youth and a Y chromosome to lead technological change with this list of the seven top women in technology. The lineup includes Mozilla Corp. chair Mitchell Baker, 61, and U.S. Navy Vice-Admiral Nancy Brown, 59, who has led the Pentagon's integration of satellites and wireless communications into battlefield operations. Another brand name on the list: Arianna Huffington, 61, founder of The Huffington Post. But why stop at seven? Other luminaries to add: Cisco Systems chief technology officer Padmasree Warrior and technology prognosticator/investor Esther Dyson.
Where You're Most -- Or Least -- Likely to Whistle While You Work: Forbes.com offers this list of the happiest and least happy corporate workplaces.
Digging Out of Debt: The Los Angeles Times reports on strategies that middle-aged couples used to escape from crushing amounts of personal debt. One couple moved into a smaller house and began eating more meals at home, while another reverted to the old-school method of marking envelopes for each item in their budget and depositing money in them.
Open-Heart Surgery on Twitter: Mashable.com reports on a Houston surgical team's live-tweeting of a two-and-a-half-hour coronary bypass surgery which included video captured by a camera mounted on the lead surgeon's head. They even answered questions tweeted back to them by followers. The 57-year-old patient made it through the operation fine, too.
Pinterest Parties: You may already be enthused about Pinterest, the increasingly popular social networking site that allows users to "pin" things they like -- from artwork and home decorating schemes to cupcake recipes -- for their followers. Now, CBS News reports on the new trend of Pinterest parties, in which all the food and drinks are inspired by items seen on the website. One participant, stay-at-home mom Kristi Gilbert, jokes that Pinterest is "almost what SportsCenter is to a guy," because users can become so absorbed that they'll sit in front of their computer all day. But it's also providing a new excuse to get together with friends and socialize F2F.
Speaking of Pinterest: You'll find SecondAct.com's Pinterest boards here.
Momsteen: Here's a picture of the Boss dancing with his mom, Adele Zirilli Springsteen, during his rendition of "Dancing in the Dark" at Philadelphia's Wells Fargo Center this week.
RIP Earl Scruggs and Adrienne Rich: Here's a National Public Radio interview with Adrienne Rich, the award-winning poet and philosopher, who died this week at 82. From the Poetry Foundation, here's one of her most famous poems, "Dreamwood." This week, the world also lost bluegrass music pioneer Earl Scruggs, 88, whom this Wall Street Journal obit describes as "the Babe Ruth of banjo." Scruggs resonates with boomers in part because of his recording, with guitar and mandolin virtuoso Lester Flatt and singer Jerry Scroggins, of "The Ballad of Jed Clampett," the opening theme for the early 1960s TV series The Beverly Hillbillies. But Scruggs also was an adventurous musical pioneer who, as this video clip from a 2009 documentary shows, performed with rock stars such as The Byrds.
Last Word: "Hitting bottom never felt so good." -- Titanic and Avatar filmmaker and undersea explorer James Cameron, upon reaching the deepest spot in the oceans -- a record 35,756 feet down -- in a miniature submarine this week