A day has passed, and I got to spend most of it studying. This is my best understanding of what happened and why, followed by three excellent video clips. Please note that my thoughts on the motivations of Chief Justice Roberts are my own opinions only, and I do not present them as facts.
The Supreme Court’s 5-4 decision upholding the nation’s health care law marks an enormous political victory for President Barack Obama in the heat of a re-election campaign, and affirmation as well for the Democrats’ decades-long drive to extend coverage to millions of Americans who now go without.
Yet if the sweeping changes mandated by the law will go forward, so, too, the political controversy. Presidential challenger Mitt Romney and Republicans seeking control of Congress will see to that, seizing on Chief Justice John Roberts’ ruling that the law levies a new tax on anyone refusing to purchase coverage.
The decision was rich in irony as well as in history.
It was the second time in four days — a ruling Monday threw out much of an Arizona state law on immigration — that a Roberts’-led majority upheld the Obama administration’s position on a noisy, contentious issue that has roiled the nation’s politics for years.
On this case, at least, Roberts seemed to be ruling through gritted teeth when he upheld the requirement that all Americans purchase health care.
“We do not consider whether the (law) embodies sound policies,” he wrote of the health care legislation that Republicans have vowed to erase. “That judgment is entrusted to the Nation’s elected leaders.”… [emphasis added]
Inserted from <Washington Post>
Frankly, I think this was a partially incorrect decision. Roberts effectively ruled that the commerce clause does not apply, because an individual does not enter the health care market until he becomes ill. However, the knowledge that one can be treated in an emergency room often plays a large part in the decision not to purchase health care. Effectively people who can afford coverage, but are depending on the rest of us to pay their way, if needed, have entered the health care market by virtue of that decision. Roberts could have ruled that way without stretching. But Roberts is a highly partisan Republican. I think he did not want to set a precedent favoring use of the commerce clause. However, the Constitutionality of Obamacare is such a no-brainer, that I think Roberts was too concerned over the legacy of the Court bearing his name to hand down another boldly unconstitutional ruling so soon after Citizens United. By calling the individual mandate a tax, he gave Republicans an arrow for their quiver. Nothing incites Teabuggery faster than a new tax. He also opened the door to repealing the tax in a future reconciliation (cannot be filibustered) budget. To do that, Republicans need to do three things. Keep the House, take the Senate, and keep the Regime goose-stepping in lock step, against the will of the people. Roberts did as much as he could for his Republican allies, without producing another injustice on the order of Citizens United or Dred Scott.
According to factcheck.org, the minimum tax for people who can afford to, but refuse to purchase coverage will be $95 per person in 2014, $325 in 2015, and $695 from 2016 on. The maximum tax per family will be $2,085. Bear in mind that most trips to the emergency room cost $3,000 or more. This should effect no more than 4 million people, not all Americans as Republicans deceptively claim.
In addition, the Court struck down part of the penalty to states that refuse Medicaid expansion. Instead to taking all their Medicaid funding, the federal government can withhold only the additional funding targeted to the Medicaid expansion. Many think this will lead to a two tier system with expanded Medicaid only in blue states, leaving millions in red states uncovered. I disagree. Obamacare reimburses states for Medicaid Expansion at 95%. As much as Republicans love to bellow and whine about federal spending, they usually have no trouble not only taking federal money, but also, lying to take credit for getting it. States who lose the expansion money will end up with 100% of the cost of sick people, until they join the Republican health care plan and die. What a great incentive that will be for such states to turn blue.
Barack Obama spoke on what the ACA does.
He should have given this speech long ago and should keep giving it often.
Lawrence O’Donnell interviewed Michael Moore.
I’m pleased to note that Michael Moore, a demonstrably true progressive, supports Obama and Obamacare. I fully agree with Moore that we need to keep moving forward to improve Obamacare until it becomes like Medicare for for all.
Ed Schultz discussed what Obamacare will mean for America.
I agree with Ed. All things considered this is a historic victory for Obama, The Democratic Party, and most of all, the American people.