Obamacare Ruling Open Thread

I’ll post updates as events warrant.

9:52: Best line so far is from Walter Olson who said he has some “Judicial activism!” placards but will have to wait for the decision to know which side to give them to.

9:55: I’ve avoided predictions. But gun to my head, I’d say parts of PPACA are going down. The reason? The full court press by the Left to delegitimize the decision in advance. I think they have inside information.

9:59: Holy shit, SCOTUSblog has 350,000 readers right now.

10:02: Expect less complaining about activism with the Supreme Court overturning the Stolen Valor Act.

10:09: The mandate survives as a tax. Not sure what that means. CNN is claiming the mandate was struck down. Apparently Roberts rules with the liberal wing.

10:14: SCOTUSblog says that the bottom line is ACA is upheld because Roberts supported it. Assuming this is the case, I’m disappointed but will respect the Court’s decision. And my respect or Justice Roberts actually goes up because I think he is ruling on his interpretation of the law.

Even with this ruling, this has been a great session for the court, which limited the power of the EPA and FCC and upheld the right of free speech and free religion.

It’s time to go to work on repealing or repairing PPACA. Just because the Supreme Court says the government can do something, it doesn’t follow that it must do it.

10:24: And holy fuck, over 800,000 people were reading SCOTUSblog.

10:29: And just like that, Left Wing wailing and gnashing of teeth turns into gloating.

10:31: And Right Wing bashing of Roberts begins. Never mind that his Court has been the most conservative since the 1930’s. HE ISSUED A RULING I DON’T LIKE!

10:33: This ruling is quite interesting. The conservative block would have struck down the entire law. The liberal block would have upheld it. Ginsberg said that the mandate could survive just as a mandate. But Roberts’ ruling is now the law of the land: he said it could survive … but ONLY as a tax (which it clearly is, even if Obama didn’t want to own that). So ignore screaming about how the government can make us buy things. Roberts’ decision will insure that it can’t.

And really, if you’re worried about the government coercing us into doing things, you should have complained thirty years ago when SCOTUS upheld using highway funds to force states to raise the drinking age.

The course for the GOP is clear: make sure the public knows that Obama raised taxes on the uninsured. And run heavily on repealing/replacing PPACA. That’s the wonderful thing about our system. We always have options.

10:37: States can opt out of the Medicaid expansion. That’s actually pretty huge. And really really important for state budgets. So free healthcare is no longer guaranteed.

Comments are closed.

  1. georgebalella

    Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see.

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  2. Seattle Outcast

    The health care death spiral has begun. It’s not as if we haven’t seen this debacle play out in Canada and Europe with extensive waits for routine procedures, obsolete equipment, and a lack of medial personnel becoming standard.

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  3. georgebalella

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  4. Hal_10000 *

    George, I will bet that coservatives will react with far less shriekinng than libs would have. Which side spent the last week portraying the decision as a coup?

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  5. Kimpost

    How about not gloating from one side, and not kicking and screaming from the other? This was always going to be pretty close, and America still stands,

    In a way this is good for both sides. Policy should more often than not be decided by politicians, not judges. Republicans can repeal the parts they don’t like, if the people want them too after the next election.

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  6. tomchamberlain

    If you respect John Roberts more it just means you’re shallow. Voting in a way people didn’t expect isn’t respectable unless you did it for a respectable reason. If he, for example, cast this vote because he doesn’t want “his court” to be seen as politically partisan then it’s the exact opposite of respectable. It’s the worst kind of narcissism.

    Now, in fairness, I don’t know why he cast the vote either. But it should be mentioned that President Obama himself sold this plan by saying it “wasn’t a tax” so the Supreme Court’s decision is actually disagreeing with the President. Rather than choosing between the arguments given they actually conceived a new argument and upheld the law under that argument.

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  7. Poosh

    georgebalella doesn’t know what a neocon is, does he :(

    No such thing as a free lunch. And no such thing as free healthcare. American healthcare system is broken but this is just going to make it worse, and have major implications on the economy, screwing everyone even more.

    As someone who lives with “free” healthcare, the NHS, I’d like to thank you Americans for subsidizing our universal healthcare system. All that R&D you do goes straight to us. Thanks! (the unsustainable NHS, which party caused our recession, and will sooner or later fall apart from the sheer debt it creates).

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  8. Jim

    So ignore screaming about how the government can make us buy things. Roberts’ decision will insure that it can’t.

    Only, it didn’t. At all. It upheld the idea that Congress now has the power to tax you, not just for public programs, but because you didn’t do what they told you to.
    All this ruling did was make a distinction without a difference. The distinction is that Congress cannot pass a law forcing you to do something. The lack of a difference is that if you don’t do that something, they can just tax the hell out of you until you do. That is a dangerous precedence to set.
    There is now a precedence for:
    fines for not voting.
    fines for not buying “green” energy.
    fines for not buying “healthy” food.
    fines for not *insert “something Congress knows better than you” here*
    I am not upset a Chief Justice Roberts for making a ruling I don’t like, I’m upset at him making a ruling that is *wrong*.

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  9. salinger

    Rather than choosing between the arguments given they actually conceived a new argument and upheld the law under that argument.

    Exactly – same as they did with Citizens United. So much for a supreme court majority comprised of conservatives being less activist. If you give a monkey a gun don’t be surprised when he starts shooting it.

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  10. Hal_10000 *

    Obama is not going to be able to run from this anymore. What SCOTUS has done is force him to own up to his tax-hiking ways.

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  11. Hal_10000 *

    What’s hilarious is the silence from certain blogs. They clearly expected the evil evil conservatives to strike this down and haven’t written an article for that. THey’ll probably start trolling unmoderated comment boards and focus on the conservative “rage and racism” that results from the decision.

    Oh wait: George is already doing hat.

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  12. Hal_10000 *

    Also hilarious: liberals who spent years bashing Roberts now having to backpedal. Obama actually voted against Roberts’ nomination.

    I think Obama owes John Roberts some steaks.

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  13. Kimpost

    Some of the silence is hilarious, and so is some of the whining. Both were predictable. Prepare for (some) conservative commentators seeing gloating everywhere, and for liberals either gloating or being deemed “condescendingly adult” about the whole thing.

    Will be a full day/evening…

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  14. Hal_10000 *

    I’m skimming Robert’s decision. It’s interesting because he actually limits the governments power, stating limits on the commerce and spending power. In the end, this is an incremental victory for conservatism. Not the total victory we wanted, but some important limits have been set were none existed before.

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  15. tomchamberlain

    I’m skimming Robert’s decision. It’s interesting because he actually limits the governments power, stating limits on the commerce and spending power. In the end, this is an incremental victory for conservatism. Not the total victory we wanted, but some important limits have been set were none existed before.

    I’ve not had time to sit down and read the decision but I dare say whatever limits he put in his decision are largely irrelevant. He’s now set a precedent for the lower courts that says the Federal Government can force an individual to do anything as long as the penalty is only monetary. Follow the logic here…

    * The health care bill’s stated intent is to make society responsible for every individual’s well being so the government now has the right to force you to do whatever it thinks is in the best interest of your well being.

    * Everything you do impacts your well being in one way or the other. Example: You put more strain on your joints while taking the stairs so you should only be allowed to take the stairs unless the elevator is not working. Because someday your joints might cause you to need surgery and the public will have to pay for that surgery if you didn’t save enough to afford that surgery. So every act you take, no matter how minut, has some impact on your well being.

    * Roberts decision says the Healthcare law is valid because the penalty is monetary which makes it a tax.

    By that logic the Federal Government can force individuals to do absolutely anything. Who even needs Medicaid anymore? Now the federal government can just force individuals. You must cover your poor neighbors health care expenses or you will be fined the amount those health care expenses would cost. Because if your neighbor is too poor to cover his own health care he might become desperate for money and rob you. So it is for your own well being that we the Federal Government force you to do this.

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  16. Hal_10000 *

    Tom, I agree with a lot of what you say. But keep in mind — the Court has, for 80 years, interpreted the commerce clause very broadly. 20 years ago, his case would not even have been considered by the Court.

    And the more I look at this, the more the Medicaid mandate stands out as what may be the biggest legacy here. SEVEN justices agreed that the Feds can not use Medicaid funds to force states to expand eligibility. That’s the first time in American history the Fed spending power has been limited like that. That is HUGE.

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  17. Xetrov

    So ignore screaming about how the government can make us buy things. Roberts’ decision will insure that it can’t.

    Congress creates a new law – “Everyone in America needs this new widget from XYZ Corporation. Here’s a new tax to pay for it.” Done deal.

    I honestly thought that there was no power vested in the Federal or State Goverment that can force an individual to enter into a contract to purchase goods/services from a private entity. Apparently I was wrong.

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  18. georgebalella

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  19. Xetrov

    Here’s an interesting thought on the Constitutionality of the law that the SCOTUS apparently didn’t consider –

    They ruled unequivocally that the Obamacare provision for the penalty is in fact a tax. The PPACA originated and was passed by the Senate on December 24th, 2009, and was later passed by the House in 2010.

    Article I, Section 7 of the Constitution states –

    All bills for raising Revenue shall originate in the House of Representatives; but the Senate may propose or concur with Amendments as on other Bills.

    Using that logic, the PPACA as passed procedurally was Unconstitutional.

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  20. Retluocc1

    And really, if you’re worried about the government coercing us into doing things, you should have complained thirty years ago when SCOTUS upheld using highway funds to force states to raise the drinking age.

    Apples & Oranges Hal… For your example to work, the Feds would have had to fine the States if they did not raise their drinking age. Upholding finds is different since the States could simply choose to make due without said funds.

    Paying a tax as a condition of being a citizen is functionally no different from paying tribute to a warlord.

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  21. Hal_10000 *

    I’m not seeing the argument on the tax being unconstitutional. The government uses tax policy to encourage us to do all kinds of things: have kids (child tax credit), buy houses (mortgage interest deduction), buy healthcare (uninsured expense deduction), give to charity (charitable deductions), enroll our kids in daycare (child care deducion).

    Now many of these things are bad ideas. But I’ve never heard anyone argue that the child tax credit is unconstitutional.

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  22. Hal_10000 *

    I think, in the end, conservatives benefit far more from this decision than liberals. Consider:

    1) SCOTUS has declared that the feds can not compel people to buy things and that neither the commerce clause nor necessary and proper clause can make hem do so.

    2) SCOTUS has, for the first time, limited the Fed’s ability to use its spending power to compel the states to action.

    3) Mitt Romney has been handed not one but two issues or 2012. Obama can not back away from having raised taxes on the uninsured.

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  23. trade_pro

    Everyone should buy 100 gallons of gas per month. If you don’t make that purchase, you should have the amount you would have been taxed added to your income tax bill. Also underwear…2 pair per month or pay the tax on it, your choice. I’m not forcing you to buy anything, just sayin’…you will be payin’.

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  24. Poosh

    Can someone explain this to me. In the UK we’re often told the US healthcare system is evil cause it lets the poor die in the ditches and people are refused treatment from ambulance services due to no insurance.

    I later found out it’s illegal to refuse treatment and all Hospitals are required to stabilize patients in the emergency room.

    Isn’t it also true that if you’re poor or old you get Medicare/Medicad which is basically universal healthcare for a designated segment of society – only its American quality healthcare, so it’s the best in the world … ?

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  25. Retluocc1

    The government uses tax policy to encourage us to do all kinds of things: have kids (child tax credit), buy houses (mortgage interest deduction), buy healthcare (uninsured expense deduction), give to charity (charitable deductions), enroll our kids in daycare (child care deducion).

    You can choose NOT to have children, buy a house, or give to charity and you’re still allowed to be an American citizen. In any of these situations, you can choose inactivity and the government cannot coerce you into action. That’s the difference.

    When the Viking hordes descend, you can pay tribute, swear fealty, or get beheaded.

    When the Jihad rolls through, you can become Muslim, become dead, or pay the Jizyah.

    When Obamacare goes into effect, you can buy health insurance or pay a tax.

    Differences of degree, but not type… In none of these instances are you permitted to choose inactivity.

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  26. Kimpost

    Can someone explain this to me. In the UK we’re often told the US healthcare system is evil cause it lets the poor die in the ditches and people are refused treatment from ambulance services due to no insurance.

    I later found out it’s illegal to refuse treatment and all Hospitals are required to stabilize patients in the emergency room.

    ER access isn’t screening or cancer treatment, nor is it a myriad of other things…

    …but you knew that already, so…?

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  27. Hal_10000 *

    You can choose NOT to have children, buy a house, or give to charity and you’re still allowed to be an American citizen. In any of these situations, you can choose inactivity and the government cannot coerce you into action. That’s the difference.

    A very valid point. But couldn’t you say that you are being taxed extra for not having children? I know a lot of childless people who think this is the case and that the child tax credits are unfair.

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  28. Retluocc1

    But couldn’t you say that you are being taxed extra for not having children? I know a lot of childless people who think this is the case and that the child tax credits are unfair.

    One injustice does not excuse another :-)

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  29. georgebalella

    Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see.

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  30. Hal_10000 *

    One injustice does not excuse another :-)

    Another good point. The irony here is that the effect would be the same if Obama had done what the Republicans have wanted for years: extend the employer insurance tax deduction to individuals. Similar effect, less bullshit.

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  31. Retluocc1

    Yeah because getting chemotherapy and not forcing the rest of us to pay for it because you were made to have health insurance is just like being beheaded or Jiyahed…LOL…. JFC dudes a little perspective and pragmatism would be nice. It’s all blind unyielding stubborn ideology with you all.

    hy·per·bo·le
       [hahy-pur-buh-lee]
    noun Rhetoric .

    1. obvious and intentional exaggeration.
    2. an extravagant statement or figure of speech not intended to be taken literally, as “to wait an eternity.”

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  32. Retluocc1

    Yeah because getting chemotherapy and not forcing the rest of us to pay for it because you were made to have health insurance

    Also, I’m not sure you understand what “insurance” is and how it works…

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  33. Seattle Outcast

    But keep in mind — the Court has, for 80 years, interpreted the commerce clause very broadly poorly.

    FTFY…

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  34. Seattle Outcast

    I know a lot of childless people who think this is the case and that the child tax credits are unfair.

    I’m one of them. If there are going to be tax breaks for useless creatures that inhabit a house with you, dogs and cats should be included.

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  35. georgebalella

    CM,

    I’ve been listening to right wing radio and Fox News all day. They are always angry these people but today they are seething. I mean some undeserving baby with a heart condition might get it repaired now or they themselves can no longer be denied health insurance for pre-existing conditions and these things have them seething. I HOPE AND PRAY they continue to come down crazy hard on Roberts because maybe he will understand just how wacked-out the party that put him there is and will continue to vote rationally. I think he is seeing what Citizens United is doing and he really doesn’t want to go down in history as leader of the most activist nut job court ever.

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  36. CM

    Seems to me, based on what I’ve read over the last 4 hours, that Roberts is a genius. In that he might be giving up a battle for the sake of winning the longer war (in terms of restricting fed power) and also upholding the reputation of the SCOTUS, and also making himself immune to ideological criticism for a while.
    At the end of the day, did he not agree with the dissenters on all points except for saying that the mandate could be considered a tax (which isn’t a significant legal argument, even if it does have significant consequences in terms of what happens in reality)?

    I’m with Kimpost. There are idiots on both sides. Seems pointless trying to claim one side is collectively a bigger idiot than the other. I’d much rather look at the substantive issues.

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  37. CM

    I also think Obamacare is, or will be, much more popular than GOP thinks. Polls might say people oppose it 55% to 45%, but how many of those in the 55% oppose it because they don’t think it goes far enough, or just don’t like one specific aspect?
    With 33 million additional people getting healthcare by 2022 it gives Obama the following platform – “the GOP will take away your healthcare and make it more expensive for you to access medical treatment” – I would imagine that it’s really hard to argue why that is a good thing. At the end of the day, the election is more likely to be determined by the independents/moderates in those 5 or so swing states, not ideologues or party faithful. I’m not sure whether the Romney/GOP argument that Obama was trying to introduce a massive tax hike by devious means will work well enough on those independents/moderates. But hell, I could be wrong. I’m looking forward to finding out.

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  38. Section8

    This ruling wasn’t much of a surprise to me. Even got my bet in on the other thread. I started getting suspicious a few days after the justices were making comments about the bill and its complexity in the hearings. It was almost like yeah, you wrote a shitty bill. We’ll be vocal to state we’re not happy, then go along with you anyhow. They had their Lance Ito moment, let them enjoy.

    I also think Obamacare is, or will be, much more popular than GOP thinks

    Well actually it will be more popular for the GOP politicians in about 15 years when it turns out this thing isn’t working (like the HMO act), and the Dems blame the companies of course, and want even more government as a solution. That’s the pattern for everything. The GOP will argue that adding more government will put this current law/tax/whateverthefuckitis in jeopardy, and will fight to keep things as is. See, that’s the pattern for the political environment here. Every few decades a bit encroachment happens with government. The weak ass GOP fights it a bit, then loves the shit out of it 15 years later to try to hold off another advance. Don’t worry CM, we’ll be the socialist utopia here soon. There really is no stopping it. Offering free goodies will always work when people only get to see the cost and quality problems years down the road, and by then a new excuse can be made. I just don’t know why you really give a shit either way. Some sort of mental victory for you?

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  39. Mississippi Yankee

    Seems to me, based on what I’ve read over the last 4 hours, that Roberts is a genius. In that he might be giving up a battle for the sake of winning the longer war (in terms of restricting fed power) and also upholding the reputation of the SCOTUS, and also making himself immune to ideological criticism for a while.

    CM
    Yesterday I read an article(can’t remember where) warning Roberts not to defeat PPACA as it would condemn him in the history books. Liking him to Chief Justice Roger B. Taney in the Dred Scott v Sanford case.

    Roberts’ vanity may be the only reason for his possible last minute change of heart

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  40. CM

    Well actually it will be more popular for the GOP politicians in about 15 years when it turns out this thing isn’t working (like the HMO act), and the Dems blame the companies of course, and want even more government as a solution. That’s the pattern for everything.

    They sought a Republican market-based solution for healthcare, rather than a Govt run system. They dropped the only public portion of it to get it passed politically. Is that their pattern?

    The GOP will argue that adding more government will put this current law/tax/whateverthefuckitis in jeopardy, and will fight to keep things as is. See, that’s the pattern for the political environment here. Every few decades a bit encroachment happens with government. The weak ass GOP fights it a bit, then loves the shit out of it 15 years later to try to hold off another advance.

    The GOP only objected to it and started fighting tooth and nail once the Dems wanted it.

    Don’t worry CM, we’ll be the socialist utopia here soon. There really is no stopping it. Offering free goodies will always work when people only get to see the cost and quality problems years down the road, and by then a new excuse can be made.

    As I say, from what I can tell, I don’t think this opens the door. Surely the Roberts ruling makes it more difficult for the feds to control things through the Commerce Clause. I don’t see the relationship to this ruling (or Obamacare in general) and a “socialist utopia”. Unbridled socialism is no more a fantasy utopia than unbridled captialism.

    I just don’t know why you really give a shit either way. Some sort of mental victory for you?

    I don’t know why you’re constantly gnawing at this bone. Why do you care? I’m interested in politics and arguments is all. Makes no difference to me personally what sort of healthcare system you guys have – I just enjoy the discussion and the arguments from both sides.

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  41. CM

    CM
    Yesterday I read an article(can’t remember where) warning Roberts not to defeat PPACA as it would condemn him in the history books. Liking him to Chief Justice Roger B. Taney in the Dred Scott v Sanford case.

    Roberts’ vanity may be the only reason for his possible last minute change of heart

    I find it constantly intriguing that your highest court is defined by whether they were appointed by Republicans or Democrats, and that the more often than not decide cases along partisan lines. Not even that important group of people can escape the seemingly compulsory division into one camp or the other. It seems to cheapen the whole exercise. And, yeah, most likely leads to decisions being made on issues other than the law. How can it not, when they’re not seen as just really good Judges, but appointments from political parties?
    Anyway, as I say, from what I’ve read today, the argument that Roberts covered all bases with his decision is the most persuasive.

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  42. Section8

    They sought a Republican market-based solution for healthcare, rather than a Govt run system. They dropped the only public portion of it to get it passed politically. Is that their pattern?

    I already stated the pattern.I’d suggest simply re-reading what I wrote. If you get it, great, if not I’m ok with that Johnny.

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