Thursday, June 28, 2012

Breaking News: Obamacare upheld by court.

In a dramatic victory for President Barack Obama, the Supreme Court upheld the 2010 health care law today, preserving Obama’s landmark legislative achievement.

The majority opinion was written by Chief Justice John Roberts, who held that the law was a valid exercise of Congress’s power to tax.

The decision came as a sharp rebuff and disappointment to congressional Republicans, many of whom had expected the court to strike down at least some parts of the law.

Passage of the law in 2010 had come at a high political cost, with 14 House Democrats in competitive districts losing their seats in the 2010 elections in part due to their votes for the bill and six Democratic Senate candidates who’d voted for the bill also lost their elections in 2010.

From CNN
(CNN) -- In its 5-4 decision to uphold the U.S. health care law, the Supreme Court answered several key questions:

-Question: Can the court decide the constitutionality of health care now, or does it have to wait a few years?
To answer, the court had to decide whether a penalty the law imposes on people who do not have health insurance amounts to a tax.
A previously obscure law mandated that the legality of a tax cannot be challenged until it is imposed, and the health care law doesn't call for penalties until 2014.
-The court's answer: The court upheld the entire law.

-Question: Is the requirement that people have health insurance -- the so-called individual mandate -- constitutional?
-The court's answer: Chief Justice John Roberts wrote that the commerce clause did not apply, but the mandate stands under the taxing clause.

-Question: If the individual mandate is unconstitutional, can the rest of the law stand, or is the whole thing unconstitutional?
-The court's answer: The mandate is constitutional, rendering moot further questions on the rest of the law.

-Question: Can the federal government force states to expand their share of Medicaid costs and administration?
-The court's answer: Yes, but the justices ruled that the federal government cannot remove existing Medicaid funding if the states choose not to participate in the new program.


  1. It's a great day for Democrats. I feel like this is a break-even moment for politics. Republicans got Citizens United, Democrats got Obamacare.

  2. Obama in 2009 said it wasn't a tax increase and argued and rejected that notion. Words matter - see here-

    SO obama got his way and the Supreme Court proved that yes he is a LIAR.

    1. Public hospital emergency rooms have to accept and treat all patients regardless of ability to pay. Who pays for them? The people who have insurance through increased insurance premiums or those who pay taxes through increased taxes. This is a tax on those who don’t have insurance and are freeloaders off of those who responsibly provide for themselves and their families. Isn’t that a matter of personal responsibility that conservatives supposedly favor?
      Obama didn’t argue it was a tax, the lawyers did and the court decided that way.

    2. thats a stretch it is a tax on all of us.
      George S. teaching Obama the definition of a tax increase is priceless. Seems he hasn't learned the lesson yet.

    3. But it's not a tax on all of us. It's only a tax on the freeloaders.

    4. @Anon 11:55,

      Supreme Court Justices interpreted the mandate penalty as a tax. When Obama was selling the law to Congress and the public he did not interpret the mandate penalty as a tax. That is not the same as lying.

  3. People seem to forget that in MA Romney was governor when we were forced to all buy health insurance in MA. Actually I agree with health care for all, but not being forced to buy for profit private insurance. We should have single-payer healthcare.

  4. But it is a tax on all of us - what part (unfortunately) of freeloaders is not all of us? when freeloaders by definition don't pay into a system that they use WHO pays for them? Answer - ALL OF US - Everyone but them. Both in ways Directly and indirectly.

    1. No. That's quite incorrect. The tax is collected from people who do not have insurance. That's all. If you already have it, no worries. If you can't afford it, you go on public options like Medicare/Caid, which is also expanded under ACA; therefore, avoiding the tax.

      I suppose, in it's most technically narrow interpretation, it's a tax on all of us assuming no one in the entire country has health insurance. But in that point of view, ALL taxes are on all of us. So it's really a moot point.

  5. For the O'zone's record, here's the Supreme Court's ruling on paper:

  6. Zeke Emanuel, a healthcare expert and physician, speaking today on Hardball with Chris Matthews pointed out that the average coat to a family for their health care premiums as a result of covering uninsured emergency room patients was over $1,000 a year.
    Part of the ACA is that insurance companies must spend 80% of their receipts on health care. That is why many Americans will be receiving rebate checks on their health insurance this year.
    If Mr. Emanuel’s statistics are even close to accurate, that will be an additional benefit to insured Americans as a result of Obamacare.

  7. A second swing at Obamacare.
    The court has rule that this is a tax bill.
    All taxation bills have to originate in the house. This came from the Senate. Maybe

    1. Try again. Obamacare started as HR 3200.

  8. more smoke and mirrorsJune 28, 2012 at 11:10 PM

    yes try again is a very appropriate description for HR 3200 or should I say HR3590 ?

    HR3590 originated in the House, but had nothing to do with health care reform. It’s was a bill to aid home-ownership for military personnel. Senator Reid offered a “delete all” amendment to the bill, inserting the 2,500-page text of his health care plan. Needless to say, this was not the bill the House passed.

    Now the House is faced with the prospect of passing a tax-raising bill that actually originated in the Senate, while throwing their own passed health care bill (HR3200) overboard, to avoid a filibuster in the Senate.

    1. I stand corrected.
      It was HR 3590 that became the ACA. Regardless of how it was amended it did originate in the House as required and thus fits the constitutional mandate that tax bills originate in the House.

  9. Mitch McConnell understands the issue - this will hurt jobs!

    "Today's decision makes one thing clear: Congress must act to repeal this misguided law," said Sen. Republican Leader Mitch McConnell. "Obamacare has not only limited choices and increased health care costs for American families, it has made it harder for American businesses to hire. Today's decision does nothing to diminish the fact that Obamacare's mandates, tax hikes, and Medicare cuts should be repealed and replaced with common sense reforms that lower costs and that the American people actually want.

    1. Anonymous 11:19,

      Excellent job using party-line rhetoric to say that the law is no good. Like a good republican, think what you're told to think.

  10. Romney himself has made a forceful case for the value of imposing a tax penalty on consumers who choose not to buy health insurance -- explicitly describing the penalties associated with a health care mandate in terms of taxation.
    The one and only intellectually consistent argument Romney could make against Obamacare is that the difference between Romneycare and Obamacare is that Obamacare was unconstitutional ... but he can't make that argument any more. Deriding it as a tax on everybody or tax penalty on free riders won't work because (a) it's not a tax on everybody and (b) imposing a tax penalty on free riders was his idea.


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