Blogs » Politcs Plus » The Day After the Court's Decision



I was watching CNN, when a reporter informed them that the Individual Mandate was overturned, so I switched over to MSNBC where Andrea Mitchell was still mulling the anticipation of the ruling with a guest. She was waiting to hear from Pete Williams to find out how the court ruled. I started scratching my head saying, " CNN said the mandate was overturned 5 minutes ago," so you can imagine how surprised I was when Pete Williams, who stayed to hear Justice Roberts second sentence, said that the Individual Mandate under the Commerce Clause was unconstitutional but the Individual Mandate was really a tax, and everyone knows that Congress has the power to levy taxes, so under those circumstances; the Individual Mandate is constitutional therefore the Supreme Court by a 5-4 decision upheld the Affordable Health Care Act. Pete Williams also and said that the second ruling by a 7-2 margin, stated that the states could have the option of opting out of the extended Medicaid in the law, without losing their current funding. This was the most important provision that was shot down by the Supreme Court, but you wouldn't know it because of the emphasis on the Individual Mandate. The upholding of the whole law means that 30 million Americans, 17 million of them would go into the expanded Medicaid, can now expect to get health insurance. It also meant six million young Americans can get to stay on their parent's policy, and children cannot be turned down for a pre-existing condition.

It's nice knowing that a secret can be kept in Washington. The law clerks, the justices, and others knew of the decision a long time ago, but their lips were sealed. I would've thought that Justice Kennedy would have been the swing vote because he has voted with liberals 25 times in his role as justice. This was the first-time Justice Roberts has ever voted with a more liberal makeup of the court, but it was a monumental one. I don't guess we'll ever know if it was an intellectual honest decision, or that he had a concern that his court would be seen as having too many 5-4 decisions based on ideological grounds.

It's ironic how all this came down because then Senator Obama voted against John Roberts, in his confirmation hearings because he thought that he would rule with the power against the powerless. After the terrible argument before the Supreme Court by the government, Justice Roberts could've easily ruled against them, but he knew his role was not to strike down a law passed by Congress but to uphold it. He found a way that was always there. On September 20, 2009, I remember George Stephanopoulos and President Obama arguing whether the individual mandate was indeed a tax. Present Obama knew the implications of it being a tax, so he argued that it wasn't a tax. I heard a good example, this morning from NBC's Chuck Todd. He asked Eric Cantor if a traffic ticket could be considered a tax, if it could be expunged if the offender bought insurance. Mr. Cantor did not have an answer.

House Majority Leader, Eric Cantor said that on July 11, 2012 the house would vote to repeal Obamacare. It will pass the house but like most of the partisan bills, they have passed, it will be the dead-on arrival when he reaches the Senate. If by some miracle, it passed the Senate, the Republicans don't have the numbers to override a presidential veto. More than likely the Supreme Court decision will galvanize the base, but they have to realize that in 2009, their presidential nominee, Mitt Romney, suggested that the administration use the Individual Mandate because that would assure individual responsibility. Mitt Romney is singing a different tune these days but the tapes don't lie.

Now that the Supreme Court has deemed the Individual Mandate a tax, it gives the Republicans an issue they always love to rail against. The penalty clause which would be enacted in the year 2014 will probably include a tax of about $90 but hardly anyone will pay that because 80% of Americans already have Health Insurance, the expansion of Medicaid, the exemption clause, and the fact that 10,000 seniors are moving into Medicare every day.

It is my opinion that if President Obama would've used the words in a speech yesterday, Obamacare would have been more popular than it is today. It was a short speech, but he emphasized the need for affordable health insurance for more people, to bring down the cost. The bipartisan Congressional Budget Office stated that this health care law would lower the deficit, but as we speak they will continue to score and score again, as changes dictate.