Thursday, June 28, 2012

Obamacare Upheld - including the mandate

I thought this could go either way. I expected part of the law to stand and part of it to be gone. Technically I was right, but not in the way I thought I was. I figured the expansion would stand and the mandate would be gone. All that's gone is that the state can't get the medicaid funds cut off by the feds.

Justice Roberts is the 5th Vote. I do have a lot of respect for Roberts, so I'll have to read his decision before commenting in depth. A quick read leaves me unimpressed.

From USA Today

The Supreme Court upheld President Obama's health care law today in a splintered, complex opinion that gives Obama a major election-year victory.
Basically. the justices said that the individual mandate -- the requirement that most Americans buy health insurance or pay a fine -- is constitutional as a tax.
Chief Justice John Roberts -- a conservative appointed by President George W. Bush -- provided the key vote to preserve the landmark health care law, which figures to be a major issue in Obama's re-election bid against Republican opponent Mitt Romney.
The government had argued that Congress had the authority to pass the individual mandate as part of its power to regulate interstate commerce; the court disagreed with that analysis, but preserved the mandate because the fine amounts to a tax that is within Congress' constitutional taxing powers.
The announcement will have a major impact on the nation's health care system, the actions of both federal and state governments, and the course of the November presidential and congressional elections.
The law's individual mandate had been the key question for the court.

First off this isn't a health care law. It's a health insurance law. However, Obamacare survived outside of the part of the feds terminating medicaid funds.

From Instapundit:

INDIVIDUAL MANDATE HELD UNCONSTITUTIONAL UNDER COMMERCE POWER, but Scotusblog says it survives as a tax. “It’s very complicated, so we’re still figuring it out.”
I feel sorry for the folks on TV trying to read this opinion and talk at the same time.

UPDATE: From ScotusBlog: “The bottom line: the entire ACA is upheld, with the exception that the federal government’s power to terminate states’ Medicaid funds is narrowly read.” Plus: “The money quote from the section on the mandate: ‘Our precedent demonstrates that Congress had the power to impose the exaction in Section 5000A under the taxing power, and that Section 5000A need not be read to do more than impose a tax. This is sufficient to sustain it.’”

So it was upheld on a basis — the taxing power — that the Administration didn’t advance. In fact, Obama denied that it was a tax. This just supports what Mike Graetz told me in Tax class years ago: “The constitution stops where the Internal Revenue Code begins.”

On the upside, the Lopez revolution, which some believed dead, appears to be revived.
So, liberals, does this mean the Supreme Court is legitimate again?

And what’s next? Republicans will have to push for repeal, or look like losers. Now Romney needs to make an issue of repealing the “Obama Healthcare Tax,” I guess. And, of course, it’s important to note that just because the Supreme Court — barely — found the Act constitutional doesn’t mean that it’s actually a good idea.

I have to see the decision outside of a quick glance, which is 193 pages. The good part is that it sounds like the commerce clause argument failed. Maybe Gonzales v Raich and Wickard v Filburn can be soon sent to Hell. Those are two of the worst decisions in SCOTUS History.

There's plenty at Volokh and Instapundit which are a helluva lot better covering legal issues than the major media.

The more I'm reading, the less I like about the decision.  What makes no sense to me at first glace is how SCOTUS decides that the penalty is not a tax for the purposes of the AIA (which would end the case right there with it unheard), and then decide the case by renaming the penalty a tax and upholding the law. 

Overall, I'd call this a major loss with a consolation prize on commerce clause expansion.  The lesson? Elections have consequences.

We need to get rid of Obama and Stabenow.

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