In what can only be described as a surprising outcome, Chief Justice John Roberts sided with the four liberal Supreme Court judges to uphold the Affordable Care Act and its key provision of the individual mandate. Meanwhile, Justice Anthony Kennedy who many anticipated would be the swing vote to uphold, sided with the other conservative justices, claiming that the entire health care law was unconstitutional.

This is indisputably an enormous victory for President Obama, Congressional Democrats and most of all, the American People.  America is now finally catching up with the rest of the developed world in assuring health care for almost all of its citizens and affirming that human beings are entitled to receive medical attention as citizens of a civilized society. Also, the mandate affirms personal responsibility, something that Republicans love giving lip service to but in this health care debate, attacked vehemently. That is, those who have been causing medical costs to rise because they were uninsured, whether due to insurance companies refusing to cover them, the inability to pay enormous premiums or simply the choice not to do so by younger Americans, will soon no longer have to be bankrupted by medical costs or  have them covered by those who do pay insurance.

There was one provision which was carved off by the SCOTUS, the government’s ability to withhold all Medicare funding to states that don’t expand it. Other than that, the ACA has been fully upheld. Also, Roberts stated that he did not see the mandate as valid due to the Commerce Clause, the federal government’s right to manage interstate commerce. Instead, Roberts declared that he views the mandate’s fines as a tax which the federal government is entitled to apply. The four liberal justices affirmed that they see the ACA covered under the Commerce Clause, that unlike the other 5 justices’ claims that it’s forcing Americans to buy something, that all Americans are already part of the health care industry because as human beings, they will require medical care at one time or another.

This is an historic day for the nation. Though many people still suffer from Republican and Right Wing propaganda/brainwashing that the ACA is some socialist government takeover of healthcare and that it is unAmerican for the government to force people to pay for something vital to their survival (er…Social Security and Medicare anyone?), these lies will begin to fade and Americans will take for granted that they have fair access to health care and insurance companies can no longer choose who gets to live or die.

One thing to consider is how upset citizens of the conservative states should be. In the middle of a difficult economy, the Republicans in control spent millions of dollars of their state’s taxpayer money, fighting the constitutionality of the ACA. How many salaries of teachers, police and firefighters would  that money have paid for, how many of these folks wouldn’t have been laid off if they hadn’t squandered taxpayer money just to benefit the 1% and themselves politically.

Of course now there will be ramped up rhetoric by the Right about electing Republicans to control Congress and the White House so they can pass legislation to wipe out the ACA. Fat chance. Not only is President Obama more likely to be re-elected after this victory, even with Republican control of both houses of Congress and the Presidency, all that would be needed is one Democrat in the Senate to filibuster such a bill and it can’t happen. And does anyone doubt that after 4 years of the Republicans filibustering every Democratic bill, there wouldn’t be one Democratic Senator to filibuster the destruction of the ACA?

And it sure doesn’t help the Republicans to have the argument of “It’s a violation of the Constitution!” taken out of their hands. Now, it’s just about whining that they lost on this twice and that they should have a do-over.

One specific that I would hope the Obama Administration would stress strongly and repeatedly is that the individual mandate is projected only to affect 6% of the American population, 94% of Americans won’t be impacted by it. That eviscerates the Republican argument.

Will railing against the ACA be a winning issue for the GOP this November? I doubt it. America values winners and shuns losers. The GOP are clearly losers on this and will now look like bad losers. The public has been battered over this for three years and I think that they’re ready to move on. And does anyone think that Mitt Romney, architect of Romneycare which is centered around an individual mandate, is in any position to attack it? Romney wants to talk solely about the economy, he surely doesn’t want everyone thinking on a daily basis about what a hypocrite he is on health care, that it was fine for him and state government to enforce a mandate but it is an outrage for the federal government to do such a thing.

It would be very entertaining and self-destructive for the GOP to make this a central issue, taking them off message about the economy, against the American people having health care and highlighting Romney’s weakness as a principled human being. On that note, Rand Paul released a statement that sounds like a five-year-old wrote it, saying that just because a couple of people on the Supreme Court said something is constitutional, that doesn’t mean it is, declaring that the ACA remains unconstitutional. So, the Supreme Court’s decision should be regarded as illegitimate and Rand Paul’s personal opinion should be revered as the law of the land? The ignorance and desperation will only make the flailing of the Right more and more ridiculous.

The thinking about Roberts siding with the liberals is that it would have been a stake through the heart of his court and a damning of his position in history if the conservative SCOTUS decided to make Bush president, approved the unlimited buying of elections by the wealthy through Citizens United and then destroyed the only health care bill that has ever passed the Congress and doomed millions of Americans to death and debt. Might there have been some conscience on Roberts part too? Possibly. But as Scalia often demonstrates, SCOTUS members can be very egocentric and focused more on themselves than the people or the Constitution. No question that Roberts cares about his position in history and the public’s rejection of the SCOTUS as a legitimate entity.

And what can one say about all the pundits’ babbling predictions we’ve had to endure for the last couple of weeks? How many of them were right in their very informed blather? As far as I’m aware…none. Thousands of minutes of blah-blah-blah about what is likely to happen and how the future will unfold, they were once again wrong. All of them, all wrong! None of them got it right so we should consider just how much of a waste of our time it is to listen to the pundit class on news channels and how many other constructive things we could have done with our time instead of listening to self-apponted know-it-alls who once again have been proven to be clueless…and of course, never say a word about how wrong they were once again.

So, as far as most reasoned people can see, the ACA is in place and the Republicans have no viable path to get rid of it.

But that’s not going to keep them from throwing tantrums over it all the way to November on onward.

 

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choicelady
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Oh I am ROTFL!!!

I just got info from a Tweet partner about the state of Romneycare in MA. Commonwealth Connections originally subsidized you with a meager $235 (cost of monthly premium for healthy 35-year-old) but YOU paid the rest depending on age, sex, geography. It also imposed a $5K per person per year deductible with almost NOTHING immune from using that payout. If you got sick, it was ANOTHER $10K out of pocket.

Well the schedule of free, preventive services and costs is now TOTALLY different, totally consistent with ACA provisions!!

The poor folks in Commonwealth Connections will also be able to reduce premiums when the subsidized payments kick in in 2014 with advanceable tax credits finally putting NO one out of pocket. And older people will NOT pay 500% more than the young with only that lousy $235 subsidy.

So Obamacare has massively IMPROVED and TRUMPED Romneycare, hands down, no contest!

I realize that only policy wonks such as I really want to wade through all this, and I realize there’s not a very accessible sound bite here – but it’s absolutely true, and it just MADE MY DAY!!!

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bito
Member

C’Lady, like Sue says, I appreciate your wading through it and serving it up to us “family style” in plain English.
( right now I’m trying to wade my way through the Supremes opinions.)

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choicelady
Member

Oh my – you ARE brave. I’ve not tackled that yet. I have the PDF – cannot bear to start! Soldier on, brave friend. Soldier on!

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SueInCa
Member

We love your policy wonkishness. It saves me at least from wading through all the muck.

Thanks

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choicelady
Member

Dear Sue – you are so kind! I’m really glad if it helps! I like being here for the NON wonky political and music and humor stuff everyone has to offer. Breath of fresh air! But if I’ve waded through TWO versions of Arnold’s despicable plan and read the synopses of the MA plan to compare it to, then read all of the ACA bill – SOMEONE should benefit from it, right? I have all that stuff stuck in my head. I wake up at 2:00am thinking about it all. It’s a relief to be able to use it to “clean up” on the issues everyone cares about. You do ME the service of letting me vent it and then not dreaming about it!

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bito
Member

Ha, Chris Hayes said what I posted almost word for word. “it’s not a tax, it’s a penalty collected under the taxing authority given to Congress.”

Not to shabby for this old fart. 🙂

On another note, I watched a “discussion” on twitter among some lawyers on the written opinions on ACA.
Some observations:
They all agreed that justice Ginsburg’s opinion was by far the best, that her upholding the use of the commerce clause was sound and legal.
The Dissents were weak in both the use of the commerce clause and striking down the whole law.
No one could understand Roberts argument striking the use of the commerce clause and why he went with the taxing authority.

They had read all of the opinions, I haven’t.
You can read it here: http://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/11pdf/11-393c3a2.pdf

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choicelady
Member

Darlin- not an old fart. Hayes probably read what you said and then plagarized by not giving you “mouthnote” credit. Always KNEW you were smarter than Chris!

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bito
Member

k’es brought this up the other night about Walker not setting up the exchanges until after the elections (didn’t you k’es?), like Mitt WAS really going to rid the nation of that evil Obamacares. Looks like his own AG tool him to school and set him straight.

Scott Walker Gets Smacked Down by the Constitution and Told to Implement Obamacare

After they upheld it, the cheese state cowboy who acts like Bush but is really more Nixon sans the smarts doubled down, flaunting his lawless defiance of the law:

Walker issued a statement Thursday morning in reaction to the U.S. Supreme Court’s upholding of ACA in which he doubled down on his promise not to implement ObamaCares and called for repealing the federal health care law. Walker said the state will not implement the law until after the November elections.

Because, you know, laws are for Democrats.

[….]

After the SCOTUS ruling yesterday, Van Hollen said that Walker is obligated to follow the law according to its deadlines. That gives Walker just a few months to throw together something in time for the November deadline (insert laughter here).

Walker is now pretending there are “multiple deadlines” and that this somehow means he doesn’t have to follow them. Since Walker’s signature legislation turned out to cost the state 87 million dollars due to minutae that he failed to address, you can understand how Walker doesn’t get why there are a few deadlines.

http://www.politicususa.com/scott-walker-smacked-constitution-told-implement-obamacare.html

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bito
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SallyT
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[img]http://media.caglecartoons.com/media/cartoons/77/2012/06/29/114317_600.jpg[/img]

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SallyT
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UPDATE
During a press conference call this afternoon, MIT economist Jonathan Gruber — who advised both Mitt Romney and Barack Obama on health care — stressed that less than 1 percent of (or 44,000 out of 6 million) Massachusetts residents are paying the penalty for not enrolling in health insurance. That fee helps the state fund the uncompensated care of people who become sick but don’t have personal insurance. Since Romneycare went into effect, “annual state spending for uncompensated care dropped by $118 million over the first five years of reform.”

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bito
Member

He was on MSNBC’s “The Cycle” today and so was S.E. Cupp, I switched to a rerun of “Kitchen Nightmares.” What little I have seen of that program, it really sucks. The flashes of it I have seen, Cupp has used the “Town Hall” blog as news source and she also tried to compare the UK’s NHS to the ACA, worst part, no one called her out on it, the format seems to not allow it.

But to get back on topic, he was citing some of those same facts, he also cited the 7 states that attempted to do HCR without the mandate and they all failed.
He also brought up the point that the mandate came from that librul thin tank ‘The Heritage Foundation’ and was pushed as a conservative talking point of personal responsibility. But since we know that black men have no personal responsibility and we have one in the WH, it has to be an evil librul plot.

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SallyT
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SallyT
Member

[img]http://media.caglecartoons.com/media/cartoons/20/2012/06/28/114267_600.jpg[/img]

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bito
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This came up earlier today: What if states drag their feet or refuse to set up the state exchanges?

Republican Senator Calls For Federal Takeover Of State Health Exchanges By Telling States Not To Set One Up

The Affordable Care Act requires each state to set up a health insurance exchange where consumers can purchase insurance, but if a state does not implement one, then the federal government will operate the state’s exchange program. Officials in several Republican-dominated states put off setting up their exchanges until after the ruling, and governors in three states — Florida, South Carolina, and Wisconsin — say they will not act to implement the law until after the November election if Mitt Romney is elected and tries to repeal the law.

States have until November to turn in their exchange plans to the federal government so that the state programs can be approved by Jan. 1, 2013 — and in place by Jan. 1, 2014.

More: http://thinkprogress.org/health/2012/06/28/508333/jim-demint-states-stop-implementing-exchanges/?utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=twitter

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bito
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I am learning or remembering more about the ACA on the White House’s site on healthcare.

http://www.whitehouse.gov/healthreform

Still more questions? Try this one:

http://www.healthcare.gov/index.html

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choicelady
Member

bito – healthcare.gov is also an excellent place to start finding affordable insurance for those with pre-existing conditions. The dark blue tab, upper left, starts a VERY simple process to getting that coverage. Whether or not your state has a pre-existing condition plan, the federal one is cheaper and easy to access – even if you live in Jim DeMint’s state.

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SallyT
Member

And, Bito, there is this:

AARP Responds to Supreme Court Ruling on the Affordable Care Act
AARP is pleased that the Supreme Court found the critically important provisions of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) to be constitutional. This landmark legislation is already improving the health and financial security of our members and all Americans.

We know that our more than 37 million members, and Americans generally, want to know how these provisions affect them now and moving forward. That is why we developed the AARP Health Law Guide (www.aarp.org/healthlawguide) and other resources to help Americans understand their benefits now and in the future.

http://healthlawguide.aarp.org/?cmp=RDRCT-HLTLWGD_AUG24_011
(Updated: 6/28/12)

http://www.aarp.org/about-aarp/press-center/info-06-2012/AARP-Responds-to-Supreme-Court-Ruling-on-the-Affordable-Care-Act.html

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bito
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Dr.Paul Krugman has an excellent opinion piece on the passage of health care reform today. Worth reading:

The Real Winners
http://www.nytimes.com/2012/06/29/opinion/the-real-winners.html?smid=tw-NytimesKrugman&seid=auto

So the Supreme Court — defying many expectations — upheld the Affordable Care Act, a k a Obamacare. There will, no doubt, be many headlines declaring this a big victory for President Obama, which it is. But the real winners are ordinary Americans — people like you.

[…]

At one level, the most striking thing about the campaign against reform was its dishonesty. Remember “death panels”? Remember how reform’s opponents would, in the same breath, accuse Mr. Obama of promoting big government and denounce him for cutting Medicare? Politics ain’t beanbag, but, even in these partisan times, the unscrupulous nature of the campaign against reform was exceptional. And, rest assured, all the old lies and probably a bunch of new ones will be rolled out again in the wake of the Supreme Court’s decision. Let’s hope the Democrats are ready.

But what was and is really striking about the anti-reformers is their cruelty. It would be one thing if, at any point, they had offered any hint of an alternative proposal to help Americans with pre-existing conditions, Americans who simply can’t afford expensive individual insurance, Americans who lose coverage along with their jobs. But it has long been obvious that the opposition’s goal is simply to kill reform, never mind the human consequences. We should all be thankful that, for the moment at least, that effort has failed.

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KQµårk 死神
Member

When many progressives were shouting the kill the bill crap Krugman was one reasonable voice. He wrote an article showing that the ACA was almost identical to the Swiss universal HC system that is still cheaper by about 30% per capita and better than ours.

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SallyT
Member

Thanks Bito, that was a great article!

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SueInCa
Member

Dang Adlib 215 comments shows how important this was to people. I am pleased for everyone. With that I say good nite.

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SallyT
Member

Good night, Sherlock. See you later on here. Dr. Watson is on call.

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funksands
Member

All you Libs know that now Healthcare Queens are going to start crawling out of the woodwork. I bet they’ll have 3-4 heart attacks a year to game the system.

Don’t say you didn’t see this comin’.

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Truth
Member

funk, you asked yesterday if the GnoP could use reconciliation. Here’s what I found today on msnbc, it sounds quite encouraging:

And Romney made this argument after the decision — vote for me because I will repeal the health-care law. But is repeal a realistic outcome? On “Morning Joe,” House Majority Leader Eric Cantor said that Senate Republicans could do it through reconciliation. But conservative writer David Frum argues that Republicans would no longer have the high political ground; they’d find themselves in the same position Democrats did in 2009-2010. “Suddenly it will be their town halls filled with outraged senior citizens whose benefits are threatened; their incumbencies that will be threatened.” The New Yorker’s Ryan Lizza makes two other points: 1) the Congressional Budget Office, like it did last time, would probably rule that repealing the health-care would INCREASE the deficit, and 2) reconciliation can be used only for things that have a budgetary effect. “Much of the A.C.A., such as the insurance exchanges and subsidies, would fall under these categories. But a lot of it, including the hated individual mandate, does not.”

http://firstread.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2012/06/29/12479330-first-thoughts-ending-the-month-on-a-high-note?lite

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SallyT
Member

Yes, and they will need R&R in Hawaii! On our Tax Dollars!

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bito
Member

Why stop at heart attacks, maybe a few bouts of various cancers because everyone knows chemotherapy is like an exotic island vacation.

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SallyT
Member

Damn, Chemo wasn’t like that for me. I knew I had the wrong doctor! I guess I needed one of those Government ones. Nah, seriously, I had a great doctor. He saved my life, twice!

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bito
Member

Sally,

Senator Says Employers Should Be Able To Deny Coverage To Cancer Patients Because ‘Our Nation Was Based On Freedom’

http://thinkprogress.org/health/2012/06/28/508299/ron-johnson-cancer-patients/

And corporations should be free to spew carcinogens into our food, air and water because, you know, we are based on freedom!

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SallyT
Member

Of course, they are Government Employees and they don’t have to worry about such things because their “Employer” doesn’t discriminate! Jerks!

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bito
Member

Read Natoma Canfield’s Letter to President Obama

http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2012/06/28/natoma-canfields-letter-president-obama

a taste of the letter:

Last year (2009) my insurance premium was increased over 25% even though I increased my deductible and out of pocket to the highest limits available. I paid out $6075.24 in premiums, $2415.26 for medical care, $225 in co-pays and $1500 for prescriptions. I never reached my deductible of $2500 so the insurance company only paid out a total of $953.32 to my providers.

I must repeat, in 2009 my insurance company received $6075.24 in premiums and paid out only $953.32! Incredibly I have just been notified that my premium for next year 2010 has been increased over 40% to $8496.24 ($708.02 per month)!!!! This is the same insurance company I have been with for over 11 cancer free years!!!

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