Thursday, June 28, 2012

Further thoughts on the Supreme Court's health care decision

The Court's bombshell decision has sent me pondering and re-pondering. First and foremost -- nothing in this world will convince me that Roberts went the way he went for any reason other than politics. Cynicism may be cheap and unbecoming, but when a Bush appointee decides in favor of Obama in an election year -- well, cynicism is all I got.

How can this decision benefit Romney? There were several arguments in favor of the law's constitutionality, but Roberts chose to judge the matter based on the government's ability to levy taxes. So universal health care coverage is now defined, by our highest court, as a tax.

Romney is running on the basis of the perception that Obama is a tax-and-spend president. The trouble with that perception is that it does not match reality: Obama has, in fact, lowered taxes. A lot of people don't realize that the much-derided stimulus was largely a matter of tax cuts. That strangely unmentionable fact is bound to come out during the debates.

Now, Romney will be able to point to an Obama tax plan with a frightening price tag.

David Frum would disagree with this analysis...
First, today's Supreme Court decision will make it a lot harder to elect Mitt Romney. President Obama has just been handed a fearsome election weapon. 2012 is no longer exclusively a referendum on the president's economic management. 2012 is now also a referendum on Mitt Romney's healthcare plans. The president can now plausibly say that a vote for the Republicans is a vote to raise prescription drug costs on senior citizens and to empower insurance companies to deny coverage to children for pre-existing conditions. Those charges will hurt—and maybe hurt enough to sway the election.
I believe that Romney became more electable. It's all about taxes. Ask younger working people if they would countenance raising taxes to help seniors and people with pre-existing conditions, and you will see heads shake no. Screw grandma and screw the cancer-ridden kids.

(In reality, what the American people want is some fantasyland solution in which the cancer-ridden kids get care while taxes go down. If Romney can convince people that he has such a plan, he's in.)

We have some indication that political considerations turned Roberts around on this issue:
Back in May, there were rumors floating around relevant legal circles that a key vote was taking place, and that Roberts was feeling tremendous pressure from unidentified circles to vote to uphold the mandate. Did Roberts originally vote to invalidate the mandate on commerce clause grounds, and to invalidate the Medicaid expansion, and then decide later to accept the tax argument and essentially rewrite the Medicaid expansion (which, as I noted, citing Jonathan Cohn, was the sleeper issue in this case) to preserve it?
Finally: I'm not going to get into arguments about the merits of Obama's legislation per se. What more is there to say?

Readers know that I have long favored socialized health insurance, which we are supposed to call single-payer. My great fear is that the Republicans will find some way to knock down Obamacare -- a constitutional amendment, perhaps? -- which will simultaneously destroy any chance to nationalize health insurance.
Joseph, Barack Obama is probably in a better position for reelection than any president since Nixon in 1972.

I wouldn't worry about Romney. Obama's second term started today.
The emerging right-wing meme is that the ACA is "the biggest tax increase in the history of the universe."

If the defenders of the ACA are unable to point out that the only portion of the ACA that SCOTUS considered to be a tax was the penalty for failing to abide by the mandate, they deserve to have Romney win.
paul, I'm predicting a Romney win -- at least 300 in the electoral college.

stickler, the word "tax" drowns out all other words in modern American discourse.
Worry? You guys are funny.
The REAL power in this country still backs Obama...hit the snooze button and in 2016 we'll of had 16 years of extreme right wing [ERW] government and be voting for more.

Obama is as right wing as they come.
nothing in this world will convince me that Roberts went the way he went for any reason other than politics.

what about bribery? The health insurance companies do very well on this law and they can use it to replace Medicare with a voucher system.
Seriously, how could Romney get away with criticizing ACA? He put in his own version of Obamacare in Massachusetts.
Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is 

powered by Blogger. 

Isn't yours?