Yesterday this blog advised that it would be delayed by one day to allow the Supremes to release their rulings on the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010, affectionately referred to as Obama-care, including the following evaluation: “The bet is that they will strike down the mandate, though they might suggest it would be constitutional if it was a tax, instead of a mandate.”
That’s exactly the the Supremes did in a 5-4 vote. Sometimes you just get lucky and pick the right horse!
Chief Supreme John Roberts, who read the majority decision, said that although the individual mandate could not be considered constitutional under the Commerce Clause of the US Constitution, it was indeed constitutional under Congress’s right to impose taxes.
Also, in a 7-2 decision, the Supremes did strike down as unconstitutional the federal government’s plan to tell the states how they would have to spend the additional Medicaid funds that the federal government was to provide them for people who cannot afford any other health insurance. The court said that the states cannot be punished by the feds if the states refuse to spend the extra Medicaid money as intended for Obama-care.
That kind of sucks. However, that part of the law can be fixed easily if congress is willing to do so in a bipartisan manner. But the smart money says that there isn’t a snowball’s chance in hell that the republicans will work with democrats to do ANYTHING that could enhance the law. Quite the contrary: the GOP has made it crystal clear all morning that they are going to once again start broadcasting at the top of their lungs all their Obama-care lies in an effort to get the American voters to hate and fear Obama-care. That is, after all, what they do on every issue they can’t win on merit.
Mitt Romney, the presumptive republican presidential nominee, had claimed during the primaries that he opposed Obama-care because the insurance mandate, while okay for a stat to impose, was unconstitutional for the federal government to impose. But now that the Supremes have ruled that it’s actually a tax instead of a mandated insurance purchase, Romney has flip-flopped and is now claiming he hates Obama-care because its a tax.
And yet, Romney-care, which he implemented in Massachusetts when he was governor, is almost a carbon copy model for Obama-care. But Mitt knows better than anyone how to lean into the wind.
Notably, by the way, 84% of Massachusetts residents like their Romney-care. And yet, only 50% of those same folks favor Obama-care, despite there being no significant difference between the two. The reason for the disparity is simple and clear: Marketing, or lack thereof. Over the past two years, the democrats have done an absolutely miserable job of selling Obama-care. while the republicans have done a very effective job of fabricating lies to get Americans to hate and fear it.
The lesson here is that the democrats have very quickly got get really good at selling the true benefits of Obama-care to the voters, and they’ve got to instantly jump all over every single GOP lie about Obama-care between now and the November election. That’s not going to be an easy task because Pro-Romney Super-pacs announced this morning that they will immediately spend over USD $20 million on anti-Obama-care ads. But the dems have to bite the bullet and make certain that their message and the facts about Obama-care are clearly and repeatedly understood.
In the meantime, the legal analysts will pick apart the Supreme Court decision. In doing so, they’ll probably figure out that if the tax collected from people who don’t buy health insurance by 2014 is sequestered from general revenue, it might just become a source of funding for a single-payer public option. Sooner or later, the for-profit private health insurance companies will have to adapt and expand into other insurance areas or go out of business.
The public-option-single-payer is what should have happened in the first place, and if it wasn’t because republicans strive like addicts to protect big business and corporate America, the USA would have had universal health care of the type enjoyed by every other western advanced industrial country on the planet two years ago.
For now, though, ponder the following: The republicans are maneuvering to make this election partially about repealing Obama-care. That’s actually cool, because according to several recent polls, 33% favor Obama-care while 47% oppose it.
BUT!!! Among those opposing Obama-care, fully 27% said their opposition to Obama-care is that it doesn’t go far enough! That means that almost 60% agree that there has to be some health care reform that is at least as far-reaching as Obama-care.
Of course, you won’t hear that from republicans. And do you know why?
Because it’s an “Inconvenient Truth”!