Since yesterday’s decision, there has been an explosion of all sorts of emotions all over facebook, twitter, and the media. Everyone has something to say (including me, as this is now my second post). After posting yesterday, I allowed myself to read some news articles, watch some videos online, and read the posts of others on my social media. After all of that, I feel even more strongly that the opinion handed down by the Court was the ‘right’ decision. After reading several blogs and breakdowns of the decision and its impact on the Affordable Care Act, I am positive John Roberts is a genius and his opinion is actually a win for Conservatives.
Major Win: Killing ObamaCare
Most people have focused on the individual mandate. A week ago, I was pretty sure this would be held unconstitutional myself. I willingly admit, though, I thought the Government was only arguing the mandate was constitutional under the Commerce Clause. As I said yesterday, Obama has said over and over and over again that the mandate was “not a tax” (see an example), do so I did not even realize the Government had argued this power to tax argument as an alternative. Anyways, as we all know by now, the majority held the mandate was constitutional under this power. However, Roberts’ decision on the mandate is not what makes this a huge win for Conservatives – it’s the issue we, as individuals, have placed on the back burner.
Roberts wrote the majority opinion with which four of the justices disagreed, writing dissents. However, Roberts’ opinion on the expansion of Medicaid was actually the same opinion as that of the four dissenting justices. Only two justices disagreed with the decision on the Medicaid expansion (Ginsburg and Sotomayor) saying the expansion was within the scope of the Spending Power of Congress. So, basically, a super majority of the Court (since it was 7-2) said the Medicaid expansion was unconstitutional. So, let’s break down what this really means.
ObamaCare was effectively resting on this expansion. For the rest of the Act to work the way it is supposed to, the states need to expand their Medicaid coverage to all of these newly eligible people. Well, it doesn’t look like that will happen since 26 states filed this suit showing their disfavor of the expansion. Why? Well, like I said in yesterday’s post, these states will see the costs of having to cover this massive amount of people after 2016. So, if these 26 states (or even just some of these states) opt out of the expansion (which they can freely do now and still receive the existing funds), there will be a huge number of people who are not insured who would have been covered under the expansion. If they can’t receive coverage under Medicaid, they would be mandated to either purchase their own plan or pay the ‘tax’. Well, again, the tax would be a LOT less than the cost of a health insurance premium, so, probably, a lot of these people would choose to just pay the tax (and that’s even if they make enough to fall above the federal filing level). In the end, they’re still uninsured. Well, these uninsureds will still be able to receive emergency medical treatment. If they’re still receiving treatment and don’t have the insurance to pay for, who is paying for it? The government. So, the government is going to have all of these costs, too. That said, as it stands now, the Act can positively not do what we’ve been told – lower costs and increase the number of insureds. The only way that could happen is to bring in more revenue to cover the costs, effectively lowering the costs of the people.
How can the government bring in more money? Raise the shared responsibility ‘tax’? Yeah, not likely. Part of Roberts’ reasoning of holding the payment is a tax rests on the fact that the payment is so low and effectively, not a ‘burden.’ Aren’t we taxed enough? Wasn’t this payment not supposed to be a tax anyways? Didn’t Obama promise not to raise taxes? I don’t think the Obama camp could get that to work so how would they do what they promised? Anyone?
Conservative Win: Limiting Government
Yesterday, I completely backed Roberts’ decision; today, I have an all new respect for the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. People were initially shocked and dismayed with the opinion and that Roberts – a Bush appointee – ‘sided with the liberals’. He was able to write an opinion which, after reading, everyone can support. The liberals are happy and claim the decision a victory for Obama. The Conservatives, though initially upset, are happy because, as I just explained, ObamaCare is NOT going to work but will collapse within itself. Other than effectively killing ObamaCare, the decision has even more positives for Conservatives. The opinion absolutely limits Congress’ power through the Commerce Clause. As I described yesterday, Congress uses the Commerce Clause to reach into nearly any activity. By declaring this mandate was not constitutional under the Commerce Clause, the Court actually constrained the federal government’s power to regulate interstate commerce in a way that will most definitely limit the government in the future.
If ObamaCare is not going to ‘work’ now without the forcing of Medicaid expansion, what can we do? If you think the current health care system in America is working, you’ve probably not had a major health issue or had to fight for care or live without because you couldn’t afford insurance. We NEED health care reform. The problem is how? How do we implement a new system that works? I’ve read a lot on this. Again, I work for a health care services provider so I have to be interested in this kind of thing. There are lots of proposals out there – single payer, the “Ryden” plan, the Hsiao plan. Will they work? I don’t know – I’m no expert. ObamaCare took our current system and tried to “fix” it. It was nothing more than a band aid, and like most band aids, it is not going to stick forever. In my opinion, we need to do more than just try to fix the current system. I feel like we’d do best by completely scraping it. We need a new, free market system that will actually help lower costs. Obama tried and is failing. Come on Republicans, it’s your turn!
After my hiatus from all social media yesterday, at my mom’s request, I watched Romney’s reaction to the decision. I applaud him. I saw yesterday that within three hours of the decision becoming public, Romney’s campaign raised more than $1 million. Three hours! That’s a lot of money and a little time. In the 24 hours or so since, he’s raised more than $4 million. This proves there are lots of people out there who disagree with the ACA and want it out. I read these statistics from recent surveys this morning:
o 54% of likely voters favored repealing the law completely while 39% opposed repeal (Rasmussen Reports)
o 55% of people opposed Obama’s plan with only 37% favoring it (ABC News)
Romney can use this decision to his advantage. People are unhappy with healthcare - obviously. Again, spread the news of the consequences of this plan – especially now that the ‘forced’ Medicaid expansion is out. Become aware and stay informed! Inform others! This could very likely be the “campaign winning” issue.
I cannot stress enough how important the people are - how important YOU are. This is not a time to be apathetic. I told my friend last night that, while I am using pretty strongly opinionated, I oftentimes keep quiet as a way to avoid controversy and conflict, but this is not one of those times. Every single one of us has to spread the word, show our support, and be vocal. Let’s use the genius of Chief Justice Roberts and make November's election a Conservative victory (just like the decision).