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News Supreme Court upholds health care reform

  1. Jun 28, 2012 #1

    D H

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    Including the mandate!

    Chief Justice Roberts on the mandate:
    Because the Constitution permits such a tax, it is not our role to forbid it, or to pass upon its wisdom or fairness.

    Everything I read/heard beforehand predicted either a split decision or a complete repudiation. I don't think anyone expected the Court to uphold the mandate. The oral arguments went so very, very badly. That's usually indicative of a problem.


    This is of course all over the news. Here's one:
    http://www.cnn.com/2012/06/28/politics/supreme-court-health-ruling/index.html
     
    Last edited: Jun 28, 2012
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  3. Jun 28, 2012 #2

    russ_watters

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    I thought there was a chance it would be upheld, but based on the ICC. I'm shocked they used the power to tax as justification. Doesn't this mean Congress has the power to do absolutely anything they want as long as there is a tax attached to it?! Sheesh, the ICC trump card was bad enough!

    (caveat: haven't read the decision yet)
     
    Last edited: Jun 28, 2012
  4. Jun 28, 2012 #3
    I haven't read anything, but what was here, the cnn article & the video.


    Russ_watters does the US not have required mandatory insurance for vehicle drivers?

    I wonder how upset the health insurance companies are about the ruling, specifically the health "insurance profiteers".


    Also sounds like allot of people already have coverage.
     
  5. Jun 28, 2012 #4

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    That was shocking. Not the commerce clause, not the necessary and proper clause. The "Okay, maybe its a tax then" argument was a last minute ..., well, this sports video from 1984 says it best.

     
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 25, 2014
  6. Jun 28, 2012 #5

    jtbell

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    By the numbers: Health insurance

     
  7. Jun 28, 2012 #6
    This is certainly unusual. No one really expected Roberts to be the deciding vote. Kennedy, whom everyone thought would at least be slightly sympathetic to the government, ended up casting a vote to nullify the whole thing. I think Obama dodged a major bullet here.

    FIGURATIVELY SPEAKING OF COURSE.
     
  8. Jun 28, 2012 #7

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    I've just started reading the decision itself. It appears to me that severability was the deciding issue to both Roberts and Kennedy. How much judicial intervention is acceptable? To Roberts, not much. To Kennedy, it's less of a problem.

    To Roberts, that one couldn't just nullify the mandate without destroying the whole thing entailed too much judicial intervention. Perhaps he saw that last minute hail mary pass about the mandate as a tax as the way out? To Kennedy, that one couldn't just nullify the mandate without destroying the whole thing meant that the whole thing had to be tossed. Kennedy didn't buy that mandate as a tax argument. That's my take on this weird split (in other words, my opinion, not fact).

    The court did reject a couple of items in this case. They rejected the commerce clause argument, and this rejection will have ramifications in completely unrelated future cases. They also rejected a mandate on the states to beef up their Medicaid programs.
     
  9. Jun 28, 2012 #8
    I'm no expert, but how does the 16th Amendment prevent the government from being able to tax for whatever they want? I've always thought they could do that...

    Regarding the Commerce Clause, some say this limits the powers of the Congress which uses the CC as a way to regulate so much. Some also say that, ironically, the concurrence was written as a dissent, and the dissent was written as a full opinion.
     
  10. Jun 28, 2012 #9

    Redbelly98

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    I would think the prospect of getting voted out of office if they "tax for whatever they want" should be enough.
     
  11. Jun 28, 2012 #10

    Vanadium 50

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    It does. However, one does not have standing to challenge a tax in the courts until one has paid it.

    When the Left is done with their partying, they are going to have a terrific hangover when they realize what Roberts has done to them. With the help of the four reliably liberal justices, he managed to:

    1. Shoot down the legal theory that the Commerce Clause and the Necessary and Proper Clause give Congress the ability to do whatever they feel is a good idea.

    2. Reenergize the 10th Amendment and limit the federal government's ability to coerce states.

    3. Allow the Republicans to portray ObamaCare, already deeply unpopular, as the largest tax increase in history, one that was sold as not being a tax, and one that needs to be even bigger to cover the costs. (Remember, 10 years of taxes goes to paying 6 years of benefits)

    4. Allows opponents a second bite at the apple once this tax is paid and they have standing to challenge.
     
  12. Jun 28, 2012 #11

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    Except for #3, I have to disagree with you. I agree that items #1 and #2 are key parts of the judgement, but the four liberal members did not play a supporting role here. They dissented. It was the four conservative members plus Kennedy who made this a reality. This part of the judgement will have future ramifications completely unrelated to health care.

    Item #4, now the liberals have a judgement that strongly implies that the tax is constitutional -- and before anyone has paid a dime. This too will have some unexpected consequences.

    Item #3 is a biggy (as are #1 and #2). The program was sold in part as not being a tax increase. Well, now it is a tax increase. And it's disproportionately a tax increase on people who overwhelmingly voted for Obama in 2008.
     
    Last edited: Jun 28, 2012
  13. Jun 28, 2012 #12
    #2 involved the liberal justices. The Court voted 7-2 to strike down the aspect of Obamacare that lets them threaten to cut off all Medicaid funding for states that opt out of the program's expanded Medicaid coverage.
     
  14. Jun 28, 2012 #13

    russ_watters

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    I'm with you on all except this one (the political implications are vast and fascinating here - this is so multi-dimensional!):
    If Congress can pass whatever law they want as long as there is a tax attached as the form of coercion (even if they call it a penalty!), then they have at best replaced one end-around the 10th Amendment (the commerce clause) with a new one.

    It's a good thing Obama no longer has a filibuster proof majority anymore: otherwise, he could get a law passed that "taxes" voters for voting for Republicans!

    Also:

    5. "If the court had struck down Obamacare, you wouldn't have to vote for me to get it repealed. But since they didn't, the only way to get rid of Obamacare is to vote for me." [/Romney speech writer]

    What disturbs me most so far is an excerpt from Roberts' decision I heard on the radio that appeared to say the Roberts voted to uphold because he wanted to defer to Congress and wanted us to sleep in the be we made (voting for Obama and a Democratic Congress) rather than overturn a law he believed to be unConstitutional. I can't imagine an action more damaging to the court than for them to shirk their most sacred responsibility.

    That's also a different - worse, imo - take on Judicial Activism than I had heard before: essentially it says that judicial activism isn't about upholding laws they think are Right even if they are unConstitutional, but rather upholding laws because they don't wan't to go against Congress.
     
    Last edited: Jun 28, 2012
  15. Jun 28, 2012 #14

    russ_watters

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    Cato Institute paraphrasing me:
    http://www.cnn.com/2012/06/28/opinion/shapiro-health-ruling/index.html?hpt=hp_bn7
     
  16. Jun 28, 2012 #15

    russ_watters

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  17. Jun 28, 2012 #16
    This might be a bit off topic, but does anyone have a link to a place where I can figure out what exactly this means for me? All I can find are things describing the effect on the typical American, the poor, the rich etc..

    What about us zero-income non-insured student types?
     
  18. Jun 29, 2012 #17

    Borek

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    Can't say I understand much of the whole story (and your discussion) as legalese and details of US system are a Greek to me. What struck me was the fact that the decision - nominally taken by the court, so it should be taken solely on the legal ground - seems to be strictly political. At least according to CNN article linked to in the very first post those seen as liberal voted for, those seen as conservative against.

    Perhaps I am surprised just because of my naivety and that's the way the system works, still, I am in stupor. First, 2:0 for Italy, now, 5:4 for Obamacare. What a day.
     
  19. Jun 29, 2012 #18

    Evo

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    The health reform was badly needed. Now my kids can get medical care.
     
  20. Jun 29, 2012 #19

    Ryan_m_b

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    My knowledge of this issue is limited and observing any healthcare topic from the east side of the Atlantic looking west is bound to have some cultural confusion* but I'd gathered from various sources that the expectation that the bill would be overturned was very hyped.

    If someone could clarify something for me though, the individual mandate requires that everyone must buy healthcare but millions of people can't afford healthcare so what provisions are there to deal with this? I understand that there will be greater regulation on whether or not insurance companies can discriminate based on pre-existing conditions and an expansion of medicare but for your run of the mill lower income family how will this help?

    *Though I am extremely happy about any move the US takes towards healthcare for all.
     
  21. Jun 29, 2012 #20
    For one, anyone who makes less than 133% of the poverty line automatically qualifies for Medicaid, which is a government-ran health insurance program without a premium. For two, you are allowed to claim tax breaks and subsidies if you don't make very much money in order for you to afford the premium. In addition, any corporation with more than 50 employees must offer employer-subsidized health insurance, which itself will likely be subsidized for many small business owners. Plus premiums themselves are likely to decrease markedly given that at least 80% of the expenditures of a given health insurance company must be in the form of actual, honest-to-god medical care - and they must refund part of your premium if they don't meet that.

    Those are just the parts I'm currently aware of.
     
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