The Supreme Court says the Federal Government cannot mandate that Americans buy health insurance denying the Obama Administrations claim that such a mandate was allowed under the Commerce Clause of the U.S. Constitution. Unfortunately for those who opposed the law, including yours truly, the Court ruled that the Federal Government was authorized to tax those without health insurance. Chief Justice John Roberts wrote the decision saying,‘‘Because the Constitution permits such a tax, it is not our role to forbid it, or to pass upon its wisdom or fairness,’’. I’ll surprise my Conservative friends by stating, grudgingly, that I think Roberts is right. To disagree would impose undeniable limits on what our government can choose to tax. Since the adoption of the 16th Amendment creating the income tax, Congress has had the power to determine how and where taxes should be imposed. To impose a limit would render the Federal Government essentially impotent in its ability to pay for itself. “The law”, Roberts wrote, “makes going without insurance just another thing the Government taxes, like buying gasoline or earning income. And if the mandate is in effect just a tax hike on certain taxpayers who do not have health insurance, it may be within Congress’s constitutional power to tax.”
Don’t misunderstand me, I’m not happy about this. And I admit I’d never thought of the individual mandate in Obamacare as a tax and as such legal. Though clearly I and every American with an IQ above that of a Banana Slug knew in fact it was a tax. Part of the reason I didn’t think of it as a tax is because President Obama and the Democratic Congress that passed this nearly 3000-page law repeatedly said “it wasn’t a tax”. However, in arguments before the High Court the President’s Solicitor General repeatedly made clear the penalty for failing to have health insurance WAS a tax, and thus Constitutional an argument they won today.
Justice Anthony Kennedy read the dissenting opinion and called the health care law, “invalid in its entirety”. He was joined in dissent by Justices Thomas, Scalia, and Alito. At the time of this writing their opinion and reasons for it are not available for reading or quoting.
With the Constitutionality of Obamacare now settled, and it is settled so those who oppose it can quit with any whining; we must now revisit the law’s wisdom and fairness which Roberts pointed out the Court is not empowered to question. It still remains a bad law which does harm to the cause for its creation in the first place. The need for something like Obamacare came about because of the high cost of health care. Some would say the law was necessary because of the high cost of health insurance and the approximately 30-million Americans who are not covered by insurance. But insurance is expensive because health care is expensive. Those who are uninsured are uninsured because that can’t afford insurance. So, once again the problem is the cost of health care. Hello?
Obamacare’s only step toward controlling costs is to limit and regulate care. Determinations as to who and what care will be provided is, in large part, going to fall to government bureaucrats. How’s the wisdom and fairness in that?
Since the TAX for not having health insurance is well below the cost of the premium many, if not most, people and businesses will choose to pay the tax and drop coverage. Under Obamacare the TAX for businesses not providing health insurance coverage for their employees is $2500. With a fiduciary responsibility to stock holders, you have to ask yourself what is the incentive for anyone managing a business to carry insurance? The penalty/tax for individuals not covered is as follows:
$95 in 2014, $325 in 2015, and $695 in 2016. Under Obamacare insurance companies are no longer able to deny coverage to a person seeking coverage based on pre-existing conditions. So, why pay for health insurance if you’re healthy. Why not pay the tax until such time as you get sick and then buy insurance? Financially, it’s the logical thing to do.
The end result of the High Court’s ruling is a law takes effect that will drive more people and businesses away from health care coverage, which will drive up insurance prices, which inevitably will drive more and more people and businesses away from paying for coverage. In the end insurance companies will no longer have a viable product that is affordable for anyone but the super rich. The burden of paying for Americans health coverage will fall on the already overburdened Federal Government. The added deficit spending will weaken the American dollar against world currency, as it already has, which will contribute to massive inflation, which will ultimately bring down the economy however strong or weak the economy happens to be. It’s a recipe for disaster.
The Supreme Court validated the Congress’ ability to tax. Sad but true. Fortunately, the disaster scenario we can all expect with the unfolding of Obamacare can be averted. As I wrote in a previous blog, Obama can’t Win Healthcare Test, winning the High Court’s decision will only inspire Republicans to vote Obama and Democrats out of office this November. Roberts has awakened a sleeping bear. The American people will not likely stand for the implementation of Obamacare without a fight. GOP Presidential candidate Mitt Romney‘s promise to repeal it will undoubtedly bring many who were on the fence about him to his corner. Senate and House candidates who continue to stand up against the new law will receive the money and support necessary to put the GOP in control of the Congress. Even the more liberal media outlets like CNN, MSNBC, and the New York Times admit polls show more than 70% of Americans don’t like Obamacare.
Romney and Republican Congressional candidates need to make sure they don’t forget the aspects of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act that are good and that people like. Their challenge will be to figure out how to pay for guaranteed coverage for those with pre-existing conditions; the guarantee that you won’t be dropped by your insurance company if you get sick; the ability to keep adult kids on their parents insurance plans (though does it really have to be until age 26? I mean, I love my kids, but I expect them to stand on their own at a certain point. 1 or 2 years after normal age of leaving college, 24, seems reasonable to me).
My hope is the Supreme Court’s ruling today wakes up the American people and helps them understand the responsibility they alone hold. If your Congressman votes for a law you oppose, or an excessive tax it’s up to you to vote him out of office. The High Court is holding YOU accountable. YOU have to hold your legislators accountable.
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- Romney slams Obama’s health care law (content.usatoday.com)
- What the high court will decide — and what the aftermath will be – msnbc.com (nbcpolitics.msnbc.msn.com)
- Congress ready for high court’s health care decisions — then it gets tricky (cnn.com)
- Obama Defends Health Care Law: ‘It’s the Right Thing to Do’ (abcnews.go.com)
- Romney attacks ‘Obamacare’ ahead of SCOTUS ruling (goerie.com)
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