Obamacare Upheld; Roberts the Swing Vote???


Well, the cat’s out of the bag. By a 5-4 vote the SCOTUS largely upheld Obamacare, including the mandate to purchase private insurance.

Consider this an open thread to post your thoughts on both the bill, the case, and the odd political meaning behind Chief Justice Roberts’ being the swing vote. There are stories all over the web as everybody is casting this story in some way to support their take on health care and politics.

What do I have to say? Well, it’s no secret I’ve hated the individual mandate to purchase private insurance. In fact, I’ve equated it with just another step in the fascistization of America. You can read what I had to say about Obamacare almost 3 years ago, pointing to the IRS tax as being its saving grace, as Chief Justice Roberts just ruled. But my opinion is  not the important one today, and I have accepted that there is some good in the bill. Inevitably, though, I come back to hating to have to swallow Baucus’ bitter pill in order to get the meager reforms that currently enjoy popularity.

While I’ve been committed to single payer from the get-go, there are still some avenues in Obamacare that offer some interesting alternative approaches to health care insurance, particularly the cooperative model, which is being aggressively pursued in Montana.

Have away!

  1. Adam

    What a beautiful country. For just a meager several million dollars, corporations can lobby congress and the President to FORCE Americans to purchase their product or service. I wonder what they’ll force me to buy next?

    I can only hope that Gibson Guitars and Orvis get a stronger lobby. I much prefer music and fly fishing to big pharma poisons and test happy docs.

    Unlimited corporate spending in elections is no doubt a problem, but in the end the people still decide no matter the amount of money poured into a race. In this SCOTUS decision, the people don’t decide. Corporations simply purchase the power to force their product or service upon us. We’re headed down a slippery slope that the robes in Washington can’t even begin to wrap their heads around.

    • Buzz Feedback

      Yes, what a country. Because now all the previously uninsured freeloaders will have to take some responsibility (that’s a small c conservative value, isn’t it?) and pay their own way, instead of me and my insurance premiums covering their asses.

      • Adam

        I’m a conservative that prefers individual states make health care policy. My preference for MT would be single payer. Of course, if you want to abandon your liberal values and pretend like Obamacare isn’t garbage, be my guest. Party cheerleaders will be party cheerleaders I guess.

        • Buzz Feedback

          Party cheerleader? Not sure where you got that. And I don’t recall mentioning anything about my values or my political leanings. I guess we all see what we want to see.

  2. BlackBart

    I sorta like the idea of Massachusetts’ “Romney Care” being the model of state-by-state compliance with the Health Care Reform Law.
    It would no-doubt work better, and the irony is delicious.

  3. Turner

    I’m not very enthusiastic about Obamacare. I favor a single payer plan. But it’s good to see that all the flagrant lies about Obamacare didn’t stick with Justice Roberts.

    It’s a huge exaggeration to say that this plan is “fascistization.” Yes, it’s a sad compromise with corporate money, but that’s not fascism. And by 2014 nearly everyone will see some benefits from the plan.

  4. Dave Budge

    I think if you guys read Roberts’ opinion you’ll find that he tacitly predicts the system will fail under Obamacare. The “tax” flows to the government which he explains. But he does not explain that it doesn’t transfer to the insurance companies insofar as the cost of the tax is substantially less than the cost of the insurance.

    This is just economic folly and wishful thinking on the part of Congress. The Chief was careful to note that the Court was taking no position on the wisdom of the policy. It’s a good thing too since it would prove them all to be morons if they made such an endorsement.

    As I’ve said many times before, I would take single payer over this piece of shit – and I’m sure those familiar with me understand how that speaks for this law.

  5. JC

    Interesting take on Roberts ending up on the majority upholding Obamacare:

    “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… to preserve it? If so, was he responding to the heat from President Obama and others, preemptively threatening to delegitimize the Court if it invalidated the ACA? The dissent, along with the surprising way that Roberts chose to uphold both the mandate and the Medicaid expansion, will inevitably feed the rumor mill.”

    Ah, to have been the fly on the Chief Justice’s wall if he had been dressed down by Obama or one of his fixers. In any event, this case will add fuel to the fire about the politicization of the SCOTUS.

    Maybe Roberts told Obama he owed him one after he flubbed the Inaugural Oath?

    • Turner

      The idea that Roberts was “dressed down” by Obama is entirely unfounded and ludicrous. This sort of speculation feeds into the Obama-is-a-thug narrative of the far right. Is this what you’re trying to do?

      • JC

        Key words in my comment: “if” and “Maybe”.

        There’s more to the story than just a single pdf issued by SCOTUS this am. History will eventually reveal it. Till then, people will speculate.

        I have absolutely no interest in the surface politics surrounding today’s SCOTUS decision, and heaven knows that 90% of the hoopla today involves nothing more.

        I have analyzed the policy ramifications of what was to become the ACA since before Obama was nominated. I will study the decision to see what interesting tidbits will be revealed. But what really interests me is the power struggle behind the bill, the case, and the decision.

        Sorry if you think that translates to “unfounded and ludicrous… speculation.” Not my intent.

        And beyond that I attempted a bit of humor as to the relationship between Obama and Roberts, particularly as they made history during the inauguration, flubbing the oath. Sorry if it was too obscure for you.

        • Turner

          JC, Here’s support for your Obama strong-armed-Roberts thesis: http://www.toberight.com/2012/health-care-reaction.

          • JC

            Humorous. But I don’t have any such thesis, though many others do. Here is one of the more cogent:

            More Hints that Roberts Switched his Vote by David Bernstein. David is a well respected law professor at George Mason. This is the sort of stuff I read instead of right wingnut conspiracy blather:

            “one can expect that the Court’s rulings are affected by outside events. As I noted long ago, the challenge to the individual mandate would have stood no chance if the president and the ACA were riding very high in the polls, as the Court would not have had the political wherewithal to write what would be seen as a radical opinion invalidating a popular law from a popular president. Similarly, the level of heat defenders of the ACA were giving the Court could have persuaded Roberts that discretion was the better part of valor.”

  6. This is a great day folks, really! First of all 96% of businesses hire less then fifty in the USA,

    Secondly small Businesses who might have more then fifty People can file for Health Tax rates with the Government for help with this. Something they couldn’t do before, and only 200,000 business were smart enough to already file for…. Like bigger businesses.

    Learn more about this bill cuz it is it is far better then you Have been told by the right wing. Yea its not perfect but, it is gonna take a great strain off of our health insurance.

  7. Steve W

    JC, I have to pretty much agree with your OP in it’s entirety.

    As to Roberts, I think the decision shows Roberts corporate bias trumping Republican Party gut held desires. This is just another pro corporate decision in a long line of pro-corporate decisions from Roberts.

    The former system was becoming dangerously unstable which is why all the big health insurance companies, the drug companies, the Hospitals, the equipment manufacturers and their ancillary groups supported Romney/Obama care.

    The silver lining for bummed out Republicans is that they will now be able to run as the last defense against Romney/Obama Care .

    The silver lining for Democrats is, as you say, Montana is doing some really good and innovative stuff on health care both on the insurance side as well as the delivery side in terms of regional/community non-profit health centers.

    They can run on that.

  8. The win comes in part for Libertarian Gary Johnson who will glean the cast off Ron Paul voters disgruntled with Willard Romney’s precedent in Massachusetts. Gov. Johnson is polling at 8% in Montana and recently polled well in Oregon where the white northeastern liberal Mormon earth hater governor is deeply unpopular.

    Any votes from Ron Paul supporters going to anyone other than for Willard Romney are votes for enemies of my enemies.

  9. I haven’t read any of the opinion yet – I just wonder what the limits are on the Congress and their ability to ‘Tax’

    Are there limits ?

    Can overweight people be told to lose weight, or pay a tax, because the general welfare of the country would be improved ?

  10. Mitten’s been talking repeal and replace, yet he’s got no game.

    The new meme? Weaken and eliminate state regulatory control of health insurance – because isn’t that what they really mean when they talk about allowing the sale of policies across state line?

    Or would they create some federal office to oversee the industry?

    I think the next reform either side should seek is moving Medicate to a wellness-focused proactive healthcare program, instead of its sickness-focused cost heavy prescription rich program.

    Both sides do a lot of bloviating about Medicaid but neither side really wants to touch it because of the lobbying interests circling the issue (translate: Pharma, Cigna, etc)

    The GOP would do well to remember one of the other lessons of Wisconsin: Voters don’t like sore losers. Move on.

    Rehberg, though, apparently wasn’t paying attention. Already he’s talking about how he’s going to work to repeal.

    I guess that’s easier than addressing “jobs” – which would mean having to actually do some work.

  11. Steve W


    Better to ask Newt Gingrich, Mitt Romney and the Heritage Foundation. They came up with the idea, after all.

    Boy, I bet you are pissed at them! Bad idea, eh?

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