Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Channeling Chief Justice Roberts - Maybe He Really Did Do the Right Thing (Constitutionally Speaking)

Now that the mass hysteria over the SCOTUS Obamacare decision has somewhat subsided, does Chief Justice Roberts deserve the thrashing he got from conservatives? While conservatives were moaning the decision with fear and loathing, liberals were probably uncorking the Champagne. As sane observers took another look at the decision from the jurisprudence perspective, it's believed by some who embrace conservative politics that the Roberts decision was indeed the right decision and for the reasons outlined in an interesting article from the Testosterone Pit.
Conservatives should be ecstatic that Chief Justice of the Supreme Court John Roberts sided with the four liberal Justices in ruling the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) is constitutional as a tax, while siding with the four conservative Justices that the law is un-constitutional under the Commerce Clause. Roberts just humiliated President Obama, gutted the social welfare and regulatory state, and appears to have set-up the entire Obamacare law to be constitutionally invalidated.

Chief Justiece Roberts Gutted Congressional Power And May Still Have Invalidated Obamacare

Those are very powerful words:  "Roberts just humiliated President Obama, gutted the social welfare and regulatory state, and appears to have set-up the entire Obamacare law to be constitutionally invalidated."

The Obamacare decision is not a simple cut and dry decision.  It's got several critically important moving parts.  Justice Roberts did uphold the power of the Federal government to tax even though he also opposed the mandate.   Yes, the federal government does have the constitutional authority to tax.   More importantly, he did not uphold Obamacare under the Commerce Clause and Republicans now believe that they can kill it in the Senate with 51 votes, here.   Another very important aspect of the decision involved the constitutional authority of the federal government to force the states to tax its citizens to fund increased Medicaid enrollments.  While the federal government does have the power to tax, Justice Roberts indicated that the federal governments' powers of taxation do not extend to the states.  In other words, the federal government does not have the constitutional authority to force the state to tax its citizens to fund Obamacare.

Medicaid expansion is the heart and soul of Obamacare because it not only forces folks into Medicaid, it forces taxpayers at the state level to fund it.

I wondered how long it would take liberals to recover from the fog of their celebratory hangovers and realize what really happened.  Not long!
Of all the ways President Obama’s health care law is poised to alter the U.S. medical system, the extension of new health insurance coverage to some 32 million people has been billed as its most important.....
But thanks to the Supreme Court's decision on the Affordable Care Act (ACA) last week, which upheld the law's basic architecture and the controversial individual mandate, fixing the problem of the uninsured could be a lot more difficult that Democrats were hoping. In a move that surprised court watchers and progressive advocates, the Supreme Court, by a 7-2 vote, ruled that states don’t have to participate in a huge expansion of Medicaid, the state-federal insurance program for the poor, called for in the ACA. (The ACA was written so that states that decided not to expand their Medicaid programs would lose their existing Medicaid funding, but the court said funding already in place should not be affected by states' decisions on the ACA changes.) ...
Whether states want to participate in the Medicaid expansion isn't just a matter of dollars. Republicans governors across the country, who have been vocal critics of the Affordable Care Act since it passed, are now signaling they may not opt into the Medicaid expansion. (Similarly, many of them turned down federal stimulus dollars.) Gov. Rick Scott of Florida has said he won't support a Medicaid expansion, although the state legislature might feel otherwise. New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie said after last week's ruling that he was glad the Medicaid expansion was ruled optional, but didn't say whether his state would participate. Other Republican governors, like Nikki Haley of South Caroline and Bobby Jindal of Louisiana, have said they will not make moves to implement the ACA in their states, although it's not yet clear if this means they intend to reject billions in Medicaid funding.
Medicaid Ruling Endangers Universal Coverage

Clearly, the Roberts ruling opened up whole new cans of worms in the continuing saga of America's healthcare nightmare.  How it will ultimately shakeout is an issue of pure conjecture.  Moreover, the courts have not seen the last of Obamacare.  The only issue that was settled was that the federal government has the power to tax and we already knew that.  The far dicier issues are nowhere near resolved.

For more information on the absurdity known as the US healthcare system, see:

The Absurdity of US Healthcare and OMG, the Hysteria over SCOTUS upholding the Obamacare Tax! Under What Circumstances Would This Government Hating Libertarian Reluctantly Support a Single Payer Healthcare System?

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