My thoughts on the Obamacare ruling
After speculating for months, with the eyes of the nation on them, the Supreme Court has finally ruled on the constitutionality of the Affordable Healthcare Act, more popularly known as Obamacare. In a 5-4 ruling with Chief Justice John Roberts providing the deciding swing vote and majority opinion, the court ruled the act is constitutional, though only by ruling that despite claims to the contrary, it would have to be issued as a tax to be so, as under the Commerce Clause, which the bill initially fell under, it is unconstitutional. People of all political types and stripes were stunned by the verdict, as most people were of the opinion it would be struck down, either partially or as a whole, and the ruling as set of a firestorm of opinions on what the ruling means from every angle – so I suppose now I should offer mine.
Needless to say, this article is political in nature, and covers a subject that has been the subject of great debate in the USA. Regardless of your own beliefs, do try to be civil and keep an open mind. With that said, let’s take a look back how we got here.
If one had to pick the exact moment where the general optimism over ‘Hope and Change’ after President Obama’s election died, it would likely be the year-plus battle to pass Obamacare. All the promises of a new post-partisan era in DC and of openness in government went right out the window with hopeychange, as they gave way to party-line votes, backroom deals made behind closed doors, and corrupt bargains made to get the votes needed to pass a ten-thousand page bill that, by admission, next to none of the people voting to pass it had even read.
Unfortunately for the folks in DC, many of the citizenry did read it, and sometime between the Cornhusker Kickback and reading about death panels, massive opposition sprang up almost overnight, and can be thanked for both the creation of the Tea Party movement and for the fact we no longer have to say ‘Speaker of the House’ and ‘Pelosi’ in the same sentence anymore. Opposition to Obamacare remains stronger than ever, and now that the courts have ruled it constitutional, the opposition will have to see it repealed at the ballotbox before it takes effect starting in 2014 – opposition that will likely grow stronger still as more and more of the effects and regulations put in place by the bill come to light. That it’s been ruled a tax won’t help it’s odds either.
Given my leanings toward limited government and my firm stance as a deficit hawk, it really shouldn’t surprise many of you I opposed the Affordable Healthcare Act since day one – Even discounting some of the more insidious parts of Obamacare or the way it was passed, I feel requiring all Americans to buy insurance was just as much an unwarranted intrusion into the affairs of both the private citizen and the free market as passing a law requiring all citizens to buy a gun would be, and when budget shortfalls that number in terms of trillions of dollars will likely leave Medicare and Social Security insolvent before I even turn thirty, the last thing we need to do is add another unsustainable entitlement program to send us off the cliff even faster. A bill that amounts to the biggest tax increase/entitlement/expansion of government power in modern history had little chance to win me over in the first place, to say nothing of my complete and utter disdain for bureaucracy – few things could scare the hell out of me more than giving the same incompetent pencil-pushers that gave us taxpayer-funded headaches like the DMV and the TSA control over life or death situations, quite literally.
Of course, I’m far from alone on this. Even discounting the carnival of horrors that was the passage process of Obamacare, there has been widespread opposition among the citizenry sionce day one – Obamacare was the spark that gave life to the Tea Party Movement, and the backlash against the Democratic Congress that passed it is the main reason for the GOP’s smashing victories in the midterms that fall. Most polls as of right now show more than two thirds of American voters want Obamacare repealed, a number that will likely spike now that the law has been ruled a tax by the Supreme Court. We should expect that silent majority to start speaking up louder and louder as November approaches.
Which is why that, in the end, for whatever short term gains the Supreme Court ruling may provide for sagging morale at the White House, it may prove to be a poison chalice for the President. President Obama’s focus on passing this bill likely cost his party the House of Representatives back in 2010, gave birth to many of his most vocal opponents, used up nearly all the good will he had with the American people, and has become so toxic to those tied to it that a number of Democrats won’t even attend the party’s convention this fall as they don’t want it to be a millstone around their necks. Had the court struck down Obamacare, the President could have claimed it was the ruling of activist judges, and perhaps could have ridden that to reelection – now thanks to activist judges ruling in favor of Obamacare, instead, it will fire up the base and provide ammo for the opposition, officially making the only way to repeal Obamacare is to kick its namesake out of the White House in November. It may prove a bitter pill to swallow, and while a lot can happen before Election Day, unless something changes, the President may well get a taste of his own medicine.