Thursday was a sad day for America. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts – appointed by President George W. Bush – sided with four liberal justices to uphold ObamaCare. Anthony Kennedy, ironically, voted to strike down ObamaCare while the “conservative” Chief Justice voted to uphold it.
The big issue here is the individual mandate. Opponents argued it is unconstitutional (which it is, no matter what SCOTUS says) because the federal government is not given the authority to mandate that we buy something. President Obama himself argued that the mandate is not a tax, before flip-flipping after the law was passed to claim that it is a tax. SCOTUS used that as part of the reasoning for upholding the law. From the dissent:
The Court today decides to save a statute Congress did not write. It rules that what the statute declares to be a requirement with a penalty is instead an option subject to a tax.
What we have here is another case of the courts legislating from the bench. Instead of interpreting the text of the actual law, the five “justices” who abandoned their vow to uphold the Constitution decided the law said something completely different from what it actually said. Roberts specifically had been under intense pressure not to strike this down on a 5-4 decision, although I doubt we will hear any concern from those same people that it is upheld on a 5-4 decision.
Even though the law is in place (unless Republicans manage to win the Presidency and win enough seats in the Senate to repeal it) it still does not address the fact that the entire health care system is based on a bad foundation. We are tinkering around the edges of a bad system instead of addressing the fact that the system itself is fundamentally flawed. Specifically, we need to reconnect the consumer of health care and the cost of the product.
It is health insurance itself that is the problem. Because people are insulated from the cost of day-to-day care, there is no natural market ceiling on the cost of health care. Ideally, health insurance should be for catastrophic coverage or major medical expenses that people are unable to afford out of pocket. Regular maintenance care such as check-ups or visits to the doctor for run-of-the-mill illnesses would be paid for out of pocket rather than with insurance.
Unfortunately, because the cost of the product is so out of whack with what people can afford to pay, this is a reform that will need to be implemented over at least a generation. The next question (and the more important question) is how to implement it legislatively in a constitutional manner – although after today’s SCOTUS ruling it appears the Constitution does not matter.
Now the focus is going to be on repeal. The only way this happens is if Mitt Romney is elected in November. We also have to get enough votes in the Senate to overcome a Democratic filibuster, so electing Richard Mourdock and keeping Indiana’s seat in Republican hands is essential. The fact that Joe Donnelly voted for ObamaCare should be a huge issue in this fall’s election and should shut down every single crybaby “Republican” who is supporting Donnelly due to sour grapes over the primary.
This is a dark day for America. The ever-increasing power and reach of the federal government over our lives – and now over our personal health care decisions – has truly frightening implications. The massive expansion of federal power in ObamaCare alone (to say nothing of a plethora of other federal overreaches) would have been unthinkable to the men who founded this country and wrote the Constitution that SCOTUS threw in the garbage today. This should be enough to motivate Republicans to do whatever we can to defeat Barack Obama and elect Republicans to the House and Senate this fall.