When the Democrats were selling Obamacare their mantra was that the financial penalty charged to those Americans who refused to obtain medical coverage was absolutely, definitively, NOT a tax. I recall ABC-TV’s George Stephanopoulos’ direct question to President Obama and his reply: “This is not a tax”.
Turns out that Mr. Obama was dead wrong, because today the United States Supreme Court determined that Obamacare was constitutional by virtue of Congress’ authority to tax, but could not be justified on the basis that it was a matter of commerce, which is the way it was sold to the House, the Senate and the public. Not surprisingly, that’s how Obama’s lawyers sold it to the Court once they realized their “commerce” argument was not going to fly.
Query whether Obamacare would have received the support it did, if Obama had not vehemently denied at the outset that it was a tax.
Ironically, while Democrats may have won the war with this decision, I submit they are doomed when they face the battle in November of 2012. Why do I say that?
President Obama made additional promises to his base of Democrats and illegal immigrants, when he said he would not tax the middle-class. Oh my! It seems that he was wrong on that account too, at least according to the majority of the United State Supreme Court.
Those in the know readily realized that the Supreme Court vote would be very close, as it was, five to four in favour of upholding Obamacare. What most political junkies did not expect was Chief Justice John Roberts carrying the “swing vote” and joining with the liberals, particularly because he was an appointee of George H. Bush, otherwise known as number 41.
I think that after the Supreme Court’s foray into Bush v. Gore, there was particular attention paid by Chief Justice Roberts to bring down a non-partisan decision, eschewing a repeat of the clear party lines apparent in the Bush v. Gore decision.
For Conservative devotees, I highly recommend the dissenting opinions. They are charmingly scathing, denouncing the government’s arguments as “feeble” and a “vast judicial overreach”.
But the Chief Justice, writing for the majority, made it clear that the final decision on Obamacare is in the hands of Americans, where the polls in November will determine if Obamacare will ever be implemented.
Of course, Governor Romney’s response to the court decision was that on his first day as President, he will repeal Obamacare. He hasn’t yet mentioned that he needs a Republican majority in the House, which is the status quo, but he also needs control of the Senate.
What is clear is that a repeal of Obamacare is only the first step. What Americans need is tort reform, an expression that recognizes that American personal injury lawyers need to be reeled in. Canadians frequently recoil when they hear, for example, that a coffee burn in California pays out several million dollars to the victim. Another legitimate target for cost reduction is the pharmaceutical companies who are greedy beyond belief.
For Canadians who are fascinated by American politics, like I am, hold on, it’s going to be a bumpy ride.
Lawdiva aka Georgialee Lang