Thursday, June 28, 2012

Individual Mandate Constitutional!

The Supreme Court publicized their ruling on the ACA passed by Obama and Congress a few years ago. Leading up to this, it was not looking good for the Individual Mandate, the centerpiece of Obama's plan.

Well, that worry was unfounded. Turns out, the majority of SCJ's found that the Individual Mandate was CONSTITUTIONAL under the taxation clause of Congress. Because the Individual Mandate was being used in conjunction with tax incentives, the justices argued that it was constitutional for Congress to mandate health insurance as a kind of tax break opportunity.

So, all that concern about what would happen to people who had pre-existing conditions, all those people who were being denied coverage, who were being dropped from insurance, and all the worry about what would happen to the cost of health care to cover the uninsured are reduced, even if they're not completely alleviated.

But this is a great step forward, in my opinion. It shows a major step into the 21st Century for America. It means that, as a nation, America will not allow people to fall through the cracks, will not stand for people being turned away with preventable diseases and injuries.

While not everything survived the Supreme Court (They struck down a provision that would have allowed Congress to deny states medicaid funding if they didn't comply with the law), the bulk of the ACA was upheld, and this is cause for a lot of sighs of relief from the American People. Hopefully, this will mean a major boost for the Obama administration, and the first step on a path towards affordable, responsible health care.

UPDATE: Since the ruling, there's been a lot of discussion about the specifics of the John Roberts opinion, which has been deemed the definitive stance of the court on this topic. The funny thing, based on Roberts' ruling, conservatives as well as progressives got something they wanted.

Keep in mind that Roberts refused to accept the law under the commerce clause. He did, however, accept it under the tax clause of Congress. What Roberts did with that little maneuver was curttail congressional power under the commerce clause to a level not seen in some time. In fact, previous rulings dating back to the mid-2000's indicated that the SC took a very broad view of the Congressional commerce clause. Constitutionalists and conservative limited-governmentalists should be happy about that particular part of the ruling.

There has also been a lot of discussion about the political ramifications of this ruling. I believe this will be a solidifying factor for both sides, with those who oppose the ACA now increasing their support for Romney, and those who support it supporting Obama. It has also, obviously, become a catalyst for GOP repeal of the bill. Whether or not it gets repealed is another discussion; I'll just say that I think the GOP is engaging in more political posturing, and leave it at that.

But many people are saying some rather ridiculous things about this. First you have Romney who has said that this is a ruling that will raise taxes, cut Medicaid, and add to the deficit. Really? How does that math add up? It makes no sense. Besides that, the CBO has calculated that the bill will reduce the deficit by over $100 Billion over the next ten years. Rand Paul also made a ridiculous statement when he said that the court's ruling that the ACA was constitutional did not mean it was unconstitutional....Um....yes it does. You may not agree with it, but that was the ruling of the majority of the court.

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