Breaking News: CJ Roberts tacks left to uphold mandate and Affordable Healthcare Law; then to the right to allow states not to expand Medicaid.
America must have some of the stupidest, least informed and most gullible people on earth, but that is another story. Today the Supreme Court finally announced their ruling that there will be comprehensive reform of our badly broken healthcare system during our lifetimes.
We learned that the 6 percent among us who don’t have insurance and don’t want it are required to have it or face a penalty*; and if the other 10 or so percent who don’t have health insurance, but want it can buy it.
Today we learned that the 20 or so percent of us with preexisting conditions will get to keep our health insurance or ever buy it again.
Today we learned our children up to 26 can stay on our policies or finally be forced to leave the nest and do without healthcare.
Today we learned health insurance companies will have to spend money on covering the people they insure and prove it.
Today we learned preventive care to save money (and lives) is something that can survive in our late stage form of capitalism.
Today we learned we are to get health insurance exchanges to allow us to simply and clearly compare policy costs and coverage.
Today we learned our seniors’ prescriptions will not again have a “doughnut hole” of coverage forcing countless people to do without.
Today we learned small business tax breaks will continue.
Today we learned that the 13 million adults and 3.7 million children living within 133 percent of the poverty level will be allowed access to healthcare through Medicaid – if the state in which they live isn’t so stupid as to opt-out of the 100% federally paid program – first three years and then matched on a sliding scale thereafter – today we learned that our federal government cannot penalize a state for not taking care of some of its least fortunate citizens, but we can penalize them at the ballot box.
Today we learned that those working Americans who cannot afford health insurance because they are within 400 percent of the poverty level, will get some tax credit help.
Today we learned that we are going to continue to provide healthcare to seniors, the disabled, government workers, prisoners and some of the poorest among us, while tens of millions of working and recently unemployed Americans will no longer be denied healthcare and receive help to afford it.
We already know that this is about Republican politics and the corrupt lobbying power of their masters and that any suggestion of an independent judiciary evaporated a decade ago.
We expect that Sotomayer, Breyer, Kagan and Ginsburg will, at the very least, vote to preserve most of the intent of Congress.
We knew that Scalia, Thomas and Alito would nullify the entire bill. Roberts would naturally join them unless Kennedy negotiates a narrower decision on the Commerce Clause or jumps to the other side. That didn’t happen. Kennedy stayed with the Republican nominated justices. Together they decided this was not a valid extension of the the Commerce Clause. It was Roberts who would cast the deciding vote. Citing Hooper v. California, Roberts felt “every reasonable construction must be resorted to, in order to save a statue from unconstitutionality” and concluding the law was Constitutional because it was within the right of Congress to levy a tax on individuals who do not have insurance.
The bill before the court was terribly flawed (see my Dew story when the bill passed, Hold your nose and swallow), but throwing out the entire bill with this Congress would have been devastating in lives and at terrible cost to our economy. However, a more limited ruling would have made for great political sport watching this or the next POS Congress try come up with a compromise bill to fix the problems.
In retrospect, it would have been so simple, if two years ago, President Obama had just fired Rahm Emanuel and asked Congress for a one page bill that allows all Americans to purchase Medicare at any age. Then a separate bill on expansion of Medicaid. Maybe next time.