“A single vote cast by an unelected judge cripples 16% of the U.S. economy.”—Dick Young
The Supreme Court ruled yesterday that Obamacare is constitutional as written. The court upheld the individual mandate as constitutional under the power of Congress to tax. In 2009, the President disagreed that the individual mandate was a tax. Now he must reconcile that it is a tax with his pledge to not increase taxes on those with incomes below $250,000.
The lead plaintiff in the case, the National Federation of Independent Businesses, is disappointed in the ruling, which will curb job creation and create massive costs for small businesses.
States received one bit of good news in the ruling. The Court found that penalties in the legislation for states that refuse to comply with Obamacare’s Medicaid plans were unconstitutional. Those penalties would have taken existing Medicaid funds away from states, even though the states were implementing the rules attached to those older funds.
Senator Rand Paul released the following statement in response to the Court’s ruling.
“Just because a couple people on the Supreme Court declare something to be ‘constitutional’ does not make it so. The whole thing remains unconstitutional. While the court may have erroneously come to the conclusion that the law is allowable, it certainly does nothing to make this mandate or government takeover of our health care right.”
“Obamacare is wrong for Americans. It will destroy our health care system. This now means we fight every hour, every day until November to elect a new President and a new Senate to repeal Obamacare.”
Governor Rick Scott of Florida responded to the ruling with the following statement.
“Today’s decision by the Supreme Court of the United States is simply disappointing. The tax question was repeatedly refuted by members of Congress who helped pass this health care takeover. The Justices have declared that the central provision of ObamaCare is a judicially mandated tax. A new tax pure and simple. This is just another burden the federal government has put on American families and small businesses.
“With the national economy struggling to recover, now is not the time to implement a massive social program that injects nothing but uncertainty and doubt into our economic system. By doing so, they have put up yet another major roadblock to efforts to get people back to work and forced the government into the important relationship between patients and their doctors.
“I stand with Justice Kennedy that the entire act should have been held invalid.”
For further analysis of the Obamacare ruling, read the National Review editorial linked here and the piece by Roger Pilon, director of the Cato Institute’s Center for Constitutional Studies, linked here and quoted below regarding Congress’s power to tax.
As James Madison, the principal author of the Constitution, Thomas Jefferson, and virtually everyone else at the Founding made clear, the power to tax, the first of Congress’s 18 enumerated powers, like the power to borrow, Congress’s second enumerated power, was designed to enable Congress to obtain the funds needed to carry out its other enumerated powers or ends. It was not, as Madison made clear in Federalist 41, and often on the floor of Congress, an independent power to tax for any purpose at all. Search as you will through those 18 enumerated powers and you will find no power to enact ObamaCare or anything like it. And please don’t say that the taxing power serves the commerce power which in turn authorizes the individual mandate, because the Court nixed that second leap today.
Charles Krauthammer was able to find a silver lining in Robert’s interpretation of the law. He rightly focuses on the necessary actions Congress must now take to repeal the Act.
It’s the judiciary’s Nixon-to-China: Chief Justice John Roberts joins the liberal wing of the Supreme Court and upholds the constitutionality of Obamacare. How? By pulling off one of the great constitutional finesses of all time. He managed to uphold the central conservative argument against Obamacare, while at the same time finding a narrow definitional dodge to uphold the law — and thus prevented the Court from being seen as having overturned, presumably on political grounds, the signature legislation of this administration…Obamacare is now essentially upheld. There’s only one way it can be overturned. The same way it was passed — elect a new president and a new Congress. That’s undoubtedly what Roberts is saying: Your job, not mine. I won’t make it easy for you.
What will be the consequences of the ruling on the 2012 election cycle? Jay Cost at the Weekly Standard puts the politics of the ruling into context.
Politically, Obama will probably get a short-term boost from this, as the media will not be able to read between the lines and will declare him the winner. But the victory will be short-lived. The Democrats were at pains not to call this a tax because it is inherently regressive: the wealthy overwhelmingly have health insurance so have no fear of the mandate. But now that it is legally a tax, Republicans can and will declare that Obama has slapped the single biggest tax on the middle class in history, after promising not to do that.
Writing for a panel discussion at National Review, Mercatus Center senior research fellow Veronique de Rugy cuts through the mumbo jumbo to strike at the heart of the ruling’s effects.
In the end, however you look at it, this ruling leaves us with a bloated government, too much spending, too much debt, less freedom, and a system that doesn’t even take care of poor people that well.
Resistance to the Supreme Court ruling has already begun at the state level. Governor Bobby Jindal told listeners on a conference call today he would not implement Obamacare’s mandates in Louisiana.
“We’re not going to start implementing Obamacare. We’re committed to working to elect Governor Romney to repeal Obamacare. Here in Louisiana we have not applied for the grants, we have not accepted many of these dollars, we’re not implementing the exchanges. We don’t think it makes any sense to implement Obamacare in Louisiana. We’re going to do what we can to fight it.”