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Is the Supreme Court or Obamacare on trial this week?

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    Opinions by the media and politicians on how the Supreme Court will rule on the Affordable Care Act this week, maybe as early as today, are all over the place...a shotgun like pattern.  Most have focused on the individual mandate, which was NOT a part of the then Senator Obama's campaign rhetoric on a health care plan when debating Hillary Clinton.  It wasn't added until much later into Obama's Presidency during the bi-partisan negotiations as an appeasement to Republicans. It is in the Republican DNA to want an individual mandate to, as Bill Maher phrased it, "make the free loaders pay." It has been a Republican idea from the get go, and liberals were late to embrace it, not because they liked it, but because it might get a few Republicans over the hump to support the Affordable Care Act. Indeed it helps the health insurance companies by adding millions of new customers...and Republicans and health insurance companies are married in their belief that the free market should rule.  They collaborated in a propaganda campaign that killed HillaryCare in the 1990s.

    However, after the Affordable Health Care Act was passed, the political strategists within the Republican Party needed to focus on some part of the act that would resonate with the populace so they chose their own contribution to the health care plan, the individual mandate.  It became the center of the Republican campaign about "big government telling you what you should do." Which makes me wonder...was the mandate all along the Republican's "Trojan Horse" inside the Affordable Care Act?

    Howard Dean recently came out saying that he hopes the individual mandate is turned down by the Supreme Court. As per the Huffington Post::

    "I don't give a damn about the individual mandate," the former Vermont governor told progressive activists during a panel discussion at the Take Back the American Dream conference on Tuesday in Washington, D.C. "It was a foolish thing to do anyway, and I hope it does get thrown out." Dean's remarks followed an audience member's criticism of the Affordable Care Act for not being a single-payer system.

    Without the individual mandate, President Obama will have essentially the candidate Obama's health care plan.  As some analysts have noted, the individual mandate is not a key part of the legislation and has been falsely hyped as being the cornerstone of the Affordable care Act.  No it isn't...unless you believe the media.

    If the Supreme Court rules against the individual mandate it will be touted again and again as a victory for the Republicans, who will use it in their rhetoric from now until election day on how President Obama overstepped his power and "didn't listen to the people." Ha!

    But if the Supreme Court goes further and throws out the entire plan, maybe by a 5-4 margin, will they be cast as the bad guys, especially after their controversial Citizens United ruling? Some have speculated that Chief Justice Roberts cares about his own legacy and that the SCOTUS ruling this week will really be influenced about his and the court's political image.  In effect the Supreme Court itself is on trial with the American people, the majority of whom support many of the provisions within the Affordable Care Act, but don't like the individual mandate.

    A 6-3 ruling in favor of the Affordable Care Act, but a 5-4 ruling against the individual mandate would be a win-win for the court, Republicans and President Obama, although it won't be couched that way. However, I don't know if SCOTUS can even split the law into two votes.

    Predictions invited.



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    Schmidt:


    I'm agreement with you that the the individual mandate within the Affordable Care Act may well have been a Trojan Horse.

    I spent 27 years in the property/casualty insurance business, followed by four years of selling life insurance at MetLife, so I'm very familiar with the term
    "adverse selection." What it essentially means is that only people who REALLY NEED coverage are interested in buying it.

    Truthfully,  individual mandates actually DO make a lot of sense. One of the best examples of WHY it does is Washington State, which passed a health care
    reform act in 1993.

    w.washingtonpost.com/blogs/ezra-klein/post/health-reform-without-a-mandate-lessons-from-washington-state/2012/06/16/gJQAosKghV_blog.html

    Initially, the reform act included mandatory participation, but that provision was dropped two years later. Predictably, things got ugly in a hurry, and by 1999,
    it was impossible to buy individual health coverage in the state.

    It's worth noting, of course, that Mitt Romney strongly favored individual mandates when he was governor of Massachusetts,

    http://hereandnow.wbur.org/2012/06/18/romney-individual-mandate

    It's also worth noting that President Obama fashioned the Affordable Health Care Act to mimic the Health Care act that Mitt Romney pushed as governor.


    Our society is FULL of areas where we are REQUIRED  to buy insurance:

    Regardless of your credit score, you can't get a car loan unless you buy physical damage coverage.

    Regardless of your credit, you can't get a home loan unless you buy insurance to protect your house.

    If you're an employer, you are OBLIGATED to buy workers compensation coverage to protect your employees in most states. In the states that don't mandate coverage,
    some type of "financial responsibility " coverage is mandated.

    In view of what happened with SB 1070, my guess is that the Supreme Court will somehow find a way to approve PART of the law, but throw out other parts.

    Earlier indications are that the Supreme Court decision on SB 1070 actually HELPED Obama's chances of re-election.

    With a little luck, the decision on the Health Care Reform Act may do the same thing.
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    Thanks Arizona -- Yes Mitt Romney was for the individual mandate before he was against it. He will have a tough time on the topic if it comes up in the Presidential debates.  Until then I expect he'll duck the questions...or engage in etch-a-sketching.

    Thanks also for the Washington Post article on Washington state's experience with the individual mandate.  It predictably shows the difficulty of peeling away part of the law and leaving the rest intact: Health reform without a mandate: Lessons from Washington state.

    I liked this example:

    Jonathan Hensley, who then served as the president of local health plan Premera Blue Cross, recalls one letter he got from a healthy woman cancelling her insurance policy.

    “She wrote in her letter that she very much appreciated our excellent service [and] that she would certainly pick our plan again when she became pregnant,” says Hensley, who now works for another health insurer in Washington, Cambia.


    That example hits hard.

    More from the WP article:

    Washington state, for its part, filed an amicus brief with the Supreme Court on the health reform law, that drew heavily from its own experience.

    “We also know, from Washington state’s own experience, that insurance coverage for pre-existing medical conditions must go hand in hand with the minimum insurance coverage requirements,” Washington Gov. Christine Gregoire, a Democrat, said in a statement accompanying her filing.


    I was thinking that maybe the Supreme Court would defer making an opinion on the individual mandate because that provision is not implemented until 2014 and the court can't rule on the constitutionality of how the law is implemented until they have an actual case study challenging the law by someone that feels his/her constitutional rights have been violated.  But that won't happen until 2014.  So maybe they'll kick that provision down the road along with it's parallel provision, the pre-existing condition.

    On the other hand, maybe they'll accept the Washington state experience as valid and use that to render an opinion.  However, in that case I believe, the experience favors a vote in favor of the mandate.

    I think most provisions of the law will be approved 6-3.  However, the court will not rule on the individual mandate or the pre-existing condition provision until after 2014, assuming someone challenges it in the court at that time.

    I don't see them throwing out the whole law.  That would be a disaster for the court's image.

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    It's a win-win...for the Supreme Court and President Obama!!!!!!
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    I should have said it's a win - win - win for SCOTUS, President Obama, and the American people, although some may not appreciate that yet.

    I watched Mitt Romney say, along with a bunch of lies, that he's going to act to repeal it on Day 1 of his presidency if elected.  Also House Republicans are going to schedule a vote on July 11th to repeal the Affordable Care Act.  They are both doubling down.

    President Obama needs to make sure that the facts are made known to the American people.  Thus far, the Fox News propaganda machine has had the upper hand.