My Obligatory Obamacare Thoughts
As everyone and their cat now knows, Obamacare and the individual mandate was found constitutional by the Supreme Court today. Of course, the catch is that the mandate doesn’t survive as commerce, but as a tax. My thoughts on this are a bit all over the place at the moment, so I’ll just rehash what I’ve said over the past 2 and a half hours on Twitter here.
Basically, Obama now has to defend a tax hike on the middle and lower classes. As a result of this ruling, if one doesn’t have any health insurance they will be faced with a tax. Of course, the wealthiest Americans can afford to buy health care and won’t have to pay the fine, but the middle and lower classes that cannot afford to buy insurance will have their tax loads increased thanks to the law. To boot, they won’t even get health insurance after paying the tax. Yeah, Obama sure is for the little guy.
Further, Obama managed to get this law through the legislature only by assuring everyone the mandate was not a tax. Now to keep it he has to acknowledge that it is. Raising taxes on the middle class and admitting it is not a good recipe for reelection.
Because Obama had to assure everyone the mandate wasn’t a tax, the argument used by the liberal lawyers defending the law had to come from the Constituion’s commerce clause – which utterly failed in the courts. Instead, it seems Chief Justice Roberts practically came up with this Constitutional justification for them. A conservative had to conjure up a constitutional justification for a liberal law. That’s hilarious.
Finally, if the government wants this tax to coerce people into buying insurance instead of paying the fine and the rest of Obamacare stays in place and increases the costs of health care (and it will), the tax will have to keep rising as well. That means this could be an exponentially growing tax in magnitude. Romney should mention this early and often on the trail.
The tax defense of the mandate also means it will only take 51 votes to pass a repeal in the Senate, which is definitely within the realm of possibility.
What this means politically is that not much has changed. Obama’s name is still attached to a weak law that, although found constitutional, raises taxes on those he claims to defend. What’s more, the right is now more fired up than ever to repeal this awful legislation and has only one chance to do it – take the senate and White House in 2012.
So let’s do just that. #FullRepeal