My take on the SCOTUS Obamacare ruling


(originally posted on facebook)

OK. So the SCOTUS has deemed Obamacare constitutional and thus able to go ahead. Now those people who know me, know that I’m far from being a liberal (but JFTR, I’m not conservative, I’m libertarian/classical liberal). Interestingly, it was Justice Roberts, the chief justice and a conservative, who cast the deciding vote. He framed Obamacare as a tax, and thus as a tax, the congress has every right to do what it wants. Don’t like it? Vote them out, or you shouldn’t have voted them in. Tough bikkies. Not the court’s problem.

Now don’t get me wrong, I can’t stand progressive ideology, so don’t see the following as some kind of *coming together* watershed moment. I still have utmost disdain for the OWS crowd, PETAphiles, and idiots who think that man-made CO2 emissions somehow cause global warming.

However, Obama is a democratically elected president, and the SCOTUS has deemed Obamacare constitutional. For better or for worse, people should deal with that and get working. It’s not as if now there’s suddenly universal “free” healthcare in America anyway. Basically, my understanding is that Obamacare now forces your lazy ass to buy some frickin’ health insurance if you don’t have it already, and no more of this pre-existing condition crap (although that was rorted by healthcare providers and clients alike).

And the sky won’t fall in with Medicare and Medicaid. I know this because we have a top-notch healthcare system in Australia comprising of BOTH public and private healthcare. We’ve had it for ages, and basically it works fine.

Now, as you all know, I’m certainly of the Right, and I just hope others on the Right deal with it and won’t carry on like whiny little shouty moonbat bitches like so many on the Left do about, say, another SCOTUS decision like *that one* in 2000.

Anyway, my interest in all this is rather limited beacuse, seriously, as an Australian living in Korea, I don’t really give that much of a fuck about American healthcare.

On a more practical level, however, I would like to talk briefly about healthcare in Korea. I hope people realise that their national health insurance does NOT cover everything. A couple of times during my vacat-… er, stay in Korea, a foreigner has been involved in a serious accident. He/They only had national health insurance, and the doctors WOULD NOT operate until tens of thousands of dollars could be paid. So, we did our best and passed round the tin. Too little. Too late. Those people died.

Moral of the story? I could not recommend high enough also obtaining private health insurance whilst you stay in Korea. Even the best is not overly expensive. Also, if you drive a motor vehicle, get some top notch – not just that basic crap – for you car. For instance, I have insurance that covers my car, me, any passengers, their car, their passengers, any other people, as well as property. I even pay 50 bucks more so that if some asshole sues me even if it’s not my fault (gee, they wouldn’t do that to a foreigner would they?), I’m covered.

Stay safe, people.

UPDATE

JM sent over a few links and posted a comment which my half-drunk (so far) Friday night arse has boiled down to this (and I’ll post the links after the comment).

(originally posted in comments on another bloke’s facebook thread to a lefty audience)

A mate sent over a few links. The ACA is now essentially a tax (as I said above). This means anyone not wanting to sign up to Obamacare will simply pay a tax, $95 the first year up to $695 (indexed) from 2015 or so. What Roberts’ decision also does is set a precedent for future limiting of the congress’ powers. In addition, Obamacare won’t need 60 votes to be overturned, now 51. That is significant (filibuster). Essentially, the young and spritely Justice Roberts did not rule on the constitutionality of Obamacare, but instead made it a tax that comes under the commerce clause which thus severely limits how much it can be played around with. An important distinction there is that congress can regulate but not compel commerce i.e. there goes being forced to pay for insurance. Another part of the ruling means states not wanting a bar more of medicaid that they haven’t already signed up for cannot be forced to do so. The other sticking point is that tax laws – of which Obamacare is now a part of – *must* originate from congress. Obamacare originated from the executive branch, and was passed only by the senate using arcane procedures. Should be interesting.

http://pjmedia.com/jchristianadams/2012/06/28/the-good-the-bad-and-the-ugly-in-the-court-decision/?singlepage=true

http://lsolum.typepad.com/legaltheory/2012/06/the-decision-to-uphold-the-mandate-as-a-gestalt-shift-in-constitutional-law.html

http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/scocca/2012/06/roberts_health_care_opinion_commerce_clause_the_real_reason_the_chief_justice_upheld_obamacare_.html

http://www.patheos.com/blogs/philosophicalfragments/2012/06/28/five-possible-silver-linings-in-the-obamacare-decisio/

http://reason.com/blog/2012/06/28/issa-to-obama-what-happened-to-obamacare

Two further points, however.

The “raise taxes” argument is pretty strong out there in the Americanosphere, so criticising Obamacare as a tax rise probably won’t work – although the people pushing the most for the biggest tax increases probably aren’t the people who pay much tax. ;-) The average American may have a different opinion.

The overwhelming opinion I get from the Americans I know is that for too many, the American healthcare system is fucked. I’ve never had to pay hundreds of dollars for relatively minor treatment. Yes, the best healthcare does exist in America, but who the fuck can access it? Personally, I like the Australian and Korean model… buuuut, I’ve never been to, yet alone lived in America, so I’m open to argument.

Make that three…

Like the boat people crisis in Australia, perhaps it would be wise not to run this issue to ground on ideological/political lines.

    • J.M. Heinrichs
    • June 29th, 2012

    The C-J is trying to tell Congress that its duty is to pass Constitutional laws; it is not the primary role of the SC validate the constitutionality of laws after being passed by Congress. In this case, Congress was told that a tax is a tax is a tax, don’t call it a different name. Which means this law is technically invalid because all tax laws must originate, and subsequently be passed by the House of Representatives. The ACA was passed by the Senate using one of its arcane rules. Given the ‘mandate’ is actually a tax, the law is now suspect.

    Cheers

    • Interesting.

    • Carpe Jugulum
    • June 29th, 2012

    This could have been solved a lot easier if the estates could sell insurance across borders. By not having this in place the cost involved is falsely inflated. The law may be constitutional but it is a joke.

    At the inception of this bill i will quote the only person dumber than Joe Biden.

    “We need to pass this bill so we can see what is in it” – Granny Rictus Mcbotox Pelosi

    • Yeah, that in the US you can’t sell insurance across state borders is bullshit. I’m all for states rights (hello MRRT), but that could hardly be considered an infringement. It would have increased competition and some real deals could have emerged.

      Arguably, the US wouldn’t be twisting its guts tonight.

      And you know who went on about that, yet was lambasted by both sides?

      Same guy who wants to stand up to China while the US still can.

      • HINT: It ain’t fucking Romney.

        • I’ll win with hindsight but that’s a shitty fucking win.

      • Carpe Jugulum
      • June 29th, 2012

      Indeed it is the blockng of selling insurance across brders that exacerbates this problem.

      Romney has stated if he becomes POTUS he will repeal this bill.

      I suspect that preshizzle won’t have much to gloat about.

      • Not even that… your first line…

        Indeed it is the blockng of selling insurance across brders

        What Roberts has done is set a piledriver into that one. All it will take is another court case.

        Romney stated that probably before the unexpected ruling. No way he’ll repeal it now. He’s not completely useless.

      • philjourdan
      • June 29th, 2012

      YOu have an excellent point – about selling insurance across state lines. But that right is still held by the states, not the feds (if they thought about it they would mandate that as well). But the down side to that issue is:

      if Insurance was interstate, then there would have been no state issue with Obamacare. The fact that it was not interstate meant that 27 states had grounds to sue, and they partially won. They can thumb their nose at Obamacare without reprecussions. (that was in the ruling as well).,

    • Sean of Deer Park
    • June 29th, 2012

    I don’t really understand the US system of gov. It’s all a bit hear nor there, to me. My limited understanding of this situation could be thus summarised:

    Obama campaigned on Health care for the masses but didn’t call it a new Tax.
    New Taxes can only be levied if they are put to the people at election time during said campaign.
    Obama has been trying to get it through; playing on words, any words, as long as it wasn’t the T word.
    Congress is now told it is indeed the T word. Awkward.
    Theoretically, the Tax is now unconstitutional but they are going to have it anyway.
    Or some such. Yes?

    Having said that, I’m with BingBing on the health-care stuff. Medicare here is expensive and slow at times but overall it works (for our small population). With a mix of public and private people get some piece of mind regardless of their ailments or financial capacity, which is probably a good thing. I suppose the worry for the US is having such a large population. Knowing everyone will most likely get sick or hurt at some point in their life; it would be harder to balance the expense. Especially with a huge debt and high unemployment. Hence, once the Tax is levied, how high could it potentially grow in the future. Keep printing those US Dollars, Uncle Sam!
    ( Pfft… It’s Romney’s problem [or advantage] now. :lol: )

    • Obama didn’t mean for it to be a tax, either. Almost no-one thought Roberts would.. well, call it what you will.

      • philjourdan
      • June 29th, 2012

      Our system is rather unique, but if you spend your life here, you learn not to go crazy trying to figure it out.

      But no, Tax increases do not have to go before the people. Indeed, if they had called the bill a tax bill (instead of a mandate which was struck down), they could have played with it for 2 years! (they had to cut short their fiddling when Scott Brown won the kennedy seat in the Senate). But as America was founded on a revolt against taxes, no party wants to run on the fact they are going to raise your taxes, so they always use doublespeak when it comes to taxes (raising and lowering).

      So the bill is legal. But the politics is pure poison. Democrats now have to run a campaign touting they just raised taxes on the middle class by more than any administration in history – and after promising not to.

      In my state, we had a close race for a seat in the senate. This ruling just assured the republican win.

        • Sean of Deer Park
        • June 29th, 2012

        Thanks for clearing that up for me, Phil. Esp the campaign/Tax/Mandate bit (I was heading up the garden path with that one :lol: )

      • You know what to do

        https://www.facebook.com/pages/Being-Liberal-means-Being-a-Hypocrite/183504651660453

        • Oops sorry. this one

          https://www.facebook.com/beingliberal.org

    • philjourdan
    • June 29th, 2012

    Take the weekend off, and read the rest when you return (I will be replacing the power panel in my home tomorrow as the temp is expected to be over 40 degrees celcius).

    First, you have most of the analysis correct. However, you did miss one big item (kind of the bull in the china shop). Conservatives in the US have always railed against Judicial activism, more than any other issue, that bites their arses. What Roberts did yesterday was in every way shape and form Judicial activism. He did not even hide the fact that he REWROTE the law to say the mandate was a tax (the opinion even states the law was not written that way). So, for whatever reason he did it, and whatever way you frame it, the debate is just beginning. And it promises to be another Boston Tea Party if Romney does not carry through on his promise.

    As for hitting the nail on the head, you did mostly. Yes, now that it is a tax, it no longer requires 60 votes to kill it in the senate. Barring a Nuclear war (given Obama’s meglomania, that can never be ruled out), the republicans will take the senate. I give it a 60/40 chance for Romney to win the Presidency, and the house will just get more conservative. So there is hope.

    The one error your made was in Medicare/medicaid. It is actually 2 different programs, but they do come from the same pot. It is gone. Obamacare killed it. in order to pay for his pet project, he robbed $500b from the fund. Which means it goes bankrupt (not in the red – it is already in the red) in 4 years. If Obamacare is repealed, that extends its life another 7 years (democrats never do anything about funding their pet projects).

    So while you have a universal health care, as does most of the Commonwealth (I am talking your homeland, not your current residence), America has the worst of all possible things. There is no government health care (than there was before). There is a mandate to buy insurance, and a tax on people who do AND do not (the largest tax increase in the history of the world).

    The history of the US is defined in a lot of ways by the Boston Tea Party. And the failure to understand that is the reason most non-Americans scratch their heads at us silly Americans.

    • Thank goodness I drink coffee. Getting back, you guys have gotta do something. You’ll work it out.

        • philjourdan
        • June 30th, 2012

        Actually, it may not be over. I have to research it, but someone just pointed out a novel contention.

        OBamacare was passed by the senate (the version that is law), and then the house. It originated in the Senate. yet the constitution says that all bills dealing with the raising or spending or revenue have to originate in the House.

        SCOTUS may not be done with this yet.

        • Check what JM said…1st comment… more than a pretty face

            • philjourdan
            • June 30th, 2012

            Thanks – I had skipped most of the other comments. The downside to the House vs Senate issue however is the SCOTUS would still decide. And Roberts is quoted as saying he thought his duty was to validate the law in any way possible. So I am sure some House Rep will come up with a statement “I proposed it”, even though the law as written was never vetted in the house.

          • minicapt
          • July 2nd, 2012

          It never did pass the House, which is what makes the situation interesting. It passed the Senate using one of those queer “Senate rules” which are designed to bypass the Constitution. There may be other traps in the Chief’s opinion such that Dingy Harry is going to begin to hate his mother.

          Cheers

          • My understanding is that it did pass the House.

            http://clerk.house.gov/evs/2010/roll165.xml

            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Affordable_Care_Act

            “PPACA passed the Senate on December 24, 2009, by a vote of 60–39 with all Democrats and two Independents voting for, and all but one Republican voting against.[13] It passed the House of Representatives on March 21, 2010, by a vote of 219–212, with 34 Democrats and all 178 Republicans voting against the bill.[14]”

            A bit backwards, but still…

              • philjourdan
              • July 2nd, 2012

              They were talking about “Deeming” it pass in the house, but backed away due to the outcry, and eventually did vote on it and pass it.

        • Reading that again today, it’s really worth committing to memory and keeping an eye out.

  1. BTW. I din’t miss it. I ignored it.

    • J.M. Heinrichs
    • June 30th, 2012

    1. No activism involved; the Chief, as he explained, made the necessary corrections so that the Act is now properly Constitutional. In the process, he re-established a number of Constitutional restrictions which Congress had been allowed to ignore.
    2. He reminded everyone that the Constitution chain of responsibility begins with the voters, then the Congress and finally the President. The Supreme Court should be the protector in extreme cases only.

    Cheers

      • philjourdan
      • July 2nd, 2012

      Sorry JM, but I disagree. Roberts had to rewrite the law so that instead of a “Mandate”, it was a tax. The definition of Judicial activism is writing legislation from the Bench. That is clearly what Roberts did.

      He may be correct in your second point, but it is not the court’s job to write legislation either.

      • I saw yesterday the WHCOS stating that, yes, although they argued it was a tax in court, that now, no, it’s not actually a tax. Should be interesting re that the law originated in the Senate.

          • philjourdan
          • July 5th, 2012

          They can call it a purple people eater if they want. But since SCOTUS has ruled it is a tax, that means the Senate only needs 51 votes to repeal it. If the opposition wins enough seats (odds are they will – only because of the numbers), it will be repealed in the Senate.

          Obama has promised no new taxes on people earning less than $250k (USD), and this is in direct contradiction to his pledge. Needless to say, they will try to spin it as anything but. Legally, however, it is a tax and subject to the rules of a tax as far as repealing it goes.

          • Hence why I don’t get why so many conservatives are up in arms over Roberts.

              • philjourdan
              • July 6th, 2012

              Plan A failed. They are down to Plan B. Every defeat is stinging.

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