President Obama finally got some good news today.
The Supreme Court, in a 5-4 decision, upheld most of the Affordable Care Act, including the individual mandate, today. In a stunning proof that judicial activism can cross ideological lines, Chief Justice John Roberts joined the Court’s liberals in finding that the individual mandate is constitutional under Congress’ authority to tax.
There was some good news for those who oppose Obamacare as well according to a Wall Street Journal analysis. The Court decided that the federal government could not expel states from Medicare if they refuse to comply with the law. The Court also limited abuse of Commerce Clause by stating that the Affordable Care Act was not permitted by Congress’ power to regulate interstate commerce.
Following the Battle of Bunker Hill, British General Sir Henry Clinton wrote that it was “A dear bought victory, another such would have ruined us." The same is likely true for President Obama of today’s victory.
Obamacare was not popular before it passed. It took parliamentary tricks and bribery to pass the law over strong public opposition, even with large Democratic majorities in both houses of Congress. The Cornhusker Compromise and the Louisiana Purchase will long be remembered with scorn. The deal that pro-life Democrats won from President Obama to keep federal money from funding abortion has already been forgotten as new mandates force all insurers to cover abortifacient drugs. Many Democrats who voted for the law are no longer in Congress due their violation of the public trust. Next January, there will be even fewer.
Obamacare is still not popular. Immediately after passage 55 percent of Americans favored its repeal according to Rasmussen. Forty-two percent were opposed. Last week, Americans still favored repeal by 54-39 percent. President Obama and the Democrats went to the wall to fight for a law that Americans oppose by a landslide.
In Georgia, a plaintiff in the lawsuit, Gov. Nathan Deal and Attorney General Sam Olens issued a joint statement on the ruling. Deal said, “Today, the highest court in the country let the American people down.”
Olens agreed, ““I disagree with this decision. Congress explicitly said this was not a tax. I call on Congress to act swiftly, repeal the law and replace it with real reform that respects the Constitution as written.”
Americans don’t like to be told what to do and they don’t like to be lied to. The Democrats have committed both sins. Most Americans know that the law was passed on lies. Americans were told that Obamacare would cut insurance premiums. Since the law was passed, premiums have risen even faster than before according to Forbes. Americans were told that Obamacare would decrease the deficit and be revenue neutral. A new study by the Mercatus Center says that the law will add more than a trillion dollars to the deficit. Americans were told they could keep their insurance and that everyone would have coverage. The Congressional Budget Office says that the law could cause 20 million Americans to lose their insurance. Barack Obama promised that there would be no tax increases for the middle class. In reality, the Heritage Foundation points out that the law includes $500 billion in tax increases, much of which will be borne by the middle and lower classes. While portraying themselves as anti-corporatists, the Democrats were secretly working with the health insurance companies to pass the law according to emails published in the Wall St. Journal.
Most glaringly, Americans were told that the individual mandate was not a tax. President Obama himself told CBS News that “I absolutely reject that notion” [that the individual mandate is a tax] when queried. "What it's saying is, is that we're not going to have other people carrying your burdens for you anymore," Obama continued. "Right now everybody in America, just about, has to get auto insurance. Nobody considers that a tax increase."
Yet that is how the government presented its case in court. That is how the Court interpreted the law in order to find it constitutional, even though the law itself structured the mandate as a penalty, not a tax. It is obvious that President Obama and the Democrats lied.
Today’s defeat is not the end of the opposition to Obamacare. The law will ultimately be defeated. One effect of the ruling will be to fire up opponents of Obamacare for the November election. Mitt Romney will likely succeed President Obama and the Republicans will likely gain control of the senate. If the Republicans control both Congress and the White House, Obamacare’s days will be numbered.
Even if the Republicans are unable to repeal the law, it will almost certainly collapse under its own weight. Obamacare is too complex and unwieldy to succeed. It ignores market realities in exchange for centralized mandates and does nothing to control costs. The trillions that it adds to the deficit will add to the risk that the United States economy will collapse in the same manner of the European countries. Obamacare will not work any better than the stimulus or Obama’s other economic initiatives if it is allowed to take effect.
Even if repealed, the lasting legacy of Obamacare will be that it fundamentally and irrevocably changed the relationship between the American people and their government. Until today, the government had no power to coerce its citizens into engaging in commerce. Now, with the Supreme Court’s blessing, the federal government has no practical limits on its power as long as it can configure its mandates as a tax. Obamacare has left a gaping hole in America’s constitutional protections.
The Democrats will certainly expect to use that precedent to expand their power if the voters allow them to. After the arrogance, disregard for the law, and blatant lies of the Democrats and the Obama Administration, Americans should think long and hard before ever letting liberals near the levers of power again.