Archive for Thursday, June 28, 2012

Supreme Court upholds key part of Obama health law

June 28, 2012, 9:25 a.m. Updated June 28, 2012, 11:12 a.m.

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— The Supreme Court on Thursday upheld the vast majority of President Barack Obama's historic health care overhaul, including the hotly debated core requirement that virtually all Americans have health insurance.

The 5-4 decision means the huge overhaul, still taking effect, will proceed and pick up momentum over the next several years, affecting the way that countless Americans receive and pay for their personal medical care.

The ruling hands Obama a campaign-season victory in rejecting arguments that Congress went too far in approving the plan. However, Republicans quickly indicated they will try to use the decision to rally their supporters against what they call "Obamacare."

Claire McAndrew of Washington, left, and Donny Kirsch of Washington, celebrate outside the Supreme Court in Washington, Thursday, June 28, 2012, after the courts's ruling on health care.

Claire McAndrew of Washington, left, and Donny Kirsch of Washington, celebrate outside the Supreme Court in Washington, Thursday, June 28, 2012, after the courts's ruling on health care.

William Temple, of Brunswick, Ga., waits outside the Supreme Court a landmark decision on health care on Thursday, June 28, 2012 in Washington.

William Temple, of Brunswick, Ga., waits outside the Supreme Court a landmark decision on health care on Thursday, June 28, 2012 in Washington.

Stocks of hospital companies rose sharply, and insurance companies fell immediately after the decision was announced that Americans must carry health insurance or pay a penalty.

Breaking with the court's other conservative justices, Chief Justice John Roberts announced the judgment that allows the law to go forward with its aim of covering more than 30 million uninsured Americans.

The justices rejected two of the administration's three arguments in support of the insurance requirement. But the court said the mandate can be construed as a tax. "Because the Constitution permits such a tax, it is not our role to forbid it, or to pass upon its wisdom or fairness," Roberts said.

The court found problems with the law's expansion of Medicaid, but even there said the expansion could proceed as long as the federal government does not threaten to withhold states' entire Medicaid allotment if they don't take part in the law's extension.

The court's four liberal justices, Stephen Breyer, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Elena Kagan and Sonia Sotomayor, joined Roberts in the outcome.

Justices Samuel Alito, Anthony Kennedy, Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas dissented.

Kennedy summarized the dissent in court. "In our view, the act before us is invalid in its entirety," he said.

The dissenters said in a joint statement that the law "exceeds federal power both in mandating the purchase of health insurance and in denying non-consenting states all Medicaid funding."

In all, the justices spelled out their views in six opinions totaling 187 pages. Roberts, Kennedy and Ginsburg spent 57 minutes summarizing their views in the packed courtroom.

The legislation passed Congress in early 2010 after a monumental struggle in which all Republicans voted against it. House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., said Thursday the House will vote the week of July 9 on whether to repeal the law, though such efforts have virtually no chance in the Democratic-controlled Senate.

GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney has joined in calls for complete repeal.

After the ruling, Republican campaign strategists said Romney will use it to continue campaigning against "Obamacare" and attacking the president's signature health care program as a tax increase.

"Obama might have his law, but the GOP has a cause," said veteran campaign adviser Terry Holt. "This promises to galvanize Republican support around a repeal of what could well be called the largest tax increase in American history."

Democrats said Romney, who backed an individual health insurance mandate when he was Massachusetts governor, will have a hard time exploiting the ruling.

"Mitt Romney is the intellectual godfather of Obamacare," said Democratic consultant Jim Manley. "The bigger issue is the rising cost of health care, and this bill is designed to deal with it."

More than eight in 10 Americans already have health insurance. But for most of the 50 million who are uninsured, the ruling offers the promise of guaranteed coverage at affordable prices. Lower-income and many middle-class families will be eligible for subsidies to help pay premiums starting in 2014.

There's also an added safety net for all Americans, insured and uninsured. Starting in 2014, insurance companies will not be able to deny coverage for medical treatment, nor can they charge more to people with health problems. Those protections, now standard in most big employer plans, will be available to all, including people who get laid off, or leave a corporate job to launch their own small business.

Seniors also benefit from the law through better Medicare coverage for those with high prescription costs, and no copayments for preventive care. But hospitals, nursing homes, and many other service providers may struggle once the Medicare cuts used to finance the law really start to bite.

Illegal immigrants are not entitled to the new insurance coverage under the law, and will remain one of the biggest groups uninsured.

Obama's law is by no means the last word on health care. Experts expect costs to keep rising, meaning that lawmakers will have to revisit the issue perhaps as early as next year, when federal budget woes will force them to confront painful options for Medicare and Medicaid, the giant federal programs that cover seniors, the disabled, and low-income people.

The health care overhaul focus will now quickly shift from Washington to state capitals. Only 14 states, plus Washington, D.C., have adopted plans to set up the new health insurance markets called for under the law. Called exchanges, the new markets are supposed to be up and running on Jan. 1, 2014. People buying coverage individually, as well as small businesses, will be able to shop for private coverage from a range of competing insurers.

Most Republican-led states, including large ones such as Texas and Florida, have been counting on the law to be overturned and have failed to do the considerable spade work needed to set up exchanges. There's a real question about whether they can meet the deadline, and if they don't, Washington will step in and run their exchanges for them.

In contrast to the states, health insurance companies, major employers, and big hospital systems are among the best prepared. Many of the changes called for in the law were already being demanded by employers trying to get better value for their private health insurance dollars.

"The main driver here is financial," said Dr. Toby Cosgrove, CEO of the Cleveland Clinic, which has pioneered some of the changes. "The factors driving health care reform are not new, and they are not going to go away."

Justice Ginsburg said the court should have upheld the entire law as written without forcing any changes in the Medicaid provision. She said Congress' constitutional authority to regulate interstate commerce supports the individual mandate. She warned that the legal reasoning, even though the law was upheld, could cause trouble in future cases.

"So in the end, the Affordable Health Care Act survives largely unscathed. But the court's commerce clause and spending clause jurisprudence has been set awry. My expectation is that the setbacks will be temporary blips, not permanent obstructions," Ginsburg said in a statement she, too, read from the bench.

Comments

jhawkinsf 2 years, 9 months ago

Once again, those pundits who think the Supreme Court is bought and sold according to their own preconceived notions have been fooled. The fact is, the court is a diverse group making decisions based on their best and honest interpretations of the Constitution.

ssteve1 2 years, 9 months ago

Ginsburg and soto(whatever). I don't think so.

Leslie Swearingen 2 years, 9 months ago

¿ Lo que sea? Sonia Maria Sotomayor should be respected not dissed on a public forum.

ssteve1 2 years, 8 months ago

SORRY! You're right, I shouldn't "diss" ruth buzzy ginsburg or soto(whatever).

Firefighter10 2 years, 9 months ago

Actually that's not right at all. Insurance companies lose because they cannot stick it to people using more benefits. They also will have to deal with lowering premiums because Americans will now have the ability to shop around, just like with car insurance.

Alyosha 2 years, 9 months ago

Perhaps not surprisingly, your comment displays 100% inaccurate understanding of the law. Since we can presume, based on these kinds of comments, that your interest is not in an adult discussion, since an adult discussion would presume speaking factually and knowledgeably, what do you hope to accomplish by posting such comments?

Carol Bowen 2 years, 9 months ago

Right on, Paul. I have had some real scares with my insurance in the past. Things seem to be shaping up, now, although I still hear how my treat ends and med are limited by my insurance.

Carol Bowen 2 years, 9 months ago

Oops. I can't tell if I'm having trouble with this new software or my Apple iOS. I meant treatment and meds.

Bob Harvey 2 years, 9 months ago

Well I agree that it will be interesting. For those who have had hundreds of visits to the ER with no thought of payment, welcome to the world of actually paying for your care, albeit small. For those that have complained about not being able to get insurance when they finally have needed it...no worries, you will now have to have it even before you get sick. Isn't that a kick in the shorts?

"For those that like their current insurance, you can keep it". Uh, probably not so much when employers start dropping their coverage since it will be cheaper to have everyone on the government's plan rather than the company's.

Again, interesting times ahead.

ebyrdstarr 2 years, 9 months ago

My question is: Who are you including in that "we?" Because if you're arguing that expanding the pool of people who can afford to go see a doctor will muck things up for those of us who already could, I don't find that argument compelling. Or compassionate Or an argument a decent person should make.

No one should be priced out of health care, even if that might make things less convenient for some of us.

Liberty275 2 years, 9 months ago

A week after I met Dr Randall, I had a new ACL. Of course, I had to wait 3 days after my primary doc referred me before I could see him.

forward 2 years, 9 months ago

One anecdote doesn't make an argument. That's called generalization. Having said that, I've seen universal health coverage work flawlessly in Germany and France.

An MCL can go for months and not be a huge problem, although if someone is needing pain meds., that's a problem. Meniscus tear - Primary doc referral, one week later MRI (not even necessary), 5 weeks later surgery. Right here in Lawrence. I don't think wait times are what's going to determine success or failure.

pizzapete 2 years, 9 months ago

Tax breaks to stimulate the economy, that's always worked before right?

Richard Payton 2 years, 9 months ago

Next mandate will be the requirement for all citizens to buy a gun for protection. This was the tripe being aired on 103.7 FM talk radio.

pizzapete 2 years, 9 months ago

So Obama wants to take our guns and mandate that we all buy one? Interesting.

I'd like to see a mandate that every farm owner devote 10% of their land to growing hemp to support the war effort (as was done during the Revolutionary War) and some of the excess money generated by the program going toward health care.

Bob Harvey 2 years, 9 months ago

Glad your observant posts are helpful to the conversation.

Cant_have_it_both_ways 2 years, 9 months ago

If you don't buy your own insurance, then there goes your tax return and you will be running from the IRS.

chootspa 2 years, 9 months ago

I always thought that was a peculiar thing to say. Of course it's a tax.

jafs 2 years, 9 months ago

Not like any other tax I'm aware of, that you have to pay if you don't purchase something from a private company.

Liberty275 2 years, 9 months ago

Anyone of any means already has insurance, so our tax returns are secure. The ones that will pay are the 27 year olds working for $15/hr and already broke.

Cant_have_it_both_ways 2 years, 9 months ago

Next comes free health care vouchers to buy your insurance for all the moochers.

Alyosha 2 years, 9 months ago

Since this idea is purely made up by you and not a serous proposal by anyone, why would you post it? And when you say "moochers," you mean people who work hard but cannot afford health care because their employers don't offer it?

somedude20 2 years, 9 months ago

If your car is good enough to insure, then you are as well!

Bob Harvey 2 years, 9 months ago

While auto insurance is mandated it is only mandated for those that drive. Not for everyone that breathes.

somedude20 2 years, 9 months ago

Seems most choose health, not many want to die. If you choose to live, then you need insurance just like if you choose to drive, you need to buy

somedude20 2 years, 9 months ago

You car doesn't drive itself, unless you are Michael Knight (or crazy)

beatrice 2 years, 9 months ago

So shall we revisit some of the recent predictions on this one???

Glad to see the law found to be constitutional. It looks like our President knows a thing or two about the Constitution after all.

jafs 2 years, 9 months ago

I'm frankly shocked that the court upheld the mandate - I was pretty sure they'd strike it.

Although the argument that it's a tax, and permitted on those grounds is a little bit more convincing than the use of the ICC.

But, it's the only "tax" that is imposed due to a failure to buy a product as far as I know, at the federal level, and opens the door to any variety of similar taxes. They could tax us if we don't buy any number of things now - is that really ok with you?

beatrice 2 years, 9 months ago

Actually, the tax argument was one I had made here before, which is that our government tells us to spend money all the time via taxes.

We are taxed for a lot of things that I wish we weren't -- like a bloated defense department that far exceeds our national needs. Is that okay with me? While I would like to say no and that I am not okay with it, in reality I don't have any say in the matter. Our elected officials have determined what to tax us for. If we don't like it, we vote in people we feel will best represent our interests.

Also, before the sky falls, health insurance is not any number of things, but a very specific thing.

jafs 2 years, 9 months ago

Yes, but the argument that a fine is equivalent to a tax is new.

The difference is that a fine for not purchasing health insurance is different in kind from any tax I'm aware of, and expands the definition of a tax.

So, if they like, they can now "tax" us if we don't buy a tv, or a cup of coffee, etc.

Once that door is opened, I don't trust that the federal government won't extend that power.

jafs 2 years, 9 months ago

How tax revenue is spent is a different question from how it's gotten in the first place, also.

Your arguing about how tax revenue is spent doesn't answer the question about how it's obtained.

jafs 2 years, 9 months ago

Nothing's wrong with taxes, but this operates as a "fine" or a "penalty" rather than a tax.

Do you really think the federal government should be able to levy a "tax" if you don't buy a tv?

That's not my understanding of taxes, and how they work.

jayhaitch 2 years, 9 months ago

People without children still pay taxes to send other people's kids to school. Their family is not receiving any education, but they're forced to buy it anyway. Just like the health insurance scenario.

Bob Harvey 2 years, 9 months ago

Interesting though, the SCOTUS declared the mandate as a tax, ergo legal. At some other time I think they will have to visit the whole mandate issue when it rears it's head again.

Satirical 2 years, 9 months ago

"It looks like our President knows a thing or two about the Constitution after all" - beatrice

You mean the person who said it wasn't a tax, and claimed it was Constitutional based on the Commerce Clause (with which the Supreme Court disagreed)? I agree he is a genius.

beatrice 2 years, 9 months ago

Excellent Sati, I'm glad you have finally come around.

(Is my sarcasm meter broken? You were serious, weren't you?)

Bob Harvey 2 years, 9 months ago

Excellent point. At some time we will have to address the over use and abuse of the system.

Greg Cooper 2 years, 9 months ago

I am not an expert-nor even mildly knowledgeable--on your assertion that the insured abuse the ER more than the uninsured, but it makes little sense to me that that would be the case. The insured actually have insurance to cover the ER visit, whether need or not, but usually pay a higher deductible for the visit. The ununsured, apparently, pay nothing unless collecdtion efforts are fruitful. Where is the information you cite? And for what reason would care costs go up if everyone was required to carry insurance? None of what you say makes sense to me, but I'd be interested in learning from you.

Cant_have_it_both_ways 2 years, 9 months ago

Man, I feel sorry for part timers, contract labor, and for the many full time employees on the verge of being fired. Be careful what you ask for. If this is not repealed, the only way it can get close to breaking even is by rationing. You will now get to watch your mother die as the rationed care will go to an illegal as they are both equal in the eyes of the government and the illegal has the ability to work and maybe pay taxes.

End of life posters in some cases will be required, regulation of your personal habits as they apply to health costs are on the way. Many things are now an option for big brother to intrude on your personal liberties.

I could care less either way as I pay my own way, but you that are close to paycheck to paycheck, might consider going to the drug store and getting a big jar of vaseline. Say goodbye to your income tax return and many of the other freebies those making less than 80K a year receive.

Topple 2 years, 9 months ago

Ahh, the whole religious exemption never gets old. I'm a member of the don't need the government to spend $0.50 of every $1.00 I earn for me sect.

Alyosha 2 years, 9 months ago

The content of this comment can only be described as unknowledgeable fear-mongering. "You will now get to watch your mother die as the rationed care will go to an illegal...."

Kindly provide legal citations that provide evidence for this wildly demagogic and racist claim. Otherwise your comment is nothing more than "There's a monster under my bed! To the barricades!" In other words, useless and embarrassing for an American to post.

Richard Payton 2 years, 9 months ago

On MSN.com the poll ask, Do you think the Supreme Court made the right ruling? The poll showed 60 percent, no 30 percent yes, and the rest unsure. I voted yes. This issue is far from over and I'll let the journalist explain why for the next few days.

Alyosha 2 years, 9 months ago

Nope. Completely wrong. Get your facts straight. This is not the largest stealth tax increase the world has ever known. Hyperbole is usually a sign that one has zero of value to say, and can't muster an argument worthy of an adult American.

You're simply parrotting Rush Limbaugh: http://www.mediaite.com/online/rush-limbaugh-deems-obamacare-largest-tax-increase-in-the-history-of-the-world/

Try to understand the act before commenting on it — or, better yet, try to think for yourself instead of repeating drug-induced right wing fantasies.

Kirk Larson 2 years, 9 months ago

It's not even that big a tax. It's not as big as the payroll tax credit republicans refused for months. And not everyone has to pay, just those who have no coverage.

DillonBarnes 2 years, 9 months ago

I wish I could take solace in knowing that this was the end of all this, but I know it's not. I'm already sick of the "he said it wasn't a tax" arguments. They will stick to that argument for years and repeat it over and over again. You can argue the merit of the law, or if you're not smart enough, you can keep saying, "he said it wasn't a tax."

RogueThrill 2 years, 9 months ago

It was voted in by the House and the Senate. That's representation.

Alyosha 2 years, 9 months ago

That's an inane comment. You do understand that the House of Representatives voted for it, yes? And the Senate? Both of whom are elected by the American people? And signed by the President?

This comment clearly demonstrates an inability even to understand simple words like "representation." It doesn't mean that Congress only passes what you personally like: it means that the government is made up of elected people. Not so hard and usually covered in civics classes in High School.

tbaker 2 years, 9 months ago

After actually reading the opinion, one really interesting thing is the court did hold that States CAN opt-out of the huge MEDICARE expansion required in ObamaCare. If a State opts-out, and refuses to pony-up the State's portion of the MEDICARE expansion, then ObamaCare is just not going to happen in that state. Kansas joined the lawsuite against ObamaCare, so it's pretty easy to figure out which way our state will likely go.

What vexes me is the largest tax in the history of the world is now supposed to be paid by the people who can least afford to pay it - the people without health insurance. The very people Mr. Obama claims he is trying to help are going to be so screwed by this.

With just 133 days to go to the election, I can not imagine something that would so enflame and galvanize opposition to the Mr. Obama. This SCOTUS decision is going to end up hurting his campaign.

ssteve1 2 years, 9 months ago

Really vertigo. That $95 thing you keep referring to - over and over - is, well, as you put it A TAX!!!! But, I'm as sure as you, there won't be anymore taxes other than this. So this makes both of us so happy. "The problem with socialism is that you eventually run out of other peoples money" - a quote by someone smarter than either of us.

beatrice 2 years, 9 months ago

It won't hurt Obama because he will point to Massachusetts where Romney had a similar law passed, and show how well it has worked there. This will allow Obama and finally the rest of the Democrats who have been too afraid of their own shadows to discuss the positive aspects of "Obamacare" to finally do so.

Remember, the vote will come down to voting for one of two people who have signed laws requiring people to purchase health insurance. I suspect that America will stick with the devil they know ... but of course, I could be mistaken.

booyalab 2 years, 9 months ago

Like, is there even a difference between the state and the federal government? They like, totally, just have guys with suits who do things. Like omg.

beatrice 2 years, 9 months ago

When it comes to the requirement to have health insurance, there isn't a difference between the state and the federal government anymore.

And in case you have missed it, both also have gals who wear suits.

Just an fyi: No point in trying to condesend -- you know, talk down to.

You won't win.

Bob Harvey 2 years, 9 months ago

The biggest negative issue with the Massachusetts law was not how it was written but the consequences it caused. The same consequences that I fear our country will face in the immediate future. Access to care was hindered by 300 thousand or so folks entering into a healthcare system that did not have sufficient providers to meet the new demand.
http://www.massmed.org/AM/Template.cfm?Section=Home6&TEMPLATE=/CM/ContentDisplay.cfm&CONTENTID=65474

This has also been a problem throughout the country over the past number of years and it will only get worse as we add millions of new citizens to an already over stretched healthcare system.. It will be like having a few coins but no shop to spend them in. Wait times to see a physician will increase as a consequence. While I don't question the need for reform we all will have to face the outcomes as well.

beatrice 2 years, 9 months ago

Access could only be considered hindered if you weren't one of those 300,000 who had previously been going without proper healthcare. To those 300,000, what hindered their access to healthcare was a lack of insurance.

Have faith in the market. Supply will eventually grow to meet demand.

Kirk Larson 2 years, 9 months ago

Tort reform in Texas just made costs go up and percent of people covered go down. It's no panacea.

beatrice 2 years, 9 months ago

I guess when the unconstitutional argument falls apart, the Socialist agenda argument is the obvious fallback position.

beatrice 2 years, 9 months ago

Right. The Supreme Court's ruling on the laws constitutionality obviously proves that the law is unconstituional. Got it.

And is up really down in your world as well?

PS, they aren't just any 9 government employees, they are our Supreme Court and it is their job to rule on what is and what is not constitutional. I know, I know ... amazingly, it isn't left up to anonymous libertarians on the internet to make such rulings. Obviously, you would know better than our current court.

jafs 2 years, 9 months ago

4 of the justices disagreed with this ruling.

So, out of 9 well educated intelligent justices, a tiny bit more than 1/2 of them thought this was ok.

beatrice 2 years, 9 months ago

And that is how the court works. We have never claimed that things to be ruled constitutional must have a unanimous decision, now have we?

Liberty275 2 years, 9 months ago

I take it you are now staunchly in favor of the SCOTUS ruling on Citizens United.

beatrice 2 years, 9 months ago

Where have I stated that people who oppose "Obamacare" now must staunchly be in favor of it? If I don't agree with a Supreme Court ruling doesn't mean I suddenly believe it isn't the position of the Supreme Court to rule on what is and what is not constitutional. LIberty isn't saying he disagrees and leaving it at that, he is saying that the Supreme Court isn't in the position to make that ruling, which is a ridiculous stand.

jafs 2 years, 9 months ago

How on earth could so many intelligent well educated people not know it would lead to corruption? It's pretty obvious.

But, I'll be surprised if they revisit the issue any time soon, never mind overturning the decision.

jafs 2 years, 9 months ago

Personally, I'm rather uncomfortable with 5-4 decisions, as they indicate a rather serious disagreement between virtually half of the SC.

It's a bit much to say "the court" ruled in favor, when really just a little bit over 1/2 of the court did so - it's like calling a 54% election win "the will of the people".

beatrice 2 years, 9 months ago

Because we have a branch of government -- the judicial branch -- to determine what is and what isn't constitutional. We don't allow something to be constitutional in one state but not another. This is why it is not left up to the states.

If you have any questions, here is a refresher that you might be able to understand: http://www.congressforkids.net/Constitution_threebranches.htm

beatrice 2 years, 9 months ago

Are you really arguing that what is Constitutional in one state is not Constitutional in another? Please. You might have a fantasy on what state's rights means, but that ain't it. Things deamed Constitutional by the Supreme Court apply to all 50 states -- the states don't get to pick and choose.

I included the link because I felt it at a level you could understand. Obviously not. However, my mother is deceased, so please leave her out of it.

beatrice 2 years, 9 months ago

And this law was just ruled Constitutional by the Supreme Court, hence it applies to ALL states.

Next.

Alyosha 2 years, 9 months ago

This comment is ridiculous on its face. The Supreme Court, since Marburry v. Madison, decides what acts of Congress are unconstitutional. By upholding the Act, Justice Roberts demolishes your belief that the Act is unconstitutional. By upholding the Act, the Act is constitution. Not so hard to understand. That's how the US works. Usually this is covered in basic civics classes in High School.

beatrice 2 years, 9 months ago

Is it not also a fairy tale when a person believes he is always right, or that he knows more than people clearly trained in a particular field, such as the law?

Liberty275 2 years, 9 months ago

We might not like it, but we shouldn't second-guess the supreme court. They are the final word and can only be overridden by an amendment.

American first, libertarian second. You got to keep those in order.

beatrice 2 years, 9 months ago

No Liberty, when a crime breaks out, I would want you to answer the call. You would be so much better than a police officer. You could then be the judge as well, since you obviously know so much more than real judges.

beatrice 2 years, 9 months ago

When Liberty_One starts to argue that Liberty_One has a greater knowledge and authority on what is and what is not Constitutional than the Supreme Court, then yes, Liberty_One does become a side-bar within the greater topic.

If anyone comes on here and starts making false statements, it really is up to the rest of us to set that person straight. Your claim that arguments against "Obamacare" on grounds of it being unconstitutional are still valid is a false statement -- the Supreme Court just said so.

beatrice 2 years, 9 months ago

Do you even read your own comments? You wrote: "This law is still clearly unconstitutional by an objective standard. No where in the Constitution is congress granted this kind of authority." Apparently you really do think yourself smarter and in a better position to rule on the constitutionality of a law than our Supreme Court. You call the law unconstitutional, the Supreme Court ruled that it was constitutional. You claim that they weren't looking for the correct answer. Really? They missed it, but in all of your wisdom you found the "right" answer? I see.

Obviously, other judges may have ruled differently, but these judges at this time ruled this way. That is what we must live with. You may not like the decision, but please stop pretending that you know better than the judges. You don't. You just don't like their decision. Too bad. I don't like all of their decisions either, but they are the ones who get to decide. They are the Supreme Court, which means that indeed, their word is law. Duh.

Alyosha 2 years, 9 months ago

I suggest that George Washington would disagree with you. And between you and Washington, I'll consider Washington's understanding of the authority of Congress to be more valid and controlling.

tolawdjk 2 years, 9 months ago

Pssst. The Executive Branch doesn't levy taxes.

But go on believing it. It makes a tasty soundbite.

booyalab 2 years, 9 months ago

Yeah, they get their friends to do it.

Liberty275 2 years, 9 months ago

LOL. They are going to tax us by the pound.

tbaker 2 years, 9 months ago

The 2012 election is now the 2010 election redux. The democrats thought passing ObamaCare was going to give them a boost in 2010. A lot of independants and swing voters hated this law then and now they are really going to be energized.

beatrice 2 years, 9 months ago

What you predict might be possible, but it is also possible that people will finally start to learn what the bill does rather than just believing the lies being said about it. It is very likely that people will turn to like the bill, since poll after poll show people really do like the individual aspects of the bill.

But of course, feel free to run with your predictions about Obama's fall come November. However, seeing how so many people around here were so obviously wrong in their predictions of how the court would rule, you might want to temper yours.

Satirical 2 years, 9 months ago

I agree. This ruling will help Romney. It will rile up conservatives and the people who oppose Obamacare (the majority of Americans). If Romey wins, then Obamacare is finished.

Satirical 2 years, 9 months ago

You mean the executive branch needs Congress to decide which laws to enforce? President Obama needs to know about this ASAP considering his decision not to enforce the Defense of Marriage Act, and his recent decision on unilaterally changing US immigration policy.

Liberty275 2 years, 9 months ago

Laws are as easily overturn as they are to write. It's the same process.

You may not see the congress going red and sixty moderate-to-conservative coming, but it wouldn't be out of the ordinary. Wait until people see their tax returns shrink because they are 30 and want a boat more than insurance and see what happens.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 2 years, 9 months ago

Maybe-- but if Republicans do away with Obamacare, they'd have to come up with something to replace it, and if folks think Obamacare is scary, just wait till the Repubs roll out the Ryan plan, which essentially entails ending access to medical care for pretty much everyone in the lower 50-80% of the economic spectrum.

Satirical 2 years, 9 months ago

Republicans had several alternative proposals when Obamacare was being debated (other than the Ryan plan). Perhaps if Romeny is elected Congress can debate and tackle these issues one at a time, rather than voting on 2000+ pages that nobody read.

tbaker 2 years, 9 months ago

If you think the Ryan Plan is scary, just wait until the US credit rating gets downgraded again and treasury bond yields start to increase.

woodscolt 2 years, 9 months ago

among electorate: 46% favor the scotus ruling and 46% disagree among independents: 46% favor the scotus ruling and 43% oppose.

Not the kind of numbers you want to bet your campaign on if your Romney. My bet he is that Romney will figure this out. Congress are complete idiots and they will just ride this fight right out of office. Republicans have played the "just say no" but can't take no when it applies to them.

booyalab 2 years, 9 months ago

So liberals, if the Obamacare tax isn't so bad.....why were you all so insistent that it wasn't a tax before today?

Alyosha 2 years, 9 months ago

Demonstrate here a "liberal" who insisted before today it wasn't a tax. Also, define "liberal." I bet you cannot.

When you say "why were you all so insistent...," who exactly are you referring to, and do you expect them to answer you?

JackMcKee 2 years, 9 months ago

The problem with this country is that totally clueless, kneejerk, partisan ideologues like Lateralis can vote.

beatrice 2 years, 9 months ago

I just left a post, but it doesn't appear. I will try to respond to booyalab again, but if it shows up twice, I apologize. Anyway ...

Booyalab, you are incorrect. While I cannot speak for all liberals, I know that I certaintly recognized the healthcare law as a form of tax prior to today and I am definetly a liberal. This is what I wrote back on April 7: "I'm not a judge, so I honestly can't say for sure. I do know, however, that I must pay taxes. Taxes are clearly an example of the government telling me what to do with my money. Does it matter if I give them the money to buy what they want me to have for "my own good" then if they tell me to pay for it directly? This notion of the government not telling me what to do with my money except in the case of buying insurance is laughable. They do so all the time.

Of course, the purchase of insurance is a bit different, but in the end, it is just another tax. From what I can tell, taxes are constitutional. That is how it can be legal ... maybe.

Again, I am glad it is going to the Supreme Court. Let them settle it." http://www2.ljworld.com/news/2012/apr/07/health-care-case-has-democrats-reeling/#c2014024

So you see, booyalab, you are wrong. No need to continue to repeat that false claim.

Satirical 2 years, 9 months ago

I wonder if ObamaCare will eventually go down as the largest tax increase in US history.

President Obama - before he was just good at spending, but now it is clear he is a true liberal (tax and spend).

Cait McKnelly 2 years, 9 months ago

Unlike GWB who started two unnecessary wars and spent without taxing.

Liberty275 2 years, 9 months ago

I would say Hussein started the Iraq war by invading Kuwait (A US ally), then by violating a cease-fire agreement. Afghanistan allied itself with an enemy that directly struck the USA. You may hate war, but it is the law of last recourse, and will always be so.

I think both wars were necessary as we cannot fail to defend ourselves lest bullies like china or russia think we are weak. Terrorism is a speed bump and was made an example for the real enemy - marxism. Why do you think they played it on TV much?

Liberty275 2 years, 9 months ago

There was no "Iraq War #2", there was a Persian Gulf war under a ceasefire until Hussein broke the it enough times and we decided to officially end the war.

Know what you are talking about and I'll make to your second sentence next time.

Kate Rogge 2 years, 9 months ago

I don't give a damn if Russian and China think we're weak.

JackMcKee 2 years, 9 months ago

Scalia should resign. He is unfit for the Supreme Court.

Cant_have_it_both_ways 2 years, 9 months ago

I wonder if down the line somewhere, if the powers determine that your healthcare costs are say $200/week and your unemployment check is $350/week. Since you are required to own health insurance, and the government controls your check, I wonder if the deduction is automatically made? I dont know much about this yet, but nothing seems to add up for those who don't already have a policy and need one.

I would think someone with a pre exhisting condition has mixed joy in that they now can get the insurance they need, but take a huge pay cut to get it.

I can not imagine this not costing everyone around $800/month. Not many people I know have that much extra at the end of the month.

Mike Ford 2 years, 9 months ago

I've heard waaaaaaaaaagh from the archie bunkers all day......awwwwwww... I've heard KMBZ all day waaaaaaaagh.........waaaaaaaagh......

jayhawklawrence 2 years, 9 months ago

Before today, I believed tha Justice Roberts was a pawn of the right wing.

I am eating crow today.

I came to believe that our nation has been invaded by a plague of dumb people and it is similar to the plagues mentioned in the Bible. Today Judge Roberts gave me hope.

For years, decades, I listened to the right wing talk show celebrities and believed their BS, but eventually I realized that they were wrong and that did not effect the gazillions they were making from my stupidity.

I hope that all Americans wake up and realize that the politicians have become literal slaves of the system. We are the only ones who are still frree.

Reject their billiion dollar ad campaigns. Vote for America. Vote for Freedom. Let them know you cannot be bought.

You are a PROUD American.

Kirk Larson 2 years, 9 months ago

Justice Roberts is still the pawn of corporate interests. the insurance companies are going to make out great. I also suspect he saw the long term electoral interests of republicans in jeopardy if people start realizing what they lost if he had struck down the Affordable Care Act. The strategy of the republican party is not Repeal and Replace, it is Repeal and Whatever.

beatrice 2 years, 9 months ago

For another reason, I give high praise to the Supreme Court. Two major decisions announced this week, and not a single leaked "inside source" giving us the information ahead of time. We truly didn't know until the court released the information. Good for them! Other branches of government should pay attention to this example of doing the right thing.

beatrice 2 years, 9 months ago

BAA's question reminds me of a joke:

Two blondes walk into a building.

You would think one of them would have seen it there.

ssteve1 2 years, 9 months ago

So, here it is. Another "choice". Will you buy health care OR will you buy health care? Freedom of choice. Oh, goodie.

pace 2 years, 9 months ago

We have been picking up the tabs for those who can afford insurance and don't buy it. Most of them walk away when a bill surprises them. This is a win, for the tax payers, for the people who paid insurance and suddenly were kicked off for a multitude of "excuses" for people who change employers, for small business. For a healthier American workforce. Win, win. win.

Carol Bowen 2 years, 9 months ago

"Insurance companies recorded their largest quarterly net gains of the past 10 years since the law was signed in 2010, said Peter Gosselin, the author of the study and senior health care analyst for Bloomberg government.

During that time, the Standard and Poor's 500 Managed Health-Care Index went up 36 percent."

If the insurance companies are making record profits, why did their stock go down today?

Cait McKnelly 2 years, 9 months ago

Quotes from today:
CNN: "Mandate Struck Down"
Van Summers (on Twitter): "SCOTUS holds up free healthcare for everyone?! Screw this Commie country. I'm going to Canada."
Michele Bachmann: "The SCOTUS decision on Obama care was unconstitutional." (I think she wants to buy Civics lessons.)

Mike Ford 2 years, 9 months ago

before this ruling I wrote a lte to the UDK when Mr. Roberts came to the Lied Center assailing him for his misinformation to the justices when he was a clerk involved the City of Sherill V. Oneida Indian Nation case about a decade ago. Those people wrongly assumed he had knowledge about Indian law because of his work in the Venetie case as an attorney for the State of Alaska and he misinformed them about aboriginal land claims in New York State thinking they were the same there as they were in Alaska. They are not the same due to the Alaska Native Settlement Claims Act of 1972. He told the justices to not pay attention to the violations of the Indian Non Intercourse Act of 1790 in the early 19th century by New York State and dismiss the assertions by the Oneida Nation because they'd waited too long to sue. Ironically these tribes were not allowed to sue from 1790 to 1973 due to the immunity from lawsuit that the offending states of Maine, Connecticut, New York, and South Carolina enjoyed until the US Government joined the tribes to sue the states for violating the 1790 act mentioned above. When Mr. Roberts wrongly informed Justice Ginsberg on the info above all that was said following was let congress fix it. He and Scalia and Alito and Thomas love screwing over tribal interests. The Prairie Band Pottawatomi Nation was a victim of their treatment in the Wagnon V. PBPN gas tax case some years ago. It's laughable that he passed this in order to hang the tax moniker on Mr. Obama. Burning down the building to save the yard no less......

Armored_One 2 years, 9 months ago

The problem isn't the cost of health insurance.

The problem is the cost of health care.

Maybe doing something about paying a couple of bucks for an aleve in the hospital, as opposed to paying a couple of bucks for a small bottle of aleve at wally-world would go a lot further to addressing the problem.

But as I am sure someone, or even possibly multiple people, will point out, I obviously don't know what I am talking about.

jafs 2 years, 9 months ago

Actually, I think that's a very good point, and one that doesn't get discussed enough.

But, I think that some of those high costs are there to cover the costs of treating the uninsured, or those that don't pay their bills. Maybe this will bring some of those down a bit.

woodscolt 2 years, 9 months ago

Part of the problem with that scenario is that the hospitals have a lot of bills to pay and the $2 aleve is paying for a lot more than the medicine. The problem is the lack of transparency on just "how much and what" is the inflated price paying for. Probably a lot of inefficiency contributing to this inflated price.

Liberty275 2 years, 9 months ago

You are paying extra for someone to put the pill in a cup, and paying extra again for a nurse to bring it to you. When you are in the hospital, they can't let you take anything but medications from their facility because that's the only way they can have complete control, and thereby mitigate liability.

Besides, if you are in the hospital, you shouldn't take aleve anyway. It is poison. Ask for X-Codone instead. It has less poison, and lots of benign opioids.

Armored_One 2 years, 9 months ago

Aleve was just the first name that popped up when I was trying to think of one that you can get in the hospital and wallyworld.

If you have been to the hospital for some form of procedure lately, go to the billing department and ask for an itemized bill. If you took anything dispensed from their pharmacy, not only will it be listed, but the price you paid for it will be there as well.

Nationwide health coverage is a pretty damned spiffy idea... it's just not going to be feasible until the costs of health care come down.

purplesage 2 years, 9 months ago

All three branches of our federal government have now acted contrary to the will of the people whose votes elected them and whose tax dollars pay thier salary. It is time to clean house in Washington - but do we have replacements?

And our Kansas Insurance Commissioner, singing the praises of ObamaCare needs to be replaced, too.

jafs 2 years, 9 months ago

That's a fallacy, the idea that all that counts is the "will of the people" - our system isn't designed to work that way.

Another way to describe such a system would be "mob rule".

jafs 2 years, 9 months ago

I'm just not going to have the same conversation with you for the gazillionth time.

I don't support mob rule, you're just wrong about that.

jafs 2 years, 9 months ago

As I said, I'm not going to have the same conversation with you over and over again, it's a waste of time.

If you want to believe in natural rights, and think that's somehow going to help anything in the real world, be my guest.

Being born generates no rights at all, as far as I can tell - it's an unpleasant reality, but it's the reality of our situation.

jafs 2 years, 9 months ago

I'm going to stop responding now.

I have discussed this with you enough already, and presented my view.

You seem to want to ignore that, and have the same conversation over and over again, which is just a waste of time, so I won't do it.

Alyosha 2 years, 9 months ago

This comment is flatly incorrect. The American people elected both the President who signed the PPACA and the Democratic majority who passed it in Congress.

They might have acted contrary to your wishes, but that does not mean they acted "contrary to the will of the people whose votes elected them...."

That's basic civics. If the party you favor loses, and the party who wins a majority passes legislation you dislike, that is simply called life, or living in a democracy.

yourworstnightmare 2 years, 9 months ago

Jesus, the GOP firebreathing is just amazing. They are apoplectic. I keep expecting them to lapse into speaking in tongues.

Much of what is being said by the GOP "leadership" is intemperate, embarrassing, and below their offices as elected officials. Conservative? I think not.

There are about 25% of Americans who eat this up and get similarly apoplectic.

I really believe the other 75% are sick of arguing over the ACA, see this SCOTUS decision as confirmatory and final, and want to move on to more pressing issues such as the economy.

Topple 2 years, 9 months ago

So why is it being prohibited that women pay higher rates than men? Does this mean that Obama will be stopping auto insurance companies from charging men higher premiums? I'm pretty sure Insurance is a safeguard against risk, and insurance companies specialize in setting prices on assuming the risk of covering an individual. Should someone who is expected to cost insurance companies X dollars pay the same premium as someone expected to cost 1.5X, or 2X?

yourworstnightmare 2 years, 9 months ago

Correct me if I am wrong, but I am starting to think that Obama has lost your vote.

Linda Endicott 2 years, 9 months ago

What if someone has no income? 0% of 0 is still 0...

I mean someone who is an adult but a dependent of someone else...they don't do taxes every year...would the person who has them as a dependent be liable for buying the insurance? Or the person themselves?

beatrice 2 years, 9 months ago

Actually, you do hear from the left on this, because according to the Congressional Budget Office, "Obamacare" will LOWER the debt by roughly $124 billion over 10 years. Progressive_Thinker pointed this out yesterday -- here is the link PT posted: http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/statements/2012/jun/28/mitt-romney/mitt-romney-says-obamacare-adds-trillions-deficit/

It lowers the debt.

yourworstnightmare 2 years, 9 months ago

I am starting to sense that Obama has lost your vote.

yourworstnightmare 2 years, 9 months ago

The firebreathing GOP "leadership" are displaying intemperance, red-faced anger, and blind hatred.

People are tired of this nonsense. The GOP may pander to their 25% base with their apoplectic ranting, but most people want to move on and see this SCOTUS decision as confirming the ACA law and settling the matter.

Kate Rogge 2 years, 9 months ago

It'll take more than Romney to repeal this law.

woodscolt 2 years, 9 months ago

Funny, you said the Obamacare would be taken care of when the supreme court ruled on it. Guess your were wrong. hmmm

woodscolt 2 years, 9 months ago

Since Karl Rove hit the scene, the pubs have had no integrity, character, or honesty. They behave like a bunch of spoiled rotten lying 6 year olds. They are going to get a big boy spankin on the Eric Holder crap. They think they can simply manufacture the truth and frame the story they want. The truth is coming out and it aint theirs.

tomatogrower 2 years, 9 months ago

This tax on people who refuse to have health insurance, is just a freeloader tax. The rich who don't' have insurance can afford the tax, and the ones who just run to the ER for free care, will have to get a cheaper car and take care of themselves for a change. It cracks me up that conservatives talk about personal responsibility, but they think it's ok that we have to continue paying for the health care of people who would rather buy a fancy car than buy health insurance.

Kate Rogge 2 years, 9 months ago

People without health insurance who go to the emergency room for treatment are BILLED for that treatment - at rates in excess of those who are insured - and have to make arrangements to pay for that treatment in monthly payments. It's BS to keep repeating that everyone gets free treatment and everyone who doesn't have insurance is a deadbeat. The hospitals are required by law to treat whoever comes to them; they are NOT required to treat them for free, and all of them bill those without insurance. Jeeze, Louise. You try seeing a private doctor without insurance and at least $100 cash to pay towards the office visit charges (even if you've been their patient for the last ten years before you lost your job and insurance coverage). The emergency room is the last resort of those who literally do not have other choices.

jhawkinsf 2 years, 9 months ago

I suspect there is a world of difference between what is billed and what is actually paid.

Kate Rogge 2 years, 9 months ago

Yes, some people cannot or will not pay any bills. But the majority DO pay their bills, in small increments, because being poor was not a voluntary choice and they remain responsible people despite a lack of income. We need someone on this discussion board who can speak for LMH's billing office.

jhawkinsf 2 years, 9 months ago

You say the majority do pay ... in increments. Let's be clear, you're not saying that something over 50% of bills incurred by the uninsured are eventually paid, right? Someone might have a bill of $20,000 and pay $10/month. That person would fit your definition of a poor uninsured person paying their bills in increments, right? It would just take them a long time to pay it, but you're leaving we the reader with the impression that the bills are getting paid, right? I would have guessed otherwise.

Kate Rogge 2 years, 9 months ago

LMH takes monthly payments of $25 a month. Most people pay their bills, however slowly they can manage it. So yes, over 50% of bills incurred by the uninsured are eventually paid. And they are paying medical bills which are higher for the same services because the insured are billed at less than rack rates (as insurance companies can negotiate lower costs per service category).

Katara 2 years, 9 months ago

It's BS to also claim that the unemployed and uninsured are collected upon for the full amount of the bill. Many hospitals write-off significant portions of bills if you go talk to the billing department. You do have to provide proof of income. It doesn't make one a deadbeat because you are still paying something but the cost has to be made up somewhere and it usually is the ones who are insured that end up picking up the rest of the costs.

deec 2 years, 9 months ago

I've received 4 robo-calls from the Citizen-United funded astro-turf pro-Mitt anti-Health-Care propaganda forces since the decision yesterday. These people must be desperate and desperately well-funded.

Jim Johnson 2 years, 9 months ago

How in the hell do any of you that are for this know what you are talking about? Nancy Pelosi said we have to pass it to find out what is in it, what kind of leadership are you folks willing to follow? When your parents get old and they tell you "well they are too old to contribute to society anymore so they are dead" let's hear how damn much you like it then. The goverment just took complete control of your life and you're all for it? I guess the dumbing down of America has been completed and we will be considered a Socialist country from now on until Comunism takes complete control. The old saying "watch out what you wish for" has come true and you are about to find out what and who you have voted for. We just lost our Supreme Court and now what do we have to keep us from going down to the kind of society only Hitler would want? This is a dark day in America and you all will soon find out why. Your life as you know it has changed forever. You don't even know what is in this unconstitutional law but you're soon going to be reading the whole 3000 pages word for word.

Alyosha 2 years, 9 months ago

It's simply incorrect, and evidence of ignorance of our country's history, and specifically the actions of the Founders, to believe and assert that the Federal government has not now, nor ever asserted, such power to compell citizens of the States to purchase something.

To believe so is to assert that you have a better understanding of the Constitution and a better understanding of the powers of the Federal government than they who fought the Revolutionary War and instituted the United States Constitution.

I respectfully suggest that George Washington had a better understanding than you with regard to what the Founders intended and with regard to the powers of the Federal government.

For instance, Congress enacted, and George Washington signed, an act mandating that "every citizen so enrolled and notified, shall, within six months thereafter, provide himself with a good musket or firelock, a sufficient bayonet and belt, two spare flints, and a knapsack, a pouch with a box therein to contain not less than twenty-four cartridges, suited to the bore of his musket or firelock, each cartridge to contain a proper quantity of powder and ball: or with a good rifle, knapsack, shot-pouch and powder-horn, twenty balls suited to the bore of his rifle, and a quarter of a pound of powder."

Moreover, "In 1790, the very first Congress—which incidentally included 20 framers—passed a law that included a mandate: namely, a requirement that ship owners buy medical insurance for their seamen. This law was then signed by another framer: President George Washington. That’s right, the father of our country had no difficulty imposing a health insurance mandate.[...] Six years later, in 1798, Congress addressed the problem that the employer mandate to buy medical insurance for seamen covered drugs and physician services but not hospital stays. And you know what this Congress, with five framers serving in it, did? It enacted a federal law requiring the seamen to buy hospital insurance for themselves. That’s right, Congress enacted an individual mandate requiring the purchase of health insurance. And this act was signed by another founder, President John Adams."

See http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/ezra-klein/wp/2012/06/26/george-washingtons-individual-mandates/

Everyone is free to disagree with the policies enacted in the PPACA, but to assert that it is an unprecedented power grab, or unconstitutional, or something only Hitler would like, puts you firmly in opposition to the Founding generations' understanding of the Federal government's power.

Between George Washington and those who think they know better than he about the meaning of the Constitution and the powers therein, forgive me if I don't give credence to you, but rather give my credence to President Washington's actions and insights.

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