Another bad day for Obamacare

In today’s final arguments over Obamacare, the Supreme Court considered whether striking down the individual mandate should mean throwing out the whole health care law.  It sounded like getting rid of the requirement that people buy insurance were a foregone conclusion.  And a majority seemed to favor scrapping the whole law.  We’ll know in June when the ruling will be announced.  From the Los Angeles Times:

The Supreme Court’s conservative justices said Wednesday they are prepared to strike down President Obama’s healthcare law entirely.

Picking up where they left off Tuesday, the conservatives said they thought a decision striking down the law’s controversial individual mandate to purchase health insurance means the whole statute should fall with it.

The court’s conservatives sounded as though they had determined for themselves that the 2,700-page measure must be declared unconstitutional.

“One way or another, Congress will have to revisit it in toto,” said Justice Antonin Scalia.

Agreeing, Justice Anthony Kennedy said it would be an “extreme proposition” to allow the various insurance regulations to stand after the mandate was struck down.

Meanwhile, the court’s liberal justices argued for restraint. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg said the court should do a “salvage job,” not undertake a “wrecking operation.” But she looked to be out-voted.

Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. and Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr. said they shared the view of Scalia and Kennedy that the law should stand or fall in total. Along with Justice Clarence Thomas, they would have a majority to strike down the entire statute as unconstitutional.

via Justices poised to strike down entire healthcare law – latimes.com.

About Gene Veith

Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.

  • Michael B.

    But we’re “forced to buy” medicare and social security. At least I was in my last pay check.

  • Michael B.

    But we’re “forced to buy” medicare and social security. At least I was in my last pay check.

  • Tom Hering

    @ 1, do you understand the difference between the federal government collecting taxes for a public program, and the federal government forcing you to buy products from private companies?

  • Tom Hering

    @ 1, do you understand the difference between the federal government collecting taxes for a public program, and the federal government forcing you to buy products from private companies?

  • Rose

    It was argued that the federal government doesn’t have plenary police power over individuals. It can tax, but not assess a penalty.
    I’ve been listening to the oral arguments. Sotomayor and Kagan have been the lawyers really pleading the government case. They made points when the government faltered. Kagan should have recused herself.

  • Rose

    It was argued that the federal government doesn’t have plenary police power over individuals. It can tax, but not assess a penalty.
    I’ve been listening to the oral arguments. Sotomayor and Kagan have been the lawyers really pleading the government case. They made points when the government faltered. Kagan should have recused herself.

  • Cincinnatus

    Rose:

    Kagan probably should have recused herself, but, in any case, as I understand it–and I may be completely misunderstand it–the law is in danger from both wings of the court. The liberal justices seem to find the individual mandate unconstitutional, but want to sever that provision from the law and salvage the rest. However, because the law (stupidly!) contains a non-severability clause, the conservative justices want to toss the whole thing.

    Personally, regardless of where you stand on healthcare reform in general, you should applaud this decision should it overturn the entire law. The legislation was deeply flawed from the beginning, inordinately complex, poorly contrived, and, in the end, little more than an obscenely complex gift to private insurers. Start over. It’s got plenty to hate for both conservatives and progressives.

  • Cincinnatus

    Rose:

    Kagan probably should have recused herself, but, in any case, as I understand it–and I may be completely misunderstand it–the law is in danger from both wings of the court. The liberal justices seem to find the individual mandate unconstitutional, but want to sever that provision from the law and salvage the rest. However, because the law (stupidly!) contains a non-severability clause, the conservative justices want to toss the whole thing.

    Personally, regardless of where you stand on healthcare reform in general, you should applaud this decision should it overturn the entire law. The legislation was deeply flawed from the beginning, inordinately complex, poorly contrived, and, in the end, little more than an obscenely complex gift to private insurers. Start over. It’s got plenty to hate for both conservatives and progressives.

  • Tom Hering

    Cincinnatus @ 4, agreed. The administration – should it be reelected, and should it have enough support in both houses – will finally have to consider a single-payer system. Something Obama has stated opposition to since the ’08 Democratic primary debates.

  • Tom Hering

    Cincinnatus @ 4, agreed. The administration – should it be reelected, and should it have enough support in both houses – will finally have to consider a single-payer system. Something Obama has stated opposition to since the ’08 Democratic primary debates.

  • SKPeterson

    Or eliminate the tax deductibility for corporations who provide health insurance to their employees.

  • SKPeterson

    Or eliminate the tax deductibility for corporations who provide health insurance to their employees.

  • http://enterthevein.wordpress.com J. Dean

    Tom @2, there’s only a difference in presentation, not content.

  • http://enterthevein.wordpress.com J. Dean

    Tom @2, there’s only a difference in presentation, not content.

  • Rose

    Cincinnatus, I agree. Start over.
    I was glad to see the House vote to overturn the IPAB rationing panel of unelected officials. http://www.citizenlink.com/2012/03/22/u-s-house-votes-to-eliminate-obamacare-panel/
    I believe Congress forgot the Severability Clause because they were in such a rush to pass it; they just ‘deemed it passed’ without a conference–because Scott Brown had been elected.
    Even without a Severability Clause, parts could be severed.
    Hence Justice Scalia’s complain of ‘cruel and unusual punishment’–expecting the Court to go through the 2700 pages and sever away.

  • Rose

    Cincinnatus, I agree. Start over.
    I was glad to see the House vote to overturn the IPAB rationing panel of unelected officials. http://www.citizenlink.com/2012/03/22/u-s-house-votes-to-eliminate-obamacare-panel/
    I believe Congress forgot the Severability Clause because they were in such a rush to pass it; they just ‘deemed it passed’ without a conference–because Scott Brown had been elected.
    Even without a Severability Clause, parts could be severed.
    Hence Justice Scalia’s complain of ‘cruel and unusual punishment’–expecting the Court to go through the 2700 pages and sever away.

  • http://www.facebook.com/mesamike Mike Westfall

    If the whole thing is struck down, the progressives will just go straight to pushing for a taxpayer supported single-payer socialist healthcare system. That’s what they really wanted, anyway.

  • http://www.facebook.com/mesamike Mike Westfall

    If the whole thing is struck down, the progressives will just go straight to pushing for a taxpayer supported single-payer socialist healthcare system. That’s what they really wanted, anyway.

  • Tom Hering

    Yes it was. Is that news?

  • Tom Hering

    Yes it was. Is that news?

  • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com bike bubba

    SK has a good view on this; if your company pays your insurance, it shouldn’t be any easier on your budget than if you paid it yourself. Having one deductible and the other not is simply a way of getting people working in the corporate world.

    End it and bump up the deduction amounts…..over 2000 pages of law and God knows how much code spared!

  • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com bike bubba

    SK has a good view on this; if your company pays your insurance, it shouldn’t be any easier on your budget than if you paid it yourself. Having one deductible and the other not is simply a way of getting people working in the corporate world.

    End it and bump up the deduction amounts…..over 2000 pages of law and God knows how much code spared!


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