The Washington Post's Supreme Court reporter, Robert Barnes, believes Supreme Court Justice Roberts and other conservative justices may well come up with a narrow decision to let the Affordable Care Act stand. Walter Dellinger, former Solicitor General, agrees.
“The reason I think Chief Justice Roberts will write the opinion is because I think he will want to write a narrow opinion,” Dellinger said. It would recognize that there are limits on Congress’s powers, he said, but that the Constitution’s commerce clause is fully met in a law that deals with the “intimately intertwined” issues of health care, insurance and interstate markets. ...WaPo
For a start, the chief justice is trying to save the Court from the perception of being politicized. He's got a tough job, then,, given the well-publicized positions, not to say antics, of justices Scalia and Thomas. But WaPo's Barnes believes that "even Justice Antonin Scalia, the court’s most irascible conservative, might be lured aboard" a decision to let the law stand.
The issue affects at last one current Republican presidential candidate. And the Boston Globe reports that Obama himself -- a constitutional scholar, after all -- started out as anti-mandate.
Just about every politician in the news seems to have been on both sides of the issue.
It seems half of Washington has flip-flopped over mandating insurance.
One critic dismissed the idea this way: “If things were that easy, I could mandate everybody to buy a house and that would solve the problem of homelessness.’’ That was Obama as a presidential candidate, who was against health insurance mandates before he was for them.
Once elected, Obama decided a mandate could work as part of a plan that helps keep premiums down and assists those who can’t afford them.
To hear Republicans rail against this attack on personal freedom, you’d never know the idea came from them.
Its model was a Massachusetts law signed in 2006 by Mitt Romney, now the front-runner of the Republican presidential race, when he was governor. Another GOP hopeful, Newt Gingrich, former House speaker, supported a mandate on individuals as an alternative to President Clinton’s health care proposal, which put the burden on employers.
All four GOP presidential candidates now promise to repeal the Affordable Care Act, which they call “Obamacare.’’ Rick Santorum, former senator of Pennsylvania, calls it “the death knell for freedom.’’ ...Boston Globe
Flip-flopping is kind of normal for legislators and presidents. Their job is, of course, to do the work of leading. What's not so normal is the viciousness with which voters on the right have hardened their attitudes in response, often guided by leaders in thrall to corporate interests. No room for discussion there. They're apparently blind to the fact that they're already paying for others' health care. Far better to share that burden sensibly across a wider base than to allow it to increase exponentially and unevenly each year. Far better to remove profiteering on the part of private insurers from life-and-death issues.
Paul Krugman posts a chart today showing that close to 70% of "non-elderly" Americans' healthcare (back over ten years ago) came from employer-sponsored insurance. Some of us -- the self-employed -- were in other insurance groups, with the exception of the 10% who used Medicaid.
Now, thanks to the crash-recession, only 53% have employer-sponsored insurance. The rest of us are on Medicare or are insured through the Affordable Care Act. If that law is killed by the Supreme Court this year, there's going to be all kinds of trouble.
What this says is that the system that has provided workable insurance coverage to many (but not enough) Americans is coming apart at the seams. And this in turn means that if health reform goes down, we’re going to be looking at a wave of misery spreading across the land. ...Paul Krugman
The Supreme Court will post audio of the hearings each day of oral arguments.
The Supreme Court announced on Friday that it would release same-day audio recordings of the arguments over the constitutionality of the health care overhaul law. The arguments will be heard over three days starting on March 26.
The court’s recent practice has been to release audio recordings of arguments at the end of the week. It plans to alter that practice for the health care case, a press release from the court said, “because of the extraordinary public interest” in the arguments.
The court said the recordings would be available on its Web site around 2:00 p.m. for arguments held in the morning on each of the three days, and around 4:00 p.m for an argument to be held in the afternoon on March 28. ...NYT