“Because the Constitution permits such a tax, it is not our role to forbid it, or to pass upon its wisdom or fairness,” Roberts wrote.
Had Obama been forthright that his radical remake of U.S. health care was based on a massive new punitive tax it would never have passed. It barely passed even as it was, and now is hugely unpopular with much of the population. Pelosi notoriously said at the time that Congress would have to pass the law in order for members and the public “to know what’s in it.” And now that the public has had 829 days (as of Thursday) to get to know it, it’s fair to say that for most Americans, to know Obamacare is not to love it.
The court having certified that Congress can mandate Americans buy a certain product (health insurance), it shouldn’t be long before Congress starts adding to the list of such items.
The four conservative dissenters on the court (Scalia, Thomas, Kennedy and Alito) predicted the new law will mean higher costs for insurance companies and higher premiums for consumers, and “could threaten the survival of health-insurance companies, despite the Act’s goal of ‘effective health insurance markets.’”
“In our view, the act before us is invalid in its entirety,” Kennedy wrote.
Added their dissent, in a slam at the majority’s flawed reasoning: “One would expect this Court to demand more than fly-by-night briefing and arguments” before reaching such a momentous decision.
And momentous is it. The new law is expected to make it so expensive for employers that many choose to stop offering health care benefits to employees, shunting them into the government’s arms. So much for Obama’s promise that if you like your present health plan, you can keep it.
It also contains a punitive new tax on every medical device manufactured or sold in this country, with the exceptions of eyeglasses, contact lenses and hearing aids. If your dad needs to buy a walker, or your diabetic teen needs an insulin pump, or you need a pacemaker, the cost will be higher, thanks to Obama. And providers will be taxed more for everything from tongue depressors to X-ray machines.
It’s a law that throws the notion of limited government on its ear, undermines the strength and independence of our health-care system and will be ruinously expensive. And it’s a law that opens the door to government rationing of health care, although you won’t find the “R-word” in there anywhere.
And though there are a few aspects of the law that should be incorporated in its Republican successor, such as the refusal to allow insurance companies to deny coverage to children with health problems, the refusal to let insurance companies put lifetime caps on insurance payouts, and the refusal to let insurers deny coverage to those with pre-existing conditions; most Americans would be better off had the Court ruled the other way.
Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney and congressional Republicans vowed Thursday to fight for Obamacare’s overturn, and we would urge them to do so.
Most Democrats were in full-fledged celebratory mood after the ruling, but it came as a clunker to many others. Indeed, the more people have learned about what Obamacare may mean for them and how much it will cost, the less popular it has become.
Mr. Obama now has his health care law, and he will have to live with it. Unfortunately, so will the rest of us — at least for now.