When I first learned the news of the Supreme Court’s decision on Obamacare, I was shocked. And a little angry. At the time, I could not understand how a majority of a conservative-leaning Court could come reach the conclusion that the individual mandate is constitutional. Once I was able to read the news for myself, and read some of the opinions that were handed down with the ruling, my perception remains the same. In spite of reading countless news articles and blog posts, many of which extolled the virtues of the decision of Chief Justice John Roberts to cast the deciding vote to uphold the mandate, I fail to see how this ruling is a good thing for America.
To get some idea of the genius that was supposed to be in Justice Roberts decision, let’s go to the opinion itself. I am sure you have read it by now. Those who were in the courtroom during the reading of the ruling must have believed the law, or at least the mandate, was a goner. Roberts clearly stated that the Commerce Clause of the Constitution did not grant Congress the power to force individuals to buy health insurance. A few minutes later, he declared the mandate functioned as a tax and the Court could not make the determination if the tax was proper. Here is part of the decision.
CHIEF JUSTICE ROBERTS concluded in Part III–B that the individual mandate must be construed as imposing a tax on those who do not have health insurance, if such a construction is reasonable.
The most straightforward reading of the individual mandate is thatit commands individuals to purchase insurance. But, for the reasons explained, the Commerce Clause does not give Congress that power.It is therefore necessary to turn to the Government’s alternative argument: that the mandate may be upheld as within Congress’s power to “lay and collect Taxes.” Art. I, §8, cl. 1. In pressing its taxingpower argument, the Government asks the Court to view the mandate as imposing a tax on those who do not buy that product. Because “every reasonable construction must be resorted to, in order tosave a statute from unconstitutionality,” Hooper v. California, 155 U. S. 648, 657, the question is whether it is “fairly possible” to interpret the mandate as imposing such a tax, Crowell v. Benson, 285 U. S. 22, 62. Pp. 31–32.
CHIEF JUSTICE ROBERTS delivered the opinion of the Court with respect to Part III–C, concluding that the individual mandate may beupheld as within Congress’s power under the Taxing Clause. Pp. 33–44.
I am not a constitutional scholar and I can not claim to be the smartest fellow in the world, but let me see if I have this straight. Justice Roberts rightly declared that the Commerce Clause does not give Congress the authority to make me buy health insurance. He then turned around and redefined the mandate as a tax and said it could be upheld. He basically changed the argument for the mandate, in order to declare it constitutional. In doing so, Justice Roberts opened a gaping hole in the wall of our liberty. At the same time, he paved the way for Congress to expand its power of taxation. The genius of this decision escapes me.
Some pundits are declaring this is part of a long-term strategy by Justice Roberts. They say it is using it to turn the power back to the states. While that may be true with the Medicaid part of the ruling, which said the federal government can not force the states to participate in the expansion of Medicaid that is coming under Obamacare, I fail to see how the ruling by the Supreme Court is either good, or the right thing to do. What does it matter if the mandate is defined as a tax or a penalty? Is not the end result the same. Either buy insurance, or the IRS will collect a fine from you at the end of the year.
There is one more reason why Obamacare should have been struck down. Everyone is rightly upset at the individual mandate to purchase health insurance, but few people are talking about the other mandate that is included in the law. It is also scheduled to go into affect in 2014 and it is called the employer mandate. Reuters has an explanation of.
Offer a minimum level of health insurance to their employees after a 90-day waiting period, starting in 2014. This only applies to businesses with at least 50 employees who work “full-time,” meaning at least 30 hours a week, according to Convenience Store News, which covers the retail industry. The health plans offered must comply with existing reforms, including coverage of dependents up to age 26.
If a business chooses not to offer employee health plans, the Affordable Care Act’s employer mandate stipulates a $2,000 per-employee penalty beyond the first 30 employees. That may actually be cheaper than offering health coverage, CSN notes.
You’ll have to forgive me for describing the employer mandate as a job-killing, expansion hindering piece of work. It will almost certainly guarantee a lot of small businesses will choose to not expand and grow, or will close their doors entirely. My employer may not fall under this mandate because of the number of his employees, but he did tell me several jobs would have to be cut, in order to pay for a mandate such as this.
Someone will have to explain to me again how this is a move of genius by Justice John Roberts. After reading about this opinion for several hours and sleeping on it for a night, I conclude that my first reaction was correct. This is a bad ruling by the Supreme Court. I knew there were four liberal justices who would vote to uphold the mandate, no matter how it was defined. I just didn’t expect Justice Roberts to redefine the intent of the law and join those four justices to form a new majority on the Supreme Court.
In his opinion, Justice Roberts wrote the following. “It is not our job to protect the people from the consequences of their political choices.” That may be true, but it is the job of the Supreme Court to declare any law that does not line up with the Constitution as unconstitutional. They failed miserably with Obamacare.
There is only one good thing I can find in this ruling. It has motivated me to work harder to make sure Barack Obama is kicked out of the White House, and to send as many conservatives as possible to Washington. Obamacare has to be repealed and if the Supreme Court refuses to do it, then it’s up to us.