Supreme Court Rules Individual Mandate is a tax and Obamacare stands

The Supreme Court has ruled.

Politically, this is an initial win for Obama as President. As a former Constitutional Law Professor, he could have been panned for using all his political capital, causing House Democrats to get massacred last election, all for nothing. Instead, as President he has dodged this bullet.

However, the ruling with regard to not requiring the states to enact the Medicaid provisions or comply with facilitating the individual mandate via the exchanges expose the integrated components of the bill. Suddenly, it may be deemed unworkable. As President, having to administer something potentially too crippled to be workable is a real problem.

But what is the effect for Obama as a candidate?

1) The bill remains highly unpopular with a MAJORITY opposing it and roughly 40% supporting it.

2) The President said this was not a tax and he would not raise taxes on those making less than $250,000. The Supreme Court upheld this as the individual mandate is Constitutional because it IS a tax. There is a definitely going to be a charge from the GOP this was a “bait and switch.”

3) Effect on the economy. Keynes argued the most critical impact on economic growth was the “animal spirits,” a belief by the entrepreneur on whether the future will be better or not. If they think the future is dire, they become hoarders. If they think it is bright, they invest. I posit this will dampen future confidence in the economy and performance. The race is a dead-heat. Any deterioration may be terminal for candidate Obama. Update #1: Market drops 100 points in 30 minutes

4) I go back to point #1. In 2010, the biggest factor that led to the GOP taking over the House was Obamacare. I always believed that a blanket ruling against Obamacare was a net boost to Obama. People could support other aspects of the Obama agenda depending the Supreme Court to “represent” their views on Obamacare. Now that is not the case.

5) Final comment. The essence of the ruling is there is no limit to Congress’ ability to tax Americans based on what they choose or not to do. This will and should re-invigorate the Tea Party mentality. Elections matter. The Constitution provides limited protections to civil liberties and choices. In the end, the first line of defense is clearly our elected members of Congress and the President. Update #2: Taxing people has always got a more visceral electoral response than regulating people. This ruling clearly expands taxing authority and restricts authority to regulate.

Sidebar: The Medicaid ruling has broad ramifications. If the federal government can’t take away Medicaid funds if states don’t change their Medicaid eligibility rules, can they take away highway funds if state’s change the age of drinking? More broadly, this has potential of changing the relationship between the state and federal governments. It can have the effect of lessening federal power because they appear to have lost the power of the purse in forcing state governments to do federal bidding. It also has the potential of making the federal government much stronger as their only mechanism of “social engineering” is to do it exclusively from the federal level bypassing the states.

Update #3: Obama stresses components which the GOP agrees with (eg pre-existing conditions). He avoids the new tax about to be imposed on Americans. He avoids the declaration of the Medicaid provision which makes this bill unworkable. Like Romney, I suspect he had two speeches prepared depending on the results. I don’t think he contemplated these two things.

Update #4: Signal to watch: Next Obamacare polling numbers. If it grows more popular/opposition falls below those who disapprove of Obama’s job rating, Obama got a net gain. If it grows more unpopular, he got a net loss. Furthermore, if the President’s numbers fall, it worked against him. If converse is true, it worked for him. In what promises to be an extremely tight election, this may be the decider.

77 Replies to “Supreme Court Rules Individual Mandate is a tax and Obamacare stands”

  1. Praying Ladies

    When we heard the news this morning at our prayer group, the ladies and I began to cry. How could the Supreme Court uphold the work of this great devil? I pray that Kristi Noem will come to our rescue and work to repeal this tyranical and evil law, and we will certainly be working to keep our good christian friends in power.

    1. Anonymous

      I have more faith in John Thune than anyone else in our state at the moment. The House is obviously going to overturn PPACA with or without Noem. It’s the Senate we need.

    2. Common Sense

      Are you seriously praying that my young daughter will be denied health insurance cause she has a pre-existing condition? Very Christ-like of you.

        1. Common Sense

          I do pay for it, was referring to when she is older and has to buy her own insurance. Your comment shows how cold your heart is, I pray that you have healthy children.

  2. Winston

    Will you also pray that Kristi does not speed and that she attends her committee means as well…. Good christians obey laws and respect the law, like going to court when summoned.

    How is a law which opens the door to health care for millions of Americans evil? Does this mean you are also opposed to Medicare and Medcaid too? How can you justify your opposition to Obamacare without also being opposed to Medicare and Medicaid as well.

    1. anon

      this is going to be so comical… the dems are trying to build a campaign against her speeding tickets and false, unproven allegations that she’s not going to committee meetings. It’s always amazing how stupid the democrats think the voters are.

      1. Anonymous

        Oh but the voters are stupid. That’s how Kristi won in 2010! She didn’t win by a huge margin but those who voted for her are clearly stupid.

  3. thc

    Well, now we know the spin. That’s a pretty fast FAX ya got there.

    I had the TV on and a post ready to draft. These are my thoughts.

  4. Job Creator

    Isn’t this the first time in Jackley’s political career that he has been on the losing side?

    Jackley and the state’s attorney generals argued primarily against the Medicaid provision and the forcing of the state’s to comply/cooperate with the law. The Supreme Court ruled that as unconstitutional. He won. TJ

    1. Job Creator

      …and nary a word about the individual mandate… haha

      Actually, they also argued against the individual mandate was not allowed under the commerce clause. They won that too. As much as you might not like Jackley, he pretty much prevailed. TJ

        1. GH

          Yeah, I agree with Job Creator. If the AGs won the two points you say they focused on, Troy, aren’t they to be blamed for not adequately addressing the tax issue. A loss is a loss.

          1. Troy Jones Post author

            Fair point.

            I think that the opponents of Obamacare either took Obama at his word (it is not a tax relying on a principle that the court looks beyond the letter of the law but also the debate for discerning intent) or under-appreciated and were unprepared for this argument. While I blame everyone, I think this argument was more appropriate to have been addressed by the main plaintiff (Natl. Federation of Business) than the states.

            It is critical ASAP CBO scores this legislation in context of the SCOTUS decision on Medicaid as it pushes a ton of the cost back to the feds necessitating a big tax increase. The people will go ballistic and crush currently safe Senators like Casey in Pa.

  5. Bill Fleming

    I predict that the run-of-the-mill GOP spin on this won’t be nearly so intelligent as Troy’s is.

  6. Anonymous

    LORD,
    MAKE ME AN INSTRUMENT OF YOUR PEACE
    Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
    Where there is injury, pardon;
    Where there is doubt, faith;
    Where there is despair, hope;
    Where there is darkness, light;
    Where there is sadness, joy.

  7. anon

    It is now more important than ever to elect a republican president and congress. I would hope that the right-edge wingnut caucus can at least see the importance of this and stop their assault on their own party.

    Calling more moderate republicans rinos, and asking them to leave the party is not what our country needs right now.

    1. anontoo

      So let’s get this straight… you say we should elect more minority moderates over the conservative base so the moderates can enact more of obamacare ( 2011’s SB38 & 43) while claiming to fight it?

      What good is it to elect you rino’s if YOU betray the will of the conservative base of the republican party (you call them “right-edge wingnut(s)” while begging for their votes and claiming to be like them)?

      1. anon

        thank God I’m not like you.. I just hope there’s a shred of intelligence in there that makes you figure out that trying to kill the republican party right now isn’t very smart.

        1. Cow Dip

          …you mean a Republican? That is what we have been saying all along, good to see you admit it.

          We take better care of our cattle then we do our Republican Party! At least with our cattle we treat them to get rid of parasites.

          What good is it to have a state with a majority of “Republicans” elected when they do not support Republican principles or the Republican Platform?

          YOU are what is bringing our party down and which makes Republicans lose faith in the Republican brand.

      2. anon

        How dense… The issue is Obamacare. At this point, the only chance we have of avoiding it is to elect a republican president and congress. Figure it out… the state legislature can’t do a damn thing about it.

        You holler about the votes “in favor of Obamacare.” Meaning the state should have turned down the money, then funded the whole thing when it gets forced down our throat. A vote no would have been stupid. If we get a president elected that will get it overturned, we’re money ahead. If Obama wins, we’re screwed anyway… Might as well use the fed money instead of the state’s to implement it, because at that point, it doesn’t make a hill of beans difference who’s in our state legislature, we’re not going to stop it.

        Get off the Stace Nelson ego trip bandwagon and start thinking clearly.

        1. anon2

          it’s called principles, Judas, its a Republican thing so we understand why you don’t understand them. Good to see the rinos running in the open so proud of their deceit, even though you have to hide behind the name “anon.” What’s in a name? That which we call Anon By any other name would smell as much a rino.

          Please! You and all your rino ilk run proudly on their record of enacting Obamacare via 2011’s SB 38 & 43! We dare you!

          After so many rinos were put out to pasture this last primary, maybe you rinos might want to stop breaking your horns on the Nelsons of the SDGOP? Naaah! You are to arrogant and ignorant. Please, keep up the great work of motivating the conservative base.

          1. anon

            Your principles aren’t going to stop Obamacare, Stace. It’s about time you admit that the South Dakota legislature can’t do a damn thing about it if Obama gets re-elected, stop using it as a campaign issue, and stop voting for things that will cost the taxpayers of South Dakota more in the long run, just to try and prove that your principles are purer than mine. That’s not what you were elected to do.

            1. namffoH eilrahC

              Sorry Charlie, (snip. Your personal vendetta against Charlie has nothing to do with the Supreme Court ruling. Take it somewhere else unless you want to use your own name.- TJ)

              1. anon

                Thanks TJ! We rinos got to stick together!

                Love your principles, or the lack of them. Let me smear people’s names through the mud and then you cut posts from someone defending those I smear! Love the way Pierre works!

                I’ll teach them to boooooo me! We’ll throw all those dang conservatives out of the party!!

                Listen, you claim to be a person of principles but you are nothing but a weasel. You smear people solely because they disagree with you and you have a narcisistic sense of self-importance which makes you think you can say anything you want. Yet, you can’t take a single critical comment. If you want to disagree with a fellow Republican by name, do it publicly and use your name. And, you may disagree with my principles (I couldn’t care less because your propensity to personally attack all the time makes your view pretty much insignificant to me), but until you have the courage to use your name. . . oh forget it.

                1. anon

                  only an arrogant fool such as you would dare to assume you know who everyone on this toilet is.

                  you don’t know me and I am happy to report, I dont know you. I am disgusted with the lot of you rinos AS ARE MANY SD REPUBLICANS!

                  of course you are against the freedom of speech of those who oppose you, that is the way you rinos work.

                  I know you are disgusted with people who you disagree with you as everyone of your posts are nothing more than a rant against those you consider RINO’s. You offer no rationale for your description except personal attacks. You’ve said it. Repeating it just confirms your intelligence and depth of thought.

    2. Job Creator

      You’re right about chasing good people out of the party, anon. However, I want to reason with you about the shape the last Republican president left this country in.

      An economic system that was literally hanging 49.5% over the abyss.

      Two wars.

      Biggest assault on civil rights in the history of the US (so-called Patriot Act)

      Total failure to develop a national energy policy – not any different from any prior administration/congress, but bitching, bitching, bitching about BHO’s lack of policy. Remember the “Drill Baby Drill” mantra. Why didn’t Bush and the Republican Congress drill out ANWR when they had control?

      The stupidest health care program Medicare Part D that has ever been devised – of course unfunded.

      40,000 fewer factories.

      There’s a bit more, but I am just out of time.

      Can you give me as many reasons (not company-line dogma) why we should want another Republican president right now?

  8. Anonymous

    Wow what news now you wingers obey the law now.The law of the land has prevailed.What you say sister NOEM LIKE YOU WERE GOING TO GET IT OVERTURNED.

  9. Anonymous

    Bring all our vets home and take care of them at the va hospital instead of chasing them away and denying their claims.

  10. Just Call Me Joe

    From my perspective, the decision is neutral in terms of the November election – the (R)s will trumpet it’s the biggest new tax since the Romans demanded that all the world should be enrolled – fine, but at best it’s music for the choir – the (D)s will claim it’s the halmark in a crown of acheivements – a pretty crumby beauty contest tiara to me, but again it plays well with the faithful. Bottom line – better than a loss on the Act for Obama – no gloom and doom – no massive extension of Congressional authority under the commerce clause, but also no game-changer for anybody….

    1. Job Creator

      JCMJoe, finally a sane voice in here. I agree that those of us in the I category will determine this election. Of course, in South Dakota our vote for president doesn’t really even count. We don’t have enough electoral votes to swing the election either way.

      But people in the swing states – the Independents – ARE going to determine this election. And they’re mostly smart enough to figure out what’s going on here. They don’t get their political beliefs from angry bumper stickers. They don’t get their information from partisan propaganda organizations disguised as “news” groups.

      So you are the one person commenting on this in here who is spot on.

  11. Anonymous

    Kristi Noem has an oppurtunity to be the next US Senator of South Dakota if this law is repealed by the next congress.

    Varilek just lost another 10% off of his vote total in November.

    I personally like Rounds and think he would be a stronger candidate but Noem might get a good crack at the senate if Obamacare is repealed by her congress, Senate and president.

    America lost today. Roberts let American down.

    1. Katzy

      Law of the land doesn’t really cut it anymore, anonymous. Obama ignores those he does not like and refuses to enforce them. That should apply to the rest of us too!

  12. FMJ

    It is ironic to me that this law was upheld just a week before Independence Day. The 4th of July should be one of our happiest holdidays but every year I can’t help feeling a bit sad that as each Independence Day passes we are less free than we were a year ago.

    1. Job Creator

      FMJ, I can just see those big ‘ol tears rolling down your cheeks. I feel your pain. July 4th still is one of my happiest holidays. I get to call all my English friends and remind them why we celebrate that day. And I get to call all my French friends and thank them for their undeniably-important part in our independence.

      Of course, my French friends call me every June 6th and thank me back. As it should be…

          1. Les

            Without the French involvement of 1776-1782 roughly, there would have been little opportunity for us to repay that debt on June 6th.

            Btw, wasn’t the revolution over a 7% tax among among other things?

            1. Job Creator

              Les, I don’t have that list of grievances handy, but there were plenty of them on that list. That the tax was collected and taken to England was a major problem with the locals.

  13. Job Creator

    By the way Troy, your #1 update could be adjusted to show that the DJIA plummeted a massive 25 points today, proving that the market hates the SCOTUS decision.

  14. Pierreite

    Today is a great day. I thanked God and rejoiced when I heard. Forget politics, this decision will finally allow our country to move toward the healthcare system we need and deserve. We CAN’T and SHOULDN’T maintain a system that consumes 19% of GDP and produces outcomes comparable with 3rd-world countries. If the Reps had done SOMETHING about healthcare before Obama, I’d have sung their praises and been on their bandwagon. But they didn’t. And then even “repeal and replace” became just “repeal”. I was a raised a Rep and remained so till about 15 yrs ago. The healthcare issue has been primarily responsible for my change. Think I’m gonna go celebrate with a bowl of granola.

  15. William

    I think most of us will agree that had “Obamacare” been explicitly articulated as a TAX INCREASE, rather than a “MANDATE”, it would never have passed. By calling out the reality that a “tax by any other name, is still a tax”, Justice Roberts has exposed the law as “THE BIGGEST TAX INCREASE IN HISTORY” and forces it’s proponents to justify it as such. Americans are much more likely to limit the overreach of Congress and the Executive by rejecting tax increases, than on philosophical arguments (sad, but true).

    If an overwhelming majority of Americans truly oppose “Obamacare”, they have but one real choice in ensuring it’s demise; make President Obama a one term President and eliminate the Democrat majority in the Senate.

    Taxes can be repealed in the Senate under reconciliation with just a simple majority. This means 51 seats in the senate kills this monstrosity, and the left can not use the commerce clause to resurrect it – time to get out the vote, and take both the senate and the executive branches back. Put it in High Gear people, we have work to do!

    John Roberts may just be craftier than I gave him credit for.

    1. Job Creator

      William, you may have a great idea there. What do you do after you get rid of the monstrosity? What does your health care program look like?

      1. William

        What our health care plans SHOULD look like, should be determined in a real marketplace, NOT a creation of the Federal government. I’m old enough to have been able to purchase personal catastrophic insurance, which was all most people would truly need, if it weren’t for the market distortions created by the regulatory environment we have today.

        To directly answer your question, as most of us who are able to obtain insurance through our employer (a market distortion created during price controls implemented during WWII), I take advantage of it. If I had a viable alternative, I would welcome it.

        1. Job Creator

          So you are for being able to kick people off insurance when they get sick?

          Deny kids coverage because they have pre-existing conditions?

          Those are two of the most market (profit)-based ideals run by the bigger health insurers.

          One of the market realities is the concept of “cost-shifting.” In other words, hospitals have to treat deadbeats who choose to not have insurance. Those of us who pay for our own insurance pay premiums about 50% higher to offset the real costs left behind by the deadbeats. One of the major points of the mandate was to make the deadbeats pay for their care, which I believe is a far more market-based ideal than making me and you pay for the care they consume but do not pay for.

          1. Veldy

            I’m guessing all those deadbeats will be lining up over the next couple days to get that taken care of

            1. Job Creator

              Veldy, I doubt it. Deadbeats are deadbeats. The thing that surprised me the most about this is that the individual responsibility portion of this monstrosity was once supported by Republicans. What happened to their support of the idea?

  16. Anonymous

    William low paid states vote republican, higher paid states vote Democrat and better educated with higher paying jobs .Some people think.Doubt very much that republicans get a huge majority.

    1. William

      “Obamacare” directly impacts every man, woman and child in America; its unpopular because people have (rightly) concluded that it will negatively impact them personally, and this negative impact will only increase with as the law is implemented and with that its unpopularity. If people’s insurance premiums are exploding, as their quality of care decreases, all the Democrat spin in the world won’t make “Obamacare” popular, and the mandate’s metamorphosis into a new, massive regressive tax won’t help it’s popularity one bit.

      Hopefully President Romney and a GOP Congress repeal it after the election so we never find out whose prediction is right.

    2. William

      The economic track record of socialized medicine is very clear. Sooner or later, it implodes.

      But, didn’t you listen to the President’s siren song yesterday? It sounded so good. Tj

  17. Pierreite

    Healthcare doesn’t operate as a “usual” market. So why would we think the market rules apply? Name 1 market-based healthcare system in the world that actually works.
    The scare tactics by some Reps is shamefull. Shouting “socialized medicine”, “death panels”, etc. is obviously going to turn many uninformed against the ACA. But truth and education shall prevail. Opinion polls, those wonderful gauges, are showing that as people learn about ACA, they’re accepting, even embracing it. With the SCOTUS decision (and after the initial Rep hype and threats subside), support will grow.
    Most ins companies said they’d keep implementing most of Obamacare if the mandate was ruled unconstitutional. Don’t they represent a big part of the healthcare market? I guess some Reps don’t want to listen to that part of the market. As they and other stakeholders implement, consumer understanding and acceptance will grow. So there goes the public opinion arguement.
    Don’t forget-Medicare and Medicaid are socialized medicine. Who will give up their Medicare and support the Rep rehetoric about socialized medicine? Come on, be good Republicans and denounce your benefits. If you choose to not return to work to access employer-facilitated ins (cuz you’re 65 and feel you deserve to relax), go to that market you feel is so just and see what you find. And then tell all of us how you’ll change this. But it can’t be long or complicated, and it can’t cost a lot (especially when you can only project for the next 10 years. We don’t want those pesky preventive benefits or quality of life and care considered). And you’ll need the buy-in of millions of stakeholders (you can’t just do something without every stakeholder group fully understanding the plan after all). Etc, etc.
    Geez. Reps better get campaigning. Forget the actual policy work or the idea that bi-partisan collaboration is best, you’ve got an election to win at all costs.

    1. Katzy

      You as a Dem are advising us to be bipartisan??? You, one of the Dem party, who was so completely PARTISAN in passage of Obamacare! And don’t blame the Reps; we weren’t even invited, it was done behind closed doors with lies, bribery, etc. But I guess you still believe in Obama’s transparency that he so touted in 2007. Actually, he is transparent; we now see completely thru him!

      1. Pierreite

        You can’t cry foul when the party in power exercises that power. And isn’t the Rep mantra now “take back the Presidency and Congress at election so we can undo Obamacare”. What is difference between you see Dems as doing post-election and what Reps want to do 1/13?
        I blame Reps because they haven’t done anything since Medicare/Medicaid in 1965. Plenty of time BEFORE

      2. Pierreite

        …BEFORE Obama showed up. Reps had their chance and blew it.
        I can see the issues from both philosophies and so can accept the premise that bi-partisan is best. If you think Dem philosophy has no merit, you are missing a big pool of ideas. If you think Rep philosophy has no merit, again, missing good ideas. Healthcare in the US developed as a market-based system. It’s now getting a “social” adjustment. Other healthcare systems (like the UK) developed as social systems to which market adjustments are being applied. That’s not my idea-its a premise of (bi-partisan) health service administration. Its the nature of the beast. Yes-I am a Dem-who appreciates many aspects of Rep philosophy.

  18. Pierreite

    Tomatoe-tomatoe, potatoe-potatoe. Move on. (Ooops-can’t use “move on”. It’ll bring out the ire against Obama). 1 phrase can ignite the I’m-more-Republican-than-you-are-so-you’re-wrong contingency. And we know where fighting about being Republican-enough will go…

  19. FMJ

    Party line bickering, aside the Health Care Tax fails to address fundamental issues. It does nothing about the need for tort reform which drives up costs as providers cover themselves by performing tests more designed to prevent lawsuits than to help patients. Second, the forces of supply and demand lose their self regulating power when a third party such as insurance is introduced. Costs will rise when the person receiving a service (patients) are not the ones paying the bill (insurance).

    1. Pierreite

      Unfortunately, tort reform on healthcare doesn?t work- http://thinkprogress.org/justice/2012/06/26/505562/study-texas-tort-reform-did-not-reduce-health-care-costs. And in the BIG scope of healthcare, defensive medicine and malpractice claims account for a miniscule %. And yes, moral hazard makes healthcare difficult. So does providers? income being impacted by how many tests they order. Unless you?re advocating for a 1-payer system, only education of the consumers and additional regulation of ins companies and healthcare providers will really impact the moral hazard issue. The ACA and most states aren?t doing anything on tort reform cuz they?ve looked at the cost/benefit analysis. Fortunately, thanks to work done BEFORE AND SINCE Obamacare, there are many studies underway that analyze how best to provide needed evidence-based care in a cost-effective manner. We?ll never be perfect but we?re getting better

  20. mc

    While I am disappointed with the SCOTUS ruling, I respect Chief Justice Roberts opinions. I read the entire ruling, as well as the dissenting opinion several times.

    This one quote stuck out more than anything else.

    Members of this Court are vested with the authority to interpret the law; we possess neither the expertise nor the prerogative to make policy judgments. Those decisions are entrusted to our Nation’s elected leaders, who can be thrown out of office if the people disagree with them. It is not our job to protect the people fro the consequences of their political choices. -Chief Justice Roberts

    We did this to ourselves.
    We elected the congress.
    We elected the president.
    They crafted a law, behind closed closed doors. Passed it before anyone had a chance to read it completely; we have ourselves to blame.

    Now it is up to us to clean our mess, and what a mess it is to clean up.

    The best way to do this is to elect conservatives who are less concerned about the next election cycle and more concerned about doing what is right, and getting it done.

    The parts of the law that were struck down, will have lasting repercussions.

    The Chief Justice understands it is not the role of the SCOTUS to overturn unpopular legislation or even legislate from the bench. I believe this is a huge win for the people of the United States. I hope this idea will work it down through the lower courts. The Chief Justice recognized this law as being more a political battle, and less of a legal one. He basically returned the power back to where it belongs. He also reminded us of our duty as citizens

    1. Katzy

      Yes, we did it to ourselves, sorta. Ideally we should be able to hold politicians accountable for their promises when running for election or when passing bills. And ideally no bill should be passed without being READ FIRST! So partly we did it to ourselves. I think more so the politicians did it TO us. The cost was never honestly stated, and the president et al knew it. The whole bill was nothing more than a framework to be filled in with, at the present time about 13000 pages of, new regs that weren’t even in the bill to start with, and they aren’t done yet. Legislators were bribed to pass it. In my way of thinking, we did NOT do THIS to ourselves. POliticians should be held accountable for what they do to us!

    1. Les

      Ah yes, go health care. Gold is down and paper is up. Ive always said Charmin will be the new currency and the mess will be of comparable stature.

  21. Stace Nelson

    “It is amazing that people who think we cannot afford to pay for doctors, hospitals, and medication somehow think that we can afford to pay for doctors, hospitals, medication and a government bureaucracy to administer it.” Thomas Sowell

    Curious, how is the Department of Energy working our for us?