ObamaCare Decision: Chief Justice Roberts "Saved" Obamacare, Healthcare Mandate Survives as Tax, Medicaid Funding Can't Be Withheld for Non-Compliance



According to the SCOTUS Blog's live blogging: "Chief Justice Roberts' vote saved the ACA."

The court ruled the individual mandate cannot be implemented under the Commerce Clause, but it can survive as a tax.

From the opinion: "Our precedent demonstrates that Congress had the power to impose the exaction in Section 5000A under the taxing power, and that Section 5000A need not be read to do more than impose a tax. This is sufficient to sustain it."

Ilya Somin at Volokh.com says that was "the least likely basis for a win by the federal government" 

The Supreme Court did, however, reject ObamaCare's Medicaid plans.

Barack Obama previously argued the individual mandate was not a tax.

Ezra Klein thinks there's still a lot of challenges ahead for ObamaCare.

Reason's Nick Gillespie will be talking about the decision on the Peter Schiff radio show shortly.

Read the whole ruling. [pdf]

NEXT: Gillespie on Schiff Radio in a Few Moments

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. Is John Roberts, now the greatest Chief Justice in history?

    He refused to play partisan politics and simply enforced the Will of the People.

    1. Nope. He’s still a tool who believes the Court basically exists to fellate Congress. Fuck John Roberts.

    2. You mean the majority that either wanted the mandate struck down or the entire thing?

      Overwhelming numbers don’t support the healthcare bill.

      1. Those push polls merely reveal the false consciousness forced on people from the 24/7 GOP Propaganda Machine.

      2. “Overwhelming numbers don’t support the healthcare bill.”

        They like everything about it except the mandate and the sum of its parts.

        1. They like everything about it except the act itself.


    3. He certainly wasn’t last week when he was screwing the SEIU. It is almost like you only care about getting your way or something.

    4. those wingnuts who thought that SCOTUS would weaken the employeer mandate by striking the indiv mandate must also think [RADIO ENTERTAINMENT] is a substitute for sound judgement.


      1. The individual mandate is unconstitutional under the Commerce Clause, Orrin. You do know how to read, right?

  2. I cannot stop puking…

    1. Make room for the broccoli Pelosi’s shock troops will force down your throat!

      I am trying to be hyperbolic and funny like you guys. How am I doing?

      1. pass that yummy brocolli scalia

      2. The brocolli goes down easier than Obama’s cock I imagine. But you’d know.

        1. I warned you, if the gov’t can draft us, tax our compensation for labor, force us to get a SSN, force us to testify against ourselves (Form 1040), they can do anything. And will. Just wait, 03, until a right wing nut gets into the White House with this much power.

    2. Groovus, pretty sure that is bad for your health. So stop, because now that’s our business.

  3. New AltText-


    1. I was thinking CUNT!
      but either work

      1. Cunt it is.

  4. Seriously?

    Can we seriously believe the Constitution means anything any longer?

    1. The Constitution just upheld the Will of the People against special interests. Exactly as it is supposed to do. John Roberts literally saved lives today.

      1. Hahahaha! The will of the people? The individual mandate is super unpopular (hated by 66% in the CNN poll). Special interests? This bill was basically written by the insurance industry.

      2. You mean like Pharmaceutical companies?

        My Merck shares should do very nicely on this.

      3. You are a totally clueless or a simple liar. Which is it?

      4. Don’t feed the troll. This one is particularly retarded.

      5. it was written to be a check on the will of the people and protect the minority and the individual.Your a fool.

      6. Um, Have you actually reat the PPACA?

        It would be more proper to say that John Roberts just upheld the will of the special interests over the will of the people (who overwhelmingly opposed the plan).

        The fact is even from a progressive standpoint the PPACA as written is a fucking horrible plan, worse than anything that could have ever been dreamed up in the darkest corners of Paul Ryans mind because it does far more to guarantee the continued profits of big medical, insurance, and drug comapnies than provide increased access to care to people and for all the additional expense still doesn’t manage to come anywhere near universal coverage.

  5. REPOST: If you think the decision is bad, think about the amount of Liberal Smug you are going to have to endure over the next few weeks.

    1. God I hope TONY is dead.

    2. I fear it’s going to be more than a few weeks.

      1. Like 4 and a half months.

        1. Four and a half years, Obama will probably be re-elected… did you notice who the republicans picked to run against him?

          1. I think Romney can pull it off. Especially with the economy headed to hell.

          2. For the rest of your tax-paying lives.

    3. I have no reason to gloat – you are hurting yourselves just fine.

      I am mostly happy I don’t get to hear you fuckers gloat. I was never big on the mandate, but you know, this shitty system has been around for decades.

      1. Right, so we have to do something, even if it makes everything worse. Plus there are only the two options, so you have to support obamacare. Great reasoning there, retard.

        1. “Right, so we have to do something, even if it makes everything worse.”

          I wouldn’t really support the PPACA if I had your perfect prognostication powers. If only I was as smart and all-knowing as all you libertarians.

          “Plus there are only the two options, so you have to support obamacare.”

          Right now, there is. It’s a political reality.

          1. If only you were as smart and all-knowing as my dead dog, you might be tolerable.

            Right now, there is. It’s a political reality.

            I say it is, therefore it is. Are you one of the Nazgul?

            1. Apparently, a “shithead”.

      2. dummy…the daily kos website is spelled with a ‘k’.

    4. they are not liberals,their progressives,They believe in the rule of them over you,and sometimes the many over the few.I’m a classical liberal

  6. The Constitution is officially dead. I hope you don’t like your employer-based health insurance, because you’re you’re going to lose it.

    1. Untrue, the President has said that if you like your health care plan, you can keep it.

      1. is benji a BOT?

        1. oh, nevermind…i get what benji is doing now.

          1. Took me a few minutes as well. Nice work, benji. I apologize for my responses above.

      2. No employer is going to keep health plans when it is cheaper to dump everyone and pay the penalty.

        1. Why didn’t they dump health plans when there was no (government) penalty at all?

          1. OCare gives them an excuse, an easy way out, by providing an alternative that didn’t exist before: the exchanges.

            It won’t happen right away, because no one will want to be first. But, unless the law is amended so that it costs more to pay the penalty than to provide insurance, it will happen.

            1. Wait, people couldn’t get health insurance except through their employers before the exchanges?

              1. They could but the cost was subsidized if they got it through their employer.

                When you buy your health care through your employer the money used to pay for the health care is pretax, when you buy it on the private market it is post tax, that difference makes employer provided health care ~18% cheaper than comparable privately acquired insurance

                1. And then there are the other problems with employer health insurance. Like the fact that there is no incentive for consumers to seek the lowest price available, which ratchets prices up.

            2. I thought Caterpillar had already decided to dump their employees into the pool.

          2. because everyone would have quit.

            Now however they’ll get the employees to beg them for it.

            Rates will raise rapidly and the company will stop picking up more of the slack, then after a couple of years of this they’ll offer the employees a deal, everyone gets a 5% payraise and the company drops the insurance so they can go get on the exchange.

            Now the company goes from paying $10,000 + per year for each workers health care down to ~$3000 in extra salary and taxes on that salary plus $2000 for the penalty. Net savings for the company is $5000 per employee per year and the employees thing they are getting the better end of the deal cause they got the “raise”

            1. Hell, if I could’ve gotten my employer to give me as a raise even half of what my insurance was costing them and then bought my own insurance on the market I’d have been all over it.

              1. Don’t listen to Rasilio and his predictable consequences. All that matters are the good intentions of our brilliant elected officials.

          3. The subsidy in the exchanges is higher than the tax subsidy of the employer. So now the employer can say to their employees, go get insurance out there and we’ll raise your cash pay, and the company is still better off.

      3. Just like there won’t be any new taxes on the middle class.

        1. And there aren’t, you just have to get a viable health insurance plan.

          1. Or pay a tax.

  7. It’s the end of the world, it is!

  8. So much for the “right wing Supreme Court” meme.

  9. Eff you John Roberts, the scrotus, Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, Block Yomomma, and every cosmotarian douchebag at Reason (or anywhere else) who voted for this guy for president.

    1. Calm down, all you have to do is send the government a couple bucks and go right back to leeching off the rest of us for your health care.

      1. Go kill yourself.

      2. That is what it is all about isn’t it? The whole thing was nothing but a tax on those who are too poor to buy insurance. Obama, taxer of the uninsured. That doesn’t sound very hopey changey does it?

        1. The poor will receive subsidies, the rest don’t have to pay any new taxes as long as they have an authorized health insurance plan.

          1. So it is about taxing the lower middle class. And those subsidies won’t cover the cost of insurance. This entire thing is about getting young people and poor people to pay more for their health care. There is no way around that. That is what Obama has done, raised taxes on the middle and lower class to pay off the insurance companies and poverty pimps.

            It is your legacy, deal with it.

            1. So now people will have adequate medical care and fewer will die, and you’re worried that people won’t be able to leech off those of us who do pay?

              1. Those people were getting adaquate medical care. They just were not paying for it and sticking medicaid and the hospitals with the cost. They will still get the same care they got before. They will just be forced to pay for some of it because they are now buying insurance.

                That is the end result of the entire thing, taxing the young and the lower middle class to pay the insurance companies.

                1. Well, that’s why we should prefer a non 100% GOP plan and enact a NHS type system.

                  1. I would prefer an NHS type system over this boondoggle.

                    I’d prefer a free market based solution even better but there is NOTHING good about Obamacare.

              2. fewer will die


              3. There is absolutely no evidence for either of these claims.

                For the first to be true there would have to be a significant number of currenly unutilized health care assets capable of providing that “new health care” but given that there are already shortages in some areas of health care in some places it is unlikely that this is the case, nor does this law do anything to entice new health care providers to enter the market so it is unlikely that net access to health care will change, what will change is the mix of who gets to use what is available.

                For the second to be true you would have to show that lack of access to health care is causing the average life expectancy to decline significantly. Something that just is not in evidence.

    2. You seem to be taking it well.

      1. Who the fuck are you?

  10. I guess there is no check on congress’s power.If they tax you you’ll have to do as they say,buy what they say and live as they say.Limited government is at a end .In the words of many here,’fuck you ,that’s why’Thre commerce clause is still expansive and taxing power is unlimited

  11. Thanks Dubya. You did *something* right.

  12. The “tiebreaker” picture should be of Kagan instead. Preferably in her SG attire.

    1. Just because she worked for one side and helped craft their legal arguments shouldn’t disqualify her from hearing the case. I mean come on.

      1. I think that being a Solicitor General should automatically disqualify you from ever being on the Supreme Court.

        1. No. Just from participating in the cases and legal issues you actually worked on you dope.

          1. Davey is saying that any big government fascist who’s crazy enough to represent the government should not be deciding what its limits are. I agree.

  13. The day the music died……….

  14. We are all Marsellus Wallace now. In November we get medieval.

    1. I know I’m pretty fuckin’ far from okay.

  15. How incredible is this? We’ve officially reached a point where the constitution imposes no limits at all on the federal government as long as they call whatever they’re doing a tax, even if during the entire process of passing it they insist it’s not a tax at all. And for those who would insist the D’s did this, the R’s have been as vigilant at ignoring, stretching and distorting the constitution when it suits their purposes as the D’s and the voters have loved the heck out of that.

    We are now officially no longer a republic, we’re just another Europe or U.S.S.R.

    1. In 1976, the USSR looked like it was going to be around. 20 years later it was a unmissed memory.

      The U.S. nation-state is going down the same path.

      I argue that the ruling doesn’t really change things other than hastening the demise by a few months.

    2. I was thinking that a republic’s only job was to protect the rights of its citizens, in which case the republic died a long time ago.

  16. I’m not nearly as upset as I probably should be, probably because ‘limited government’ has been dead for a long time now. Let’s not pretend that there were actually some meaningful restraints on gov’t power before today.

    1. This is how I feel. We’ve been trudging the slow march towards the EU. We’re Europe, gentlemen, get over it.

      1. And this is exactly how the scum want all of us to feel. Worn out, beaten down, helpless, and ready to submit to anything.

  17. They’re calling this ruling “unexpectedly comples”? Hardly unexpectedly complex.

    And again, just because the naked woman is lying in bed with you, doesn’t mean you’ve scored.

  18. Dear God I hope if nothing else republican voters learn how fucking stupid “judicial restraint” is as a philosophy. It is essentially a synonym for “whatever the federal govt wants to do it should be free to.” I genuinely think that this is Roberts bootlicking philosophy. The man is teh evulz.

    1. You never know what the political fallout of stuff like this is. The liberals were convinced that passing this thing was going to give them a majority for life. Then less than a year later they suffered their biggest defeat since the civil war.

      There is one effect of this that no one is talking about. Obama still owns the entire health care system and has to answer for it and all of its flaws. Liberals got what they wanted and now they will still own all of the problems that go with it.

      1. I’m really hoping that there is massive political fallout from all of this. That Republican voters wake the fuck up and realize that neither party serves their interests. Etc etc etc. Probably not gonna happen. But one can dream.

  19. Just for Aresen via facebook:

    Just saved the opinion. I can’t wait to remember this day and all the hard work of my boss and our peers in DC for the rest of my life.

  20. After a quick scan of the opinions, here’s how it came down:

    The four conservatives voted to overturn the entire law as a violation of the Commerce Clause, and rejected the tax argument.

    The four liberals voted to uphold he whole law as a valid exercise of the Commerce Clause.

    Roberts agreed that the law violated the Commerce Clause, and wrote the opinion that it was valid as an exercise of the taxing authority.

    So, a majority agreed that it violated the Commerce Clause, but Roberts saved the law by going out of his way to say it was a tax.

    1. Yup, Roberts owns this decision.

    2. RC, surely, though, you agree that it would have been constitutional as a tax anyway? FICA is constitutional, after all.

      1. Sure. But SCOTUS doesn’t typically uphold laws on the basis that a different law would have been Constitutional.

        Which is what they did here.

        1. Not “typically”, but not unheard of, either. And Verilli did argue it was a tax, and it was going to be enforced by the IRS.

          I dunno, I’m not that upset with the decision, really.

          1. Good. TOA. YOU GO TREAT PEOPLE NOW!

            1. There is being upset with legal reasoning and being upset with political choices.

              Congress can now choose not to enforce the tax. The States can choose to not implement ACA/Medicaid expansion (because the Federal Government cannot penalize the states for failing to do so). President Romney can tell the IRS “don’t collect the tax/de-prioritize enforcement”.

              This isn’t over by a long shot.

              1. Isn’t there a bit of a difference here? Even under the taxation power, this still seems to be compulsory. I don’t see how this ruling gets around the whole broccoli argument thing. Which is what Roberts seemed to be so worried about at oral argument.

          2. In their other decision today, Iunderstand they said that the Stolen Valor Act was unconstitutional as written, but a different statute would have been Constitutional.

            Offhand, I can’t recall a single case where they upheld a law on the basis that it could be Constitutional, if it was a different law. Examples?

            1. RC, the IRS was going to enforce this. If looks like a tax, walks like a tax, and talks like a tax, SCOTUS can say it’s a tax, especially because the SG used “it’s a tax” as a back-up argument.

              1. Not a tax. A”[s]hared responsibility payment”

              2. Then SCOTUS is saying that Obama and Co. lied when they insisted that it was not a tax.

        2. Not a different law, the same law with the same effect but slightly different wording.

          1. That’s a different law.

      2. Actually I disagree with Roberts on this front as well.

        Had they applied a new general tax and then offered a credit in the amount of it for buying the insurance the net effect would have been the same but it would have been constitutional. However I don’t see how anyone can get around considering the “tax” as written anything but a direct tax.

        1. Agreed. And it doesn’t seem to be apportioned among the several states. Oh, well. I’m sure that SCOTUS would argue that, somehow, it’s allowed by the 16th Amendment. Doesn’t matter that it’s not a tax on income. Because it’s collected by the IRS and stuff. That seems to be what passes for legal reasoning these days.

  21. So I’m now free to drop expensive health insurance, pay a much smaller “tax,” and then show up for healthcare subsidized by all you?
    WhooHooo – free rider!

  22. The good news is that half of my company’s business comes from helping the feds bomb the shift out of brown people around the world. So I’ll be able to work until I’m 80 if I need to.

  23. Would you all relax? There is little doubt that Congress had the power to do this as a tax anyway.

    And I’ll repost SCOTUSblog’s interpretation of why this is at least partially a *good* thing:

    The rejection of the Commerce Clause and Nec. and Proper Clause should be understood as a major blow to Congress’s authority to pass social welfare laws. Using the tax code — especially in the current political environment — to promote social welfare is going to be a very chancy proposition.

    The Commerce Clause got walked back majorly today, guys.

    1. Yeah, I think Roberts tried to find a way to avoid turning it into a straight up right/left vote while making sure the commerce clause was shown to have some limits.

      1. The Commerce Clause has limits, but there is a massive loophole you could drive an aircraft carrier through. Just call fines “taxes” and everything is kosher.

        1. Agreed. I don’t know how any friend of liberty can consider this ruling a good thing. Maybe better than a commerce clause ruling. But still not a good thing.

          1. Using the tax code to promote social welfare is going to be a very chancy proposition? The administration doesn’t even have to do this. They can just pass laws and have the Court read the taxation power into them.

    2. And liberals have to admit it is a tax on the uninsured now. See Benji above whining and obfuscating on the point. As I said on the other thread. They lied and didn’t call it a tax because they knew the country would have revolted over the idea of taxing the uninsured.

      So going forward, how does Obama defend this to the country? He can sell it as “I gave liberals their pony”, but that won’t get anyone to vote for him who wasn’t anyway.

    3. Not really, Randian. The Court confirmed that Congress can accomplish anything it wants just by having the IRS collect the fines.

      This decision is a roadmap for Congress to get around the purported “limits” on the Commerce Clause. Those limits are purely decorative.

      1. Yeah, that’s a good point. The commerce clause is no longer the go-to excuse for social engineering. You just tax people into submission.

      2. If you consider taxing someone for a particular activity to be the same as forcing someone to do it, then they always were. Isn’t a tariff just a tax on those who refuse to buy American goods?

        1. If you consider taxing someone for a particular activity to be the same as forcing someone to do it, then they always were. Isn’t a tariff just a tax on those who refuse to buy American goods?

          yes, exactly. There never were limits on what Congress can do with the tax code, and I think most people knew it. The limit is *political*, rather than *legal*

        2. No, the difference is that the Commerce clause is vaguer and therefore they could just put you in jail. With the taxing power, they first have to give you the chance to pay a tax before going to jail.

      3. This decision is a roadmap for Congress to get around the purported “limits” on the Commerce Clause. Those limits are purely decorative.

        That was already the case. The problem is that no politico wanted to do it because then they would (rightfully) be accused of raising taxes. Any time the Congress wants to social engineer, it now must raise taxes, and own that position.

      4. Think of it this way RC. The government can’t mandate that you buy an American car. But they have always been able to pass tariffs on foreign cars so high that buying anything but an American car is impossible.

        1. Interesting point…

        2. +another one for John.

          That doesn’t mean that John or I think that raising tariffs that high is a really good idea, but it’s always been *legal*.

      5. It does provide a road map, but it requires that politicians now have to call a tax a tax, and defend it as such. They can’t just command it- personally, I think it makes them more answerable to the voters because now they have to defend their tax.

        In light of this, I still think Obamacare is doomed. It gives the GOP a new weapon- fight the Obamacare tax! Tax is a dirty word in an election year.

        1. Actually the don’t have to call it a tax. The Court will do that for them.

          1. That’s going to be a one-time deal, I think.

            1. But why, when you’ve seen that you can avoid calling it a tax but still get it implemented?

              1. Yeah, honestly, what seems kind of more scary to me is that now the politically difficult part is taken away. I mean, I would like to think it was a one-time deal, but why? Doesn’t this teach Congress, you don’t have to do the politically difficult thing, we will be your fixers?

                1. Agreed. Congress has a free pass to do the politically expedient, unconstitutional thing and still have the law upheld.

  24. The best part of this ruling? Now we can blame Bush for Obamacare too!

    1. Well it was an entirely 100% Republican free market plan.

      1. No there is nothing free market about it.

        Do you really not know what the term free market means?

  25. President Obama: Raised Your Taxes to Pay Off the Insurance Companies.

    1. And lied about it.

  26. Roberts upheld it because taxing is an enumerated right of Congress.

    But he also included this:

    “It is not our job to protect the people from the consequences oftheir political choices.”

    1. Roberts upheld it because taxing is an enumerated right of Congress.

      Which would have been fine, if this was a tax rather than a mandate enforced by a penalty.

      Apparently, as long as the IRS collects the penalty, its not a penalty, its a tax.

      1. If you have a qualifying solar panel roof, you get a tax credit.

        If you have a qualifying health care plan, you get a tax credit.

        Is there a difference I am missing?

        1. Yeah. There is.

          Its not written that way.

        2. Yes, that’s not the law they actually fucking passed.

          1. Yes, it actually *is* the law they passed.

            1. You speak a different version of the English language than I do.

            2. I’ve looked at the law, and there is no tax credit for having a qualified health plan.

              There is a penalty for not having one. Collected by the IRS.

              1. And what is the effective and legal difference?

                1. You can’t get thrown in jail for failing to collect a credit, nor can the government confiscate assets because you didn’t collect it, etc.

                  There are HUGE legal differences between a tax and a tax credit and just because this law claims to have weak enforcement mechanism’s does not mean that will always be the case.

            3. You must buy insurance.

              If you don’t buy insurance, you must pay a penalty.

              The IRS will withold the penalty from your tax refund.

              If you don’t have a tax refund, the IRS is empowered to jackshit.


              If you have a qualifying health care plan, you get a tax credit.

              So go fuck yourself.

              If you want to defend the law, do so. But stop using English sideways to do it.

              1. You must buy insurance.

                If you don’t buy insurance, you must pay a penalty.

                If you don’t have a qualifying health care plan, then you must pay *increased* taxes.

                Sorry, I’m not seeing the distinction you are, though you must be right, given your ALL CAPS ARGUMENTATION.

                1. Good bye

                2. If you don’t have a qualifying health care plan, then you must pay *increased* taxes.

                  FUCK YOU.

                  And by “fuck you” I mean you should pay $5 Trillion in increased taxes.

                  1. What is it about “I wish it had been ruled unconstitutional” is so hard to understand?

              2. You must buy insurance.

                Oh, and TAO, what is to stop fedgov from now MANDATING that physicians accept “insurance” at the point of a gun?

        3. No, it’s the natural endpoint of a string of increasingly stupid choices. I can’t see this ending except in either the collapse of the U.S., or in Congress being stripped of its Commerce Clause and tax powers.

        4. Congress isn’t forcing everyone to buy a qualifying solar panel roof?

      2. You can fool all of the people some of the time, and some of the people all of the time, and that’s sufficient for most purposes.

    2. Oh, snap.

    3. Dear Judge Roberts,
      It may not be your job to protect the people from their political choices but it is your job to protect the people from the consequences of the Congress’s political choices when they violate the US Constitution.Dumbass.

  27. “May you live in interesting times”

    Ladies and Gentlemen, we have seen history in the making.

  28. Wait, how much did Obama and the Democrats raise our taxes again?

    1. Not at all, as long as you have an authorized health insurance plan. And most of you here probably qualify for the subsidies if the actuarial tables are anything to go by.

      1. Shorter benji: It’s not rape if you just accept the penis inside of you.

      2. Not at all, as long as you have an authorized health insurance plan

        Sure and no one pays income tax provided they don’t make any money. Sorry son but that dog is not going to hunt. If it did, Congress would have just passed a tax and avoided this entire challenge.

        1. Sure and no one pays income tax provided they don’t make any money.

          That’s the ultimate goal: income equality at zero.

        2. The GOP forced them into it because of their insane anti-tax cult led by Grover Norquist.

          1. Thanks for your input Tony Nando Mary joe from LOL.

          2. No. the public forced them to do it because the public would have revolted over taxing those too poor to buy insurance.

        3. benji is satire people. Saying, “the actuarial tables” was a dead giveaway.

      3. Where does the subsidies funding come from?

      4. Actually not true, because even if everyone had qualifying insurance Obamacare will cost the Feds at least $150 billion a year in increased spending (and that is based on the wildly optimistic and intentionally inflated numbers put forward to get a positive score from the CBO) which by necessity will result in increased taxes either now or in the future.

  29. This leaves two intertwined options: states must continue legal guerilla warfare and people-namely tea party people-must engage in mass nonviolent resistance to this horror show.

    I can only hope America’s impending date with bankruptcy destiny will scour this shit clean.

    1. That is just it. IF people refuse to pay the tax, the thing is irrelevant. If a Republican President refuses to enforce the tax, the thing is meaningless.

      Roberts is right about that. We own our political culture not the Court. And we ought to be willing to fight for our rights rather than depend on the court to always save us.

      1. We’ve relied on the constitution for too long. It IS just a piece of paper; a firewall program against government rampancy. And like any program, given enough time, it will be hacked and bypassed. The only real preventative is getting a critical portion of the US people on our side.

        You all better learn to love the Tea Party. Because if we can’t work with them we have no future.

        1. I’m sorry but I lost any shred of respect I had for the Tea Party when they backed Santorum over Paul in the Republican Primary.

          1. Roberts’ opinion on this is ludicrous. The Constitution is clearly written with the rights of the minority in mind. Political choices are, by definition, actions of the majority. So, doesn’t the Supreme Court, as defender of the Constitution, and thus protector of the rights of the minority, have a duty to save us from our political culture?

  30. Basically, Roberts says the Supremes are umpires calling balls and strikes.

    So, the fact that 51 percent of us got drunk and elected Mariah Carey to be our pitcher is none of their concern.

    The good thing out of this is that the Right will be energized for the fall election.

  31. Does anyone really think Romney is going to put a stop to this if he is elected?

    1. The question is whether he would veto a Republican Congress’s attempt to roll back parts of the law.

      1. I HIGHLY doubt he would volunteer to be primaried up the ass by the TP.

    2. Uh yeah, because he wants a shot at a second term.

      While I think he personally has no problems with the PPACA and would have supported it had he been the President (hell he probably would have cheerleaded for it and may have even proposed it) he knows that if he wins this time around he’s going to have to at least appear to fight against this law tooth and nail or he’ll be lucky to even win the next Republican Primary.

  32. The Democrats may come to find this is a “tar baby” (no racist) they really didn’t want.

  33. So, in other words, in order to enforce this Act, the Administration has to raise taxes on the young and the poor, because this was designed to get them into the pool, something they can choose not to do simply by paying the tax. Therefore, if you choose to pay the tax, you can still phone in to get insurance on your way to the ER.

    What a mess.

    1. Don’t forget that it also helps lower the cost of health care by taxing devices used in health care!

  34. Regardless of the constitutionality of Obamacare, it is the single biggest clusterfuck I have ever seen. No possible collection of Top Men and Rad Programmers is going to be able to make this system work.

  35. Here’s the problem with Roberts and his approach:

    Politically, Congress could not and did not pass this as a tax. They did pass it as an exercise of the Commerce Clause.

    He converted it from something that Congress could do politically, into something Congress could not do politically.

    And then he says that, hey, if Congress wants to exercise its political authority to impose a tax, that’s good with me. Even though Congress did no such thing.

    1. That is why he is wrong. Roberts is basically saying that it is the court’s job to find reasons to uphold a statute and dream up authorities Congress never intended.

      1. Did you notice that little gem about needing to search for each and every possible interpretation on the presumption that a law is constitutional? I think we should reverse that assumption. Assume all laws unconstitutional unless proven otherwise. (I kid, of course, but seriously…)

    2. This is the part that I find so disappointing in the ruling. If it’s such a small thing according to Roberts then it shouldn’t be hard for congress to clean up it’s own mess and not be given an out by the court.

      He should have said here’s how to make this law constitutional, get back to us when you’ve written it correctly.

      1. This I mildly agree with. Although the Government did argue it was a tax, so the legal reasoning on that subject was there.

    3. Put another way:

      Roberts just let Congress have its cake and eat it to. If Congress had to call this a tax when they voted on it, it would never have passed.

      Since they couldn’t call it a tax when they voted on it, they called it “regulation”, which was just ruled unconstitutional.

      So, Roberts is engaged in using the Supreme Court for the purely political purpose of facilitating that Congress do something that was politically impossible, if done Constitutionally, or Constitutionally impossible, if done politically.

      The only way OCare stands is if Congress and the Court conspire to lie to the public.

      1. Yay for judicial activism!

  36. It also still remains the case that Elena Kagan violated judicial ethics, and she damn well knows it, too. That is something at least I won’t soon forget.

    1. From what I have heard about Kagan when she was Dean at Harvard, sure she knows it and doesn’t care. That women hasn’t a shred of decency or moral fiber. She really is an awful person, unlike say Ginsburg who is a nice person even though she is mistaken.

    2. Yup, she’s an unethical hack.

    3. The damage is done; I admire your detachment, but you have no idea what has just been done, TAO. You really, really, don’t.

      1. I have plenty of idea, GM. I’m not happy about it, and I think that damn thing should have been held illegal because it wasn’t a proper use of the reconciliation process in the first place.

        That being said, this looks, walks, talks and acts like a tax, so it’s a tax.

        1. Randian, what do you make of the dissent’s argument against this on pages 18-19 of the opinion? Very compelling, I think.

          1. They’re generally right, but it’s really a matter of interpretation. Roberts says that it was written that way based on the enforcement piece. The dissenters say you cannot rewrite the legislation to fit constitutionality.

            Both interpretations are reasonable, and I naturally wish that Roberts had gone along with the dissent. But I don’t find Roberts interpretation facially unreasonable either.

            1. Our cases establish a clear line between a tax and a penalty: “‘[A] tax is an enforced contribution to provide for the support of government; a penalty . . . is an exaction imposed by statute as punishment for an unlawful act.'” … we have never held?never?that a penalty imposed for violation of
              the law was so trivial as to be in effect a tax. We have never held that any exaction imposed for violation of the law is an exercise of Congress’ taxing power?even when the statute calls it a tax, much less when (as here) the statute repeatedly calls it a penalty. … So the question is, quite simply, whether the exaction here is imposed for violation of the law. It unquestionably is. The minimum-coverage provision is found in 26 U. S. C. ?5000A, entitled “Requirement to maintain minimum essential coverage.” (Emphasis added.) It commands that every “applicable individual shall . . . ensure that the individual . . . is covered under minimum essential coverage.” Ibid. (emphasis added).

              Obviously, I’m biased, but still. I’m with them.

  37. With this ruling, am I now paying taxes directly to a corporate entity that provide the insurance coverage I have?

  38. Waiting for Obama campaign press release celebrating ACA mandate as an enormous tax.

  39. The early Court ruled that states can’t tax federal institutions because “the power to tax is the power to destroy.” But the government has wide latitude to tax individuals. Somebody square that circle for me.

    Apparently the government can’t stop you from spending on elections or getting an abortion or starting a church – but it CAN rob you blind and make you unable to pay for those things and unable to support yourself or your family. It can’t ban books, but it can impose a gajillion-percent excise tax on them.

    The only limit on taxes is democracy. So we’re trusting our fates to the majority of a quorum composed of people too vain to get real jobs, most of whom were selected for having the strongest accents and the prettiest hair.

  40. I blame Bush.

    Actually, I blame Ronald Bailey.

  41. This is not the time to give up.

    You can impress upon your legislators that you want to see the tax repealed.

    you can impress upon your governor and state representatives that they should not accept the Medicaid expansion and its ‘matching funds’. Governors did this with high-speed rail, and they can do it again here.

    You should impress upon Mitt Romney that he should de-prioritize/refuse to enforce the tax.

    1. If he refuses to enforce the tax, what about the preexisting condition thing? He can’t politically refuse to enforce that.

  42. Next step: single payer.
    Can’t wait.

    1. Sorry son. You can’t have single payer anymore. We are broke. No money for it. Next step is forced austerity to avoid default and national bankruptcy.

      There will never be another single payer system created in yours or your children’s lifetimes. And the ones that exist are all going to drown in a sea of debt and poverty.

      1. Am I going to be the only one laughing when that happens? Look, fuckers, here’s a predictable consequence of your good intentions. Now learn your fucking lesson!

    2. As long as Randian is the single payer, I’m OK with that.

  43. As I’ve said before, if they can enslave (draft) us, tax our compensation for labor, force us to sign up for, or have our parents sign us up for Socialist Security, if they can force us to testify against ourselves (Form 1040), there is nothing they cannot do to us.

  44. No child should have to depend either for his leg or his life upon the ability of his parents to raise enough money to bring a first-class surgeon to his bedside.

    1. Was that an issue prior to FDR totally fucking up the economy and forcing employers to offer health insurance?

    2. Nope, and that is why Nando became a pro-bono surgeon, or started a non-profit to make sure this wouldn’t happen. Send me your non-profit’s literature as I would like to make a contribution to help the indigent healthcare seekers.

    3. While your platitude sounds nice and all it suffers from a couple of flaws.

      First no system can guarantee that that kid wouldn’t lose his life or leg. While a “free market” system might make it so that he looses it because his parents can’t come up with the money every other concievable system will guarantee that some kids will lose their lives or legs because there simply is not a doctor close able to see them in time by creating a shortage of the necessary medical resources (both by increasing demand and eliminating the economic incentives to meet that demand).

      Second even if such a system could be created the PPACA does not even come close to matching it. In fact in aggregate it does not even improve over what we have today, it is in effect the worst of all possible worlds for health care reforms.

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.