Health Care

The Supreme Court's Latest Obamacare Case Is a Massive Troll of Chief Justice Roberts

Democratic warnings that Amy Coney Barrett would threaten Obamacare were predictably overblown.


Throughout the Supreme Court nomination hearings for Justice Amy Coney Barrett, Democrats repeatedly warned that Barrett would be a threat to the Affordable Care Act, and thus to the health insurance of millions of Americans. The Trump administration was backing a lawsuit attempting to overturn the law, and arguments were scheduled for right after the presidential election. Confirming Barrett, the argument went, would result in a Supreme Court more likely to overturn the health care law. 

"Health care coverage for millions of Americans is at stake with this nomination," said Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D–Ca.), the ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Committee. That argument was central to the Democrats' argument against Barrett. "My colleagues and I will focus on that subject." Others were even more blunt. Senate Republicans were "rushing" to confirm Barrett "in time to ensure they can strip away the protections in the Affordable Care Act," warned then-Sen. Kamala Harris, now the vice-president elect. "If they succeed," Harris said, "it will result in millions of people losing access to health care at the worst possible time in the middle of a pandemic." As of this morning, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D–Mass.) was still issuing similar warnings. 

There was reason to see such claims as politically motivated fearmongering during Barrett's confirmation. As Reason's Jacob Sullum wrote at the time, Democratic warnings that Barrett would doom Obamacare were implausible and confused. There is even more reason to see it that way now. 

Barrett was eventually confirmed. She now sits on the Supreme Court, which today heard the administration-backed challenge to the health law. And based on those arguments, it looks very much like the Court will uphold the law in essentially its current form, regardless of how Barrett votes. 

This morning, the High Court heard arguments in California v. Texas. At the heart of the case is a challenge to the law's individual mandate to purchase health insurance, which serves as a platform for a challenge to the entire statute. That challenge is based not only in the history of Supreme Court challenges to the law, but in modifications to the statute. 

When the law passed in 2010, it contained a mandate to purchase health insurance or face a tax penalty. At the time, Congress including signing statements to the effect that the mandate was essential to the proper functioning of its regulatory scheme, which includes provisions guaranteeing that anyone can purchase health insurance regardless of medical history and limiting how much insurers can charged based on health status. 

That provision was immediately challenged in court. In 2012, a Supreme Court opinion written by Chief Justice John Roberts declared that although it was unconstitutional as a command to obtain health insurance, the provision could remain on the books legally as a tax on those who fail to obtain coverage. Roberts had employed a saving construction, finding an alternative way to uphold the mandate. 

A key feature of a tax, of course, is that it raises revenue. Yet in 2017, the GOP-controlled Congress passed the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act which, among other things, zeroed out the tax penalty for the mandate, even while leaving the command in the statute. That command was toothless, formally inoperative; it imposed no penalty on anyone—and it also raised no revenue. 

This created an opening for a group of red state attorneys general, led by Texas, to challenge the mandate on the grounds that a command that does not raise revenue cannot be understood as a tax, as in Roberts' saving construction. The result was an unconstitutional command. 

The Texas-led suit also took the argument a step further, making a case that the signing statements that were part of the original law meant that if the mandate fell, then the main insurance regulations should fall too—and so too should the rest of the law. In legal terms, the argument was that the mandate could not be "severed" from the rest of the law; without the mandate on the books, it would all have to go. Eventually, the Trump administration took the unusual step of backing this challenge, leaving a group of blue state attorneys general and the Democratically controlled House of Representatives to defend it. 

There have always been two significant problems with this argument. The first is the issue of standing: It is difficult to plausibly argue that a zeroed-out mandate penalty harms anyone, and standing requires a showing of harm.  

An even bigger problem with this argument has always been the issue of severability. It is true that the 2010 Congress that passed the original law stated a belief that the mandate was essential to its function. But it is also clear that the 2017 Congress zeroed out the mandate penalty, rendering the mandate non-functional while leaving the rest of the law intact. The policy finding of the 2010 Congress should not bind the 2017 Congress.

At oral arguments today, the Supreme Court delved deep into both issues, and seemed inclined to leave the law more or less intact. Several justices asked the petitioners about the question of standing, and the response was that even a toothless command was still a command, and thus might induce at least one person to sign up for Medicaid under the law, thus causing financial injury to the states. This is a stretch, since in this scenario the harm does not arise from the main provision in question, the mandate, but from a separate part of the law. 

The severability argument, however, is even more of a stretch, as both Chief Justice Roberts and Justice Brett Kavanaugh seemed inclined to think. Kavanaugh suggested that he found it difficult to see how the zeroed-out mandate remained constitutional "under the taxing clause for the simple reason that it doesn't raise revenue." But he also said he agreed that "this is a straightforward case for severability under our precedents, meaning that we would excise the mandate and leave the rest of the act in place." Similarly, Roberts indicated his skepticism about the argument that striking the mandate should require striking the rest of the law, saying he found it "hard" to argue "that Congress intended the entire act to fall if the mandate were struck down." 

Presuming that all three Democratic appointees vote to uphold the bulk of the law, the most likely outcome here is not too difficult to see: Even if the Court were to grant standing to the challengers, it seems as if it is on track to strike the mandate while leaving the rest of the law in place. From a practical perspective, the law would remain unchanged.

Oral arguments do not always reveal the outcome of a case, and the justices can always change their minds while considering a ruling. But this was always the most likely result, since the red state case for striking down the entire law, or even just the insurance provisions, has always been weak, as even many of Obamacare's fiercest critics have recognized. 

Among those critics is Michael Cannon, the health policy director at the libertarian Cato Institute. He writes today that this particular case against the law is largely meritless. It is built on half-baked legal logic engineered in hopes of producing a tactical victory, rather than on sound legal reasoning. Cannon has tirelessly opposed Obamacare from its inception, and he helped conceive one of the previous legal challenges to it. He wants to see Obamacare taken off the books—but not like this.  

The flaws of this particular case do not make Obamacare good law or good policy, nor do they reflect on the quality of previous Supreme Court challenges to the law, both of which were much stronger on the merits.

Indeed, this case only exists because of the tortured reasoning Roberts employed to save the mandate in the first place. And Roberts seemed more annoyed than anything during this morning's arguments. Which is fitting, in a way, since as Cannon says, it was designed to troll him for his previous ruling. 

Whatever the eventual ruling turns out to be, one result is already clear: The chief justice has been thoroughly trolled.

NEXT: Would a Less-Nativist Republican Have Won in 2020?

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  1. Now that it looks like Biden will be inaugurated, I’m not sure that if the Court struck down the ACA entirely, that it wouldn’t play to the advantage of Biden’s promised “public option”.

    And, yes, on Biden’s transition website, he is promising to bring about a Medicare like “public option” to deal with people who have lingering effects of COVID-19.

    I shudder to think about the consent decree Biden will negotiate with the social media companies, too, in the endgame of their antitrust cases.

    1. A consent decree with Twitter and Facebook, as Trump launches a competing platform.

      That should be epic.

      1. Expect it to go like the tobacco settlement. They’ll pair it with liability protection, too, which was what eventually forced every single tobacco company (dozens of them) to sign onto the consent decree–even though the government originally just targeted the biggest companies.

        The Democrats will repeal Section 230, and then the Justice Department and the FTC will offer Google and Facebook liability protection in the consent decree–so long as they do censor hate speech and “conspiracy theories” (among other things). With Section 230 gone, any other social media company that wants liability protection will be forced to sign onto the consent decree.

        That’s the way it works.

        If Trump had been reelected, there would have been a different consent decree, but we’re supposed to pretend that doesn’t matter anymore.

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      2. Trump won’t have time to worry about a competing platform. He has a date with destiny in at New York state court for tax fraud.

        1. proof missing

    2. “[The Biden-Harris team] will work to lower health care costs and expand access to quality, affordable health care through a Medicare-like public option.”

      —-The Biden-Harris plan to beat COVID-19

      1. VA care for all!

        1. If you like your VA care, you can keep your VA care.

          And they’re using COVID to rationalize it. If the War on Terror were still playing to big audiences, they might have tried to rationalize the public option with something about terrorism.

          1. If you don’t like your VA care, get your fuckin’ shine box because you’re getting VA care.

        2. You were on a list somewhere…

      2. President-elect Biden believes that the federal government must act swiftly and aggressively

        Some of us never had any doubts about that and tried to warn people.

      3. Oops, I missed this item previously. It is pretty sweet!

        Establish a COVID-19 Racial and Ethnic Disparities Task Force, as proposed by Vice President-elect Harris, to provide recommendations and oversight on disparities in the public health and economic response. At the end of this health crisis, it will transition to a permanent Infectious Disease Racial Disparities Task Force.

        1. LOL! I just realized: Disparities Task Force = DTF.

          Get out the lube, sweetcheeks! When they say ‘Racial’ they don’t mean tiny Chinese dicks.

        2. One of the biggest disparities is the higher illness and death rate for males. So can we look forward to Biden-Harris action in support of male health?

    3. Ken, biden is desperate to act like he won. The media is covering up the state of “COUNT EVERY VOTE” that Democrats asked for.

      The conservative SCoTUS justices cant buy off the democrats by kissing their ass.

      Obamacare is unconstitutional.

      Federal politicians needs to think long and hard about they want democrats burning down cities or Civil war because millions of mail-in ballots constituted election fraud.

      1. Even if Trump is being railroaded, that doesn’t mean the railroading won’t be successful.

        It’s a terrible thing, but that might be the way it is–terrible. Sometimes things are unjust and awful. It doesn’t mean we accept unjust and awful things, but unjust and awful things happen. This is probably one of those occasions. We soldier on.

        Tho’ the cause of evil prosper,
        Yet the truth alone is strong;
        Tho’ her portion be the scaffold,
        And upon the throne be wrong:
        Yet that scaffold sways the future,
        And, behind the dim unknown,
        Standeth God within the shadow,
        Keeping watch above His own.

        —-James Russell Lowell (1845)

        1. Or sometimes an incompetent malignant buffoon loses an election.

          1. Well one of the buffoons was going to lose and one was going to win, so you failed to make a point again.

          2. Like in 2016?

          3. But enough about Biden….

    4. Medicare like “public option”

      They’ve explicitly said it would be Medicaid.

      1. “[The Biden-Harris team] will work to lower health care costs and expand access to quality, affordable health care through a Medicare-like public option.”

        —-The Biden-Harris plan to beat COVID-19

        That’s a direct quote from Biden’s new website. It just went up over the weekend, after he decided he won.

        They may have said that it was more like Medicaid in the past.

        1. The government can save us. All we have to do is allow it to be the supreme being in charge and grow astronomically. Biden also promised not to raise taxes on the middle class. How would the government pay for all of his plans without Congress allocating the money and raising taxes? When Senate Leader McConnell sees this mess he will get a good laugh before pitching it in the garbage. Biden is a Democrat and like all Democrats will say what he thinks you want to hear. He has been in the government for almost 50 years. Take a look at how he handles a pandemic since he does have experience with the swine flu. In other words don’t hold your breath waiting.

    5. Well then the Republicans should have repealed and passed their own plan democratically, you know with legislation! THIS is why they want control of the courts to strike down everything they cannot accomplish democratically.

  2. This is backwards.

    Roberts ruled this a tax, not a penalty. Therefore there is no “mandate” there is only a tax on people who don’t buy insurance. And that tax is currently zero. Next year it might be $2, $200, or a $200 refundable credit.

    This is a non-case. I know that lawyers love semantic arguments, but this is pretty lame stuff.

    1. In the future there could be other taxes for people who don’t do things those in power want. They can’t ban speech, but they can tax it.

      1. I think taxing it involves congress making a law.

        1. I’m just looking toward the future when the tax code is used to get around all those nasty Constitutional restrictions.

          1. What’s odd is that the Federal government doesn’t have the ability to create penalties or taxes that are not equally distributed among the states.

            The Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes on incomes, from whatever source derived, without apportionment among the several States, and without regard to any census or enumeration.

            Individualized taxation does not fall under any of those conditions.

            1. You seem to forget the Constitution has been relegated to a status beneath that of toilet paper…the Feds only drag it out once in a while when it serves their purpose, but overall it’s been a dead document for quite some time now.

          2. You are right on. They will bastardize the tax code just like they have the Commerce Clause.

    2. If only the SCOTUS would do what they are fucking supposed to do and look to see if a national health insurance scheme is a power granted to Congress in Article 1, Section 8 – which it isn’t.
      The entire fucking thing is unconstitutional.

  3. You’re always so sure, Suderman, of everything about the ACA. You were sure it would fail. You were sure courts would find it unconstitutional at some point. And now you’re sure how the Justices will vote. We will see.

    By the way, do let me know when the right has an alternative…we’ve only been waiting 10 years.

    And let’s see in fact how Barret votes. After all, that was what Dems were cautioning everyone about. After she votes we will see if their concern was valid. How all 9 actually vote doesn’t negate their concern beforehand.

    Roberts got it right years ago. He probably will again. Keep crying.

    1. Lefties are so upset now that Trump won AZ and Georgia, and WI, and PA.

      Then the SCoTUs will finally strike down the unconstitutional Obamacare.

    2. I love how “YOU DON’T HAVE AN ALTERNATIVE” is viewed by the left as a valid argument.

      If you had a tumor, and I suggested removing it, would you demand I replace it with something?

      1. If you removed a tumor from Jackand Ace, would there be anything left?

      2. I love how you just overlook repeal and replace propaganda. Just whiny crybabies with no ideas. The party of no and obstruction. The Republicans should have repealed and passed their own plan democratically, you know with legislation! THIS is why they want control of the courts to strike down everything they cannot accomplish democratically.

        1. It’s the LieCheatSteal party that has used the SCOTUS to get what they can’t accomplish democratically, and needs for that to continue.
          The Republicans aren’t going to pass their own plan, because such a plan is not a power granted to the U.S. government by the Constitution.
          If it ain’t listed in Article 1, Section 8 it is up to the states to do.

    3. Roberts got it right years ago.

      Not one other justice agreed with his reasoning.

      1. Got it right by keeping it alive.

        By the way, happens all the time in SC decisions. It’s why not only are there dissenting opinions but also concurring. The concurring isn’t a reiteration of the majority opinion writing, it just upholds the decision but with additional and often different reasoning.

        1. “Got it right by keeping it alive.”


      2. If the Roberts quote he found it “hard” to argue “that Congress intended the entire act to fall if the mandate were struck down.” is accurate, His totally twisted reasoning to accomplish his purposes might be infamous some day.

    4. “…By the way, do let me know when the right has an alternative…we’ve only been waiting 10 years…”

      You slimy piece of lefty shit, the alternative is get the government out of the medical market.
      You’ve been ‘waiting’ since you’re a fucking ignoramus.
      BTW, I’m still waiting to hear how magic words make wildfires go away.

      1. hahahaha they couldn’t even repeal to accomplish that, much less pass any plan of their own. Obamacare IS almost identical to the Republican plan of the 90’s to combat Hilarycare!

    5. Obamacare was nothing but a big fat gift to the insurance industry. Premiums have skyrocketed. End of story.

      That said, the republicans have nothing, with their specious bullshit about a “free market healthcare system” – they are so full of shit. There is ZERO price discovery in the medical system as it stands – nothing remotely “free market” about it.

      As usual, we are getting fucked by both parties, while each blames only the other.

      1. Spot on. The whole reason ACA happened was people were unhappy with the rising cost of insurance! That has stabilized for IDK the last 5 years?

        1. Sure it stablized — after a 300% increase, in my case. As a male, I’m still waiting for the medical community to clarify how I’m supposed to utilize the female reproductive health services that I am now forced to subsidize. What’s a male pap smear look like?

          1. Your prostate cancer exam is the equivalent.

    6. The right shouldn’t be working on an alternative to Obamacare. There big mistake was is saying they would “repeal and replace” it instead of just repealing it. Obamacare is bad law and unconstitutional. Roberts also got it wrong all those years ago because he effectively rewrote the law by claiming the penalty was really a tax.

  4. “health care is a basic human right” – Liz Warren

    Is it, though? To what end? To what level? Should I be allowed to demand whatever type and quality of care that I desire, at no cost to myself, based solely upon my humanity?

    I can’t think of any other basic human rights that allow me to demand the resources and services of other humans. Do they have any agency to refuse my request?

    1. Do they have any agency to refuse my request?
      No. Doctors won’t even be allowed to quit.

    2. Immortality, or my rights were violated.

    3. Democrats are still the party of slavery, the enslaved’s defining characteristics have just changed.

      1. Yeah, they used to be slaves and now they’re millionaires. It’s definitely the Democrats who have been using fuzzy language.

        1. Health care is NOT a “right” – a true right confers no obligation on another to do anything because it exists absent other people 0 in essence, it just IS.

          As a former medical services provider, I should not be under compulsion to do anything for anyone without remuneration. Besides trolling this site, I assume you have some sort of paying job, and would react negatively were someone to tell you that you had to perform that job whether you wanted to or not, completely untied to any remuneration…because someone had a “right” to your labor output.

          And to be clear, I gave away literally six figures (over $200K) of services in the 9 years I was in practice to people of poor means – while those who carp about this have generally donated NOTHING of their time or money to the very cause they claim to espouse. I did it not because it was a right, but because I cared about them as human beings – but in the end, it cost me.

          1. All rights require some form of action on the part of other people, and every time you participate in the infrastructure of your civilization, you are relying on the work of other people.

            1. LOL. Let’s pretend rights are something they’re not. That should help us get something for nothing.

              1. Oh, so I take it you don’t think there should be any police.

                1. Police protection is something local communities decide to pay for or not pay for. I don’t see how “rights” are involved.

            2. Only positive rights require action on the part of others. Negative rights do not.

              Positive rights are evil.

    4. Your right to a trial by jury requires other people to serve on the jury.

      I don’t know that jury trial is a basic human right, but it is a right you have in our country right now that uses the threat of state violence to get other people to provide you with a service.

      1. The right to a trial by jury is a protection from government force.

        A right to health care is a claim on the labor of others.

        By the way, jurors are plucked from voter registration roles. Don’t want to be on a jury? Don’t register to vote.

        1. Or get a driver’s license or state ID, which is the other place where jurors are plucked.

          1. I don’t know about where you live, but here you can’t serve on a jury if you’re not a registered to vote.

            1. I don’t know or care where you live, but one of the most populous states (CA) will call you if you have any public ID, like, oh, paying taxes.
              So please, STFU.

              1. I’ll let you know when I give a fuck about anything you say.

            2. I’m in NC, I don’t vote because it is a fool’s errand, and they still call me for jury duty, which costs me a day or more of pay because I am self-employed.

              1. Interesting. I thought they used voter records to exclude felons.

        2. Did you invalidate my argument with anything you just said?

          The right to a trial by jury is also a claim on the labor of others. They have to sit there and listen to the trial instead of whatever else they wanted to do that day. They’ll be paid substantially below minimum wage for this if they are paid at all.

          You also have a right to vote (presuming you fit the criteria), so if you choose to exercise that right the state gets free access to your labor? I’d argue that if you do something and it results in the state enslaving you, you didn’t have a right to do that thing. That’s kinda what rights are, the ability to do things WITHOUT facing state violence.

          I’m not arguing against the jury system, it is far better than any alternatives, merely pointing out that we already have rights in this country that require others to work on your behalf at the behest of the state.

          1. My point is that they are by no means equivalent, being that one is a protection from government. Which is kinda weird if you think about it. People are threatened with government violence to protect people from government violence….

          2. It is extended from an actual constitutional requriement:

            In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defence.[1]

            Having health care or providing healthcare is not.

          3. Serving on a jury is a civic duty. Kind of like being drafted or even paying taxes. Being a doctor is not a civic duty. It is a profession.

          4. Don’t conflate legal right with natural right.

        3. Too bad you cheered for the guy moving more and more healthcare into the purview of the federal government.

          1. Too bad you can’t find a single example of me supporting Biden.

      2. I think that is more of a civil right than a basic human right. But, it’s a good point, still.

    5. Nope. Start treating all medical workers as the slavish property they are, I plan to.

      1. I don’t know Rev. If you a start treating the medical workers in your mental home like slavish property, they might take your TV privileges away!

    6. I can’t think of any other basic human rights that allow me to demand the resources and services of other humans.

      Basic education is considered this and you are currently allowed to demand the resources of others to receive it. You are also granted the right to a defense attorney who is paid by demanding the resources of other humans.

    7. And the ACLU has hopped on to the “If Obamacare is stricken, they will have violated the rights of all Americans because health care is a human right” train.

      Fuck the ACLU. They defend to the death rights made up out of thin air, but not enumerated rights listed in the BoR.

      Fuck them.

    8. I feel ill when I don’t get to shoot my firearms at any time I want, consistent with my concept of safety, then clean them and store them in the safe in my basement. I consider it health care. Thanks Sen. Warren, for defending my health.

    9. She decided not to go into medicine. She ignored everyone’s “basic human rights” every day by not becoming a physician.

    10. Don’t forget education, food, housing, transportation, and–coming soon–government-mandated sexual services (which will be as appetizing as government cheese).

    11. So you don’t want to demand the police or fire department show up? How about education? Streets? Street maintenance?

      1. Those things aren’t rights. They services provided by a city or county and paid for with taxes. The courts have already ruled that the police aren’t required to protect you individually.

  5. I’m just thinking of all the things that could be taxed for, if we open up non behaviors and non participation to taxation. The not wearing a mask tax. Not being woke tax. Not living in a blue county tax. Not having dark skin tax. Not getting a vaccine tax. So much new stuff to tax.

  6. Roberts’s opinion was a steaming load of garbled nonsense, finding that the penalty was NOT a tax for purposes of IRC 7421 (referred to as the Tax Anti-Injunction Act) but WAS a tax for purposes of its constitutionality.

  7. And let’s be honest, Roberts deserved to be trolled for that NFIB decision.

  8. Oh good reason is defending the ACA again. Let’s just drop the pretense and say that goods are rights and freely distribute them in perpetuity.

    Want more of this, wait until the snot nosed Ossoff gets elected and the senate can vote on all kinds of crazy new “rights”. Think the Georgia democrats aren’t planned to spike the January runoff?

    1. Honestly, did you read the article? There’s no interpretation of this article that could allow someone to conclude that reason is defending ACA.

      1. He did not, almost surely.

        Or pulled a Kelso, reading only those words which he wanted to read, and rearranging them to say what he wants to have been written.

    2. I’m not seeing any defense of the law. Just an analysis of the legal questions. Am I missing something? Or is the complaint simply that they don’t condemn it often enough or severely enough for your taste?

      1. “Or is the complaint simply that they don’t condemn it often enough or severely enough for your taste?”

        Just as Reason supports property destruction because they haven’t condemned every single protestor as a rioter.

        1. Hi strawman.

          1. John has said exactly that on multiple occasions, idjit.

        2. Reason: There were no riots, just mostly peaceful protests that intensified.

    3. No, they do not read the articles before posting the same troll on every single one

    4. hahaha the only “spiking” was REpublicans. They spiked it enough to get Trump close, but not to victory, and to win down ballot!

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  10. If I am given a choice between execution by firing squad (D) or execution by lethal injection (R), I’m not just going to happily pick one because one option seems slightly less terrible than the other.

    I’m going to do everything I can to find a better option and find a way out, as opposed to happily choosing my own execution, even if the probability of that happening is exceedingly low.

    1. Wrong article

  11. A strict reading of the Constitution would invalidate the ACA. But we haven’t had a strict reading of the Constitution in two centuries. And that’s not what this case is about, regardless.

    At best you’ll get some plaster troweling at the edges, and the Democrats will cry anarchy, and the Republicans will act like they overturned it, but not substantial will change.

    1. A strict reading of Robert first ruling invalidated the aca that’s why he changed it and made up new terms the second time around

  12. As I have long said, I can not think of anything that would advance Medicare for All (M4A) faster than for the Congress to repeal or SCOTUS to overturn the ACA. I think that most Republicans know this including those on the Court. The only real threat to the ACA is those who support M4A.

    1. So if we should hand over our wealth so they won’t take it? About the level of ‘intelligence’ expected of you.

  13. “The chief justice has been thoroughly trolled.”

    That’s about all the right-wing malcontents have left. And disaffected losers love making life miserable for their betters.

  14. Is it “healthcare is a right”, or “medical bills are human rights violation?”

    1. Worse: deciding not to go to medical school at all is dedicating your life to human rights abuses.

      1. Deciding to go to medical school at all IS dedicating your life to human rights abuses.

        Fixed it.

  15. “Government is the great fiction through which everybody endeavors to live at the expense of everybody else.”


  16. This case exists because Republicans didn’t want to actually repeal the ACA and take the heat for ending preexisting coverage. They wanted the Supreme Court to do their dirty work, and the Supreme Court looks likely to decline the offer.

    That doesn’t change anything about ACB’s intentions with the rest of the project of modern civilization. She’s a kook. And we’ll see if she’s a Republican stooge as well, depending on how she votes here.

    The upshot of all of this is that the New Deal consensus added “protection from discrimination for preexisting conditions” to the social fabric. In the course of their never-ending quest to end that consensus and instate some sort of oligarchic dystopia, Republicans always run into the wall of public sentiment. Which I suppose is why they are so hellbent on cheating their way to power.

    Four of the sitting justices were appointed by a president who lost the popular vote. ACB was shoved in days before her nominator lost the election, having not won the popular vote the first time.

    This entire situation is about Republicans wanting policy control without democratic legitimacy or accountability for their actions. That’s a fact, even if you like it. If you are happy about that fact, stop lecturing other people about having government shoved up their butts against their will. That’s the only play Republicans have.

    1. That’s right! Republicans are…. Satan!

      1. They’re both Satan and the church lady, in fact.

        1. Tony buddy, that is a mirror you are looking in.

          1. When I fuck a male hooker and do lots of cocaine, I don’t wake up the next morning and pretend to be a godly man.

            1. You show up here and pretend to be sentient.

            2. That was unnecessary

              1. Sorry, I never meant to slander Ted Haggard. It was meth.

    2. Shoving the government up unwilling butts sounds horrible.

      Glad I’m a libertarian.

    3. “She’s a kook.”
      It seems that you are one also

    4. “Four of the sitting justices were appointed by a president who lost the popular vote.”

      Shitstain is stupid enough to imagine this is somehow more relevant than the color of his eyes.

    5. Republicans generally did want to repeal it. It was that selfish angry a—hole McCain who killed any attempt at reform.

  17. It’s medical insurance, not heath care . Telling people what they can but to protect themselves and mandating me , an single guy, to to have coverage for OBGN and such is bull crap and illegal.

    1. Yeah, nobody is trying to take away anyone’s health care. They’re trying to stop government from paying for it. I’ve given up on that semantic peeve though. People on the left cannot comprehend the difference so there’s no point.

      1. People on the left cannot comprehend the difference so there’s no point.

        Dude, you just shattered my worldview. I should just hang up my keyboard and call it.

      2. Nobody on the left is happy about using private insurance companies as middlemen. That was the Republican-invented market approach to universal healthcare that suddenly became Stalinism because Obama did it.

        1. Profits are the price we pay for efficiency. That is why everything government touches turns to shit. No motive to do a good job. You have people on your team who will literally kill people who are forced to pay for things they neither want nor need.

          Get government out of the way. It’s how retards tell the experts what to do.

          1. I don’t want my experts all working for private commercial interests, sorry.

    2. It’s not even insurance, it’s a massive government handout to drug companies and doctors.

      1. Bingo.

        Regardless how we pay, its amazing how the HC debate rarely touches the total inability to price compare medical services, massive barriers to entry for medical providers and drug monopolies.

        1. This. Also if we are going to keep Medicare (Republicans need the over 65 vote so no way will they get rid of it) why can’t Medicare negotiate with drug companies like the rest of the world can? Disallowing that is a major boost to them. Let the drug companies spread the cost of their research across the globe, not concentrate it in the US.

  18. Whatever happens, a ruling that such a command is clearly unconstitutional is a win for freedom.

      — “Whatever the eventual ruling turns out to be, one result is already clear:”…..
      All current discussion isn’t ABOUT the Constitutionality of it at all as it would need a delegated power to the federal government and everyone knows it doesn’t and NEVER did.

  19. You can’t recover from a shitty decision like Roberts made in the first case. The arguments against this case just show how stupid that decision was.

    It reminds me of Bakke. Diversity was a pretext as it wasn’t even argued in the case. But like that case the judge really wanted to find a way and the result is being stuck with stupid.

  20. The real problem is that this “tax” or whatever it is was a key ingredient to pay the cost of this health legislation.

    1. The real problem is ….. was a liberal Supreme Court who cherry-picked a single word out of the entire context of the Constitution and made up their own context for it.

      Oh look, the programmer used the word “buggy” – that must read we all get a free pony and buggy right?? Oh look the word “arm” must mean you all get to keep your fingers too.

      They’ve been playing this ‘crook’ game since Woodrow Wilson and FDR (which game put us into the Great Depression).

    2. People that can’t afford healthcare insurance are on Medicaid. If people that can afford insurance are forced to buy it it may benefit the insurance companies but not the cost to subsidize those that earn to much for Medicaid. If they are forced to buy into the ACA they cost the government not pay for it. The people that benefited the most from the ACA were older workers 65 and over that wanted to retire but had a younger spouse on their insurance. They could retire, claim Social Security as their income and have the government pay to cover their spouse under the ACA even if they had a million dollar 401k as long as they didn’t take enough out to disqualify them. Before retirement they simply build a bank account to supplement them until the spouse is 65.

      1. Yep the system is a mess. There is a reason most developed countries have government healthcare systems.

        1. And before the mess; The USA was by far the most developed of them all… Oh wait; in some aspects it still is… Take your hate of the USA and move it right on out-a here.

    3. Republicans couldn’t balance a checkbook on a flat table. Story at 11.

  21. I wasn’t sure I could loathe anyone more than I do Hillary Clinton but Elizabeth Warren is definitely a contender.

    1. Care to explain why, or are you going to leave it at “she reminds me of a shrill math teacher I hated”?

      1. “Care to explain why,..”

        We can start by pointing out that she’s fauxcahantus.

      2. She’s a serial liar and thoroughly incompetent.

        1. Perhaps, but it was a choice between her and the most incompetent serial liar in the history of the cosmos.

          1. I agree. And between the two, we chose Biden.

      3. The right hates that warren was was once a conservative, studied the issues in tremendous depth and has now come the the left POV.


  23. Right now, there is no mandate to get coverage. As such, the law (which was always terrible) now is just a major cost on employers. The self employed can ignore it and purchase insurance when they get sick (at the proper enrollment period.) In other words, less coverage for more money on steroids. The Democrats get exactly what they wanted and what Obamacare was always designed to do. Screw things up so bad they will be able to force single payer on us and force us to be dependent on them for our health.

    PS – With no mandate, there is no unconstitutional provision, just the remaining bad law.

  24. Anyone but a yellow dog partisan knew that the Barrett warnings were the usual Democrats’ scare message. We’ve heard it for several decades.

  25. Oh, I hope they’ll leave the rest of the ACA in place: it’s better than any of the crap Biden might want to replace it with.

    And I also hope that this crap keeps Landon on Roberts’ doorstep again and again, reminding him and the world of his failures and incompetence.

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  27. No, they do not read the articles before posting the same troll on every single one. john has also said that we will rethink about it

  28. The justices were hearing a scheduled 80 minutes of arguments by teleconference in an appeal by a coalition of Democratic-governed states including California and New York and the Democratic-led House of Representatives to preserve Obamacare.

  29. Yes the mandate is gone but the essential services clause remains. You can choose to buy no health insurance or only the bloated everything whether you need it or not plan mandated by Obamacare. The lobbyists for the insurance industry are still paying dividends to the large health insurers and their stocks are skyrocketing again.

  30. In exchange for lying under oath to legitimize the pseudoscience used to justify prohibition laws, physicians, pharmacists and their lobbyists have, since 1914, legally gained cartel privileges and a license to fix prices making medical services unaffordable for most individuals. Bummercare only causes telemarketers to pester, harry, importune, perturb, harrass, badger, and deprive us of sleep, turning the phone into an instrument of torture. Repealing socialized medicine and all drug laws, recommended since 1972, would reverse the errors.

  31. “Democratic warnings that Amy Coney Barrett would threaten Obamacare were predictably overblown.”

    No, they were not overblown. Only an idiot would say that. She was chosen by a president who hates Obama and who hates Obamacare. She was chosen by a president who would like nothing more than for Obamacare to be repealed. It is perfectly reasonable to assume that whoever he puts in is going to vote to repeal Obamacare as soon as they can.

  32. My standing: the additional debt spending caused by this patently illegal legislation will cause me economic damage, which any halfway decent economist can demonstrate.

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