On a Ruling

Last week, the U.S. Supreme Court surprised many people with their ruling regarding the Affordable Care Act (more commonly called Obamacare). As liberal Democrats responded predictably with glee, conservative Republicans also predictably responded with anger, doom, and gloom. Amidst all the rhetorical responses dominated by taglines, campaign slogans, and misinformation, I (on the other hand) have taken the time to ponder the situation.

In my opinion, Justice Robert would have voted no, but as the leader of the court, Chief Justice Roberts chose to his path based his long-term view of the court. Meanwhile, here is my opinion of what Chief Justice Roberts did.

He constricted the Commerce Clause

He kept the high court in its own jurisdiction, and out of the political arena

He passed the issue back to the people and their elections, especially this November

He assured governors the ability to opt out their state

I see more than a handful of governors will opt out, which means 1) fewer people will go into the Federal system โ€“ thus screwing up the numbers and the design so the program costs the Federal government more than projected; 2) elected officials will continue to politicize the issue, which includes using misinformation to gain political advantage

Meanwhile, the issue will divide the public more than ever, and the public will become more confused and angered than it already is. Because the public will want solutions and officials will continue to fail to deliver solutions, more people will become disillusion with government and participate less in elections โ€“ and when a political party gains total control, they will force something onto the public that the public doesnโ€™t want. In the immortal words of pop music artists Sonny and Cher, and the beat goes on.

34 thoughts on “On a Ruling

  1. An important subject and well worth analyzing. I congratulate you for that.
    My own take is a tad more simplistic, the self-serving politicians, stupid bureaucrats and judiciary have ballsed it up again, as they always do, as they always will. Welcome to my world!


  2. It’s going to be one long and ugly next few months. I for one am thrilled to see the London Olympics coming in July so we as American’s have something possibly to be proud of … our u.s. athletes. Certainly our not proud of our election process any longer. Needs a major overhaul.


  3. I haven’t heard much about this but as of July 1 we’re now paying a carbon tax that is going to cause much heartache to families already struggling to make ends meet. We can’t wait for our next election to throw out this current Government that has been financially irresponsible and our most unpopular in history. But our Prime Minister did have a lovely time swanning around with Obama when he was here, both of them lapping up the glory, power and adoration. It was nauseating to watch xx


  4. As you are, I am looking at the issue with a pragmatic eye. I think Chief Justice Roberts had a more personal reason for his decision to not go with his personal views;(1) he didn’t want his court to go down as the most aggressively ‘political’ court since the inception of the United States; (2) he wanted to leave the election open.

    I do agree the decision creates more questions than answers.


    • Valentine,
      I’m right with you. Some refer to this as the executive, legislative, and judicial branches each has their own swim lanes — and he was trying to keep the court in its swim lane. Thanks for commenting.


  5. I’ve been eagerly digesting news, opinions, and analysis on the issue, and I must say yours lines right up with the more sane takes on the matter. The reactions to the ruling amuse me, as everyone loves to cry out for change, but when change comes everyone cries out for its reversal or hails it as doom. And so, as you say, the beat goes on.


  6. I agree with your four points but not all of your outcomes. Thanks though for thinking about the issue and stating your opinions. I especially liked your analogy to the “swim lanes.”
    Given the 4/4 ideological split on this activist Supreme Court, I’m among those who think Chief Justice Roberts did the right thing to uphold the law and turn its fate over to the electorate. I’m guessing the majority of the American public agree with his opinion and are grateful that he had the courage to make such an historic decision.


    • Tim,
      Many thanks. The November election will determine the next move. Interestingly, I have seen sources that are saying that since the the opinion declared it a tax, that actually make it easier to repeal by the Senate. However, I haven’t confirmed that yet. Thanks for commenting.


  7. Coming from a country where health care is part of the tax system I don’t understand the big debate about this in the State. For me any country should make it so that it takes care of its own people, anything else is a shame. (And by the way sorry for having been absent lately, I just haven’t had time to comment the last couple of weeks),


    • Otto,
      I imagine many who live in a country with a national healthcare insurance system are very confused by what is going on here. Given that we also have States Rights makes the issue more complex. Nonetheless, exclude the partisans from both sides, I truly believe that the majority supports it and expects elected leaders to make it better. However, politics has turned it into a volatile political football to kick around. Meanwhile, I know your busy, thus appreciate your visits when you can. Thanks for stopping by.


  8. hopefully your pondering will come to pass~ I’m paying high for this unconstitutional law~i socialist in all its small print, and I know too many illegals that are suffering more now than 8 yrs ago… God will let us sink to our knees before we can rrise. I don’t know your beliefs but, I do see the fig leaves shooting forth & HE will return.


    • Deborah,
      Personally, history likes to repeat itself, thus our country will sink itself … the question is when and how. On another matter though, I’m sorry, but I have to correct you on one important point … Now that the high court has ruled, the law is Constitutional. That doesn’t mean it can’t be repealed or amended, but for now, it stands – although most of it has not gone into affect. Meanwhile, thanks for sharing your thoughts.


  9. Excellent observations as always, Frank.
    One thing in the analyses that caught my eye is that the federal govt can’t withold Medicare from the states, it can choose to not increase it from current levels to states that opt out of ACA,

    It will be fascinating to see how this plays out in our country, and also to see if anyone actually argues the details as opposed to the “death panel” rhetoric and screaming that is so in vogue these days.


    • Guapo,
      Amazingly, I recently heard a death panel comment from someone in the public. Meanwhile, November will determine what happens next. Oh boy … and how long will the public tolerate this discussion. Thank for sharing your thoughts.


  10. Sometimes I think my head is going to explode! I’m trying to take all this in…what just happened? Just about the time I think I’m fully understanding, someone makes another good point and my position shifts. I’m not accustomed to being this clueless…but I need to get a grip soon! ๐Ÿ™‚ Debra


  11. Frank> Another insightful post.

    I think you’re right about Roberts and the path he took on this decision. Arguments for the law’s constitutionality were made both under the commerce clause and Congress’ powers to tax. He sided with the tax side of things. He also made one interesting distinction. He said, people do have a choice. They can choose to buy insurance or pay the tax (penalty).

    I think too much is made about the Court as an entity designed to throw out legislation. Too many feel that is what they are there for. But honestly they are there, along with other reasons, to verify the constitutionality of legislation, to verify the powers of Congress and the President. Does that make sense?

    There will be, and have been already, a number of governors who are opting out of the Medicaid expansion, Bobby Jindal one of the more prominent. Louisiana also just passed a budget cutting ~$900K from public libraries too. Does that speak to the state’s priorities?

    I’d say these governors will be subject to the public’s will when it comes time for their re-election. Gov Rick Scott in Florida is going to be in for a tough time around this particular issue. He’s basing his decision to opt out on some very misinformed ideas and Politifact has been having a field day with his comments. People in those โ€œopt-outโ€ states will begin to see the benefits other states are receiving and may well rethink their anti-obamacare stances.

    I’d say perception of the reform is going to depend on the Democrats’ willingness to stand up to the misinformation and spell out what is in the bill, in simple easily repeatable terms. That may dispel some of that pervasive disillusionment many have in the government. If that happens and people finally learn about all the benefits the law offers then they will opt for the current administration come November instead of putting a new President in office who will eliminate all that has been gained.

    That’s my take ๐Ÿ™‚


    • Mashed,
      Thanks for your thoughtful insights.

      I’m right with you regarding the high court and legislation. There is difference between constitutional vs unconstitutional, good vs bad, and agree vs disagree as the latter two are not for the court to decide. I too wonder about those in an opt-out state that want to participate, but can’t. Also, it seems to me that it would be to the Dems advantage to spell out details as part of their argument. As we know, broad statements don’t get it.

      Thanks for taking the time to share your thoughts!


  12. Once again, Frank, you’ve challenged me to dig a little deeper, rather than jumping to a conclusion. Thanks.
    Of course, I don’t…*YET*… agree with any of your points, except that this issue will divide the people more than ever.
    Thanks for always coming along with a third perspective ๐Ÿ™‚

    Left… Frank… Right ๐Ÿ˜‰


    • Dink,
      Your comments caused me to laugh and smile. After all, people can respectfully disagree to disagree without conflict. Although I know you don’t disagree with “all” my points, continually processing information is important, and I’m glad that you have found this little corner of the world as a place for stimulating your thinking. Hope all is well and thanks for stopping by.


  13. You made good points here, Frank, as did many of your commenters. The real trick is education and information. Correct information. There has been too little of that and too much mis-information and down-right lies.

    Another factor on Roberts’ reasoning is that he knew Obama was going to run (rightly in my book) in part against the Supreme Court. Now he can’t.


    • Elyse,
      No kidding that the public needs to be educated about this. For instance, I was shocked when hearing someone talk about “death panels” again. I wanted to yell, “Stop listening, get out of the hole and learn.” Thanks for commenting.


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