[I]f you were more concerned about the qualitative expansion in the power of the government that the bill represented, it was definitely a win.We have gotten into a bit of editorial trouble on Facebook this morning by reposting what turned out to be one of those overwrought but probably closer to the mark than the original bill's hidden intent has tried to hide, so we will just have to watch for the fall out over the next several months, but chances are Obama and his buddies in Congress are too busy running for re-election to spend too much time on an old toxic bill like this one, but will quietly work behind the scenes implementing all the necessary changes to the health care industry it deems choice and tasty while leaving the iffy parts of the bill to gather dust and excuses. Fundraising and speechifying, yep, he'll be there. And let this health bill interfere with his golf outings? God forbid. We have an absentee president, although I am sure I'm not the first one to notice this.
First, the Roberts Court put real limits on what the government can and cannot do. For starters, it restricted the limits of the Commerce Clause, which does not give the government the power to create activity for the purpose of regulating it. This is a huge victory for those of us who believe that the Constitution is a document which offers a limited grant of power.
Second, the Roberts Court also threw out a portion of the Medicaid expansion. States have the option of withdrawing from the program without risk of losing their funds. This is another major victory for conservatives who cherish our system of dual sovereignty. This was also a big policy win for conservatives; the Medicaid expansion was a major way the Democrats hid the true cost of the bill, by shifting costs to the states, but they no longer can do this.
Politically, Obama will probably get a short-term boost from this, as the media will not be able to read between the lines and will declare him the winner. But the victory will be short-lived. The Democrats were at pains not to call this a tax because it is inherently regressive: the wealthy overwhelmingly have health insurance so have no fear of the mandate. But now that it is legally a tax, Republicans can and will declare that Obama has slapped the single biggest tax on the middle class in history, after promising not to do that.
Conservatives have a shot at getting the best of both worlds: having the Supreme Court use Obamacare as a way to limit federal power while also using the democratic process to overturn the law. I didn't think we could have one without the other, but now maybe we can.
If Obama loses in November, that is...
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