Thursday, June 28, 2012


The Supreme Court ruling this morning on the Affordable Care Act (ACA) upheld the law, including the mandate compelling all Americans to buy insurance. What I've seen on their reasoning so far seems to me very odd. For three years the Democrats, from the president on down, have been assuring us that the penalty one must pay if one does not purchase insurance is not a tax. They have been adamant about this because Mr. Obama repeatedly promised in his campaign that he would not raise taxes on families making under $250,000 and if the penalty is a tax, rather than a fine, it would violate this promise.

Here are a few instances of the Democrats' insistence that they weren't trying to impose a tax:
Now, as I understand it, the rationale used by the majority of the Court in upholding the mandate is that the penalty is indeed a tax and that since Congress has the constitutional authority to levy taxes, the mandate passes constitutional muster.

In other words, the Court is saying that the president and his surrogates lied to the American people to get us to accept the ACA, but since lying is not unconstitutional, the ACA stands. (There is, of course, the remote possibility that all the Democrats and their vast army of lawyers and advisors were simply mistaken and that they really didn't realize it was a tax when in fact it was. One could believe this, I suppose, just as one could believe that Santa Claus visits every house in the world on Christmas Eve.)

This is the victory the left is celebrating. If all the people in that video were telling the truth and the mandate was indeed not a tax, it should have been struck down, but since it is not what they represented it to the American people to be it's constitutional.

Either they were telling the truth on the video, in which case the majority of the Court has committed a grievous error, or the majority was correct to rule as they did because the Democrats, including the president, were lying about the nature of the mandate. Thus, either the Court made a terrible mistake or our president and his people are egregiously dishonest.

So far from going around high-fiving because they won the case, the Democrats right now should be either saddened at the Court's misjudgment or deeply ashamed of their own behavior, or both.

How Overturning ACA Could Help Obama

Most commentators are assuming that if the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) is struck down by the Supreme Court today it'd be a severe blow to President Obama, but there's one possible outcome of voiding the law that would actually make him look good, at least to those not paying close attention.

Becky McCaughey explains how striking down the law could redound to the president's benefit in an article at Investor's Business Daily. She writes that an Obamacare defeat would probably produce a hiring boom for which the president would doubtless take credit even though it would have resulted from the ignominious defeat of his signature legislation. Here's the heart of her argument:
If the justices rule that mandatory health insurance is unconstitutional, they will also strike down a big chunk of the health law — all of Title 1 — including the burdensome "Employer Responsibility" provision that has struck fear in the hearts of employers and deterred hiring.

Beginning in 2014, the "Employer Responsibility" provision would require employers with 50 or more workers to provide health coverage or pay a penalty. Not just any coverage, but a package of expensive benefits that the president deems "essential."

In most states, that requirement would add $1.79 per hour to the cost of a full-time employee. That would amount to the biggest hike in labor costs in American history. Employers in New York and New Jersey, where health plans are the most expensive, would be hit even harder.

There, according to economist James Sherk of the Heritage Foundation, the employer requirement would add more than $2 an hour to the cost of employing someone.

Many employers who already provide health plans will be hit with higher labor costs in 2014 unless the Supreme Court strikes down Title 1 or all of ObamaCare. The law takes away employers' option to provide low-cost mini-med plans, which are common in retail, fast food and other industries employing large numbers of low-wage workers. Mini-meds cap what the insurer has to pay out in benefits over a year or a lifetime. Employers opt for them on the philosophy that providing low-cost coverage is better than none at all.

But ObamaCare outlaws this option. Andrew Puzder, CEO of a chain of Carl's Jr. and Hardee restaurants, testified before Congress that switching to the one-size-fits-all government-mandated health coverage would more than double his company's health insurance costs.

Employers can refuse to provide the mandated coverage in 2014, but those who do will be hit with a $2,000 per employee yearly penalty (applied to all but the first 20 employees). Spread over a year, the penalty would add 95 cents an hour to the cost of a full-time worker.

No wonder businesses are reluctant to add employees. According to a March 2012 survey by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, 73% of small businesses said the Obama health care law made it more difficult for them to add new hires.
So if SCOTUS strikes down the law today, employers will breath a sigh of relief and start hiring again. The economy will be given a jolt, the numbers will start looking good, and Mr. Obama could go into November boasting how his policies are taking hold and how we're moving in the right direction and all that. Given the indifference of much of the American electorate and the partisanship of our mainstream media he just might get away with it.