Thursday, June 28, 2012

"Supreme Court saves Obamacare. . . .until November"

From Tim Stanley in the Daily Telegraph:

President Obama has just earned himself a cigarette. After a nail biting morning waiting for a decision by the Supreme Court on Obamacare, the Court announced at 10am that the administration’s radical overhaul of the healthcare system is constitutional. Crucially, it had to redefine it to save it. The Court has redefined the controversial “individual mandate” as a tax rather than an "order to buy." The Court decided that it was unconstitutional to compel an American to purchase a private service, but it is within Congress’s powers to impose a tax. Thus, the Court has saved Obama’s bacon with a dash of legal voodoo. . . . .

. . . . And there’s every chance it will still be defeated. For the other big winner of today is Mitt Romney.

If Obamacare had been struck down completely by the Court, Romney would have no big issue with which to galvanise conservatives in November. But hatred for the mandate is so hot on the Right (and among a number of independents) that he now has an issue to really hit Obama with. Moreover, by redefining it as a tax the Court has basically sent a warning to many Americans that their tax bill is about to go up. While voters who stand to benefit from Obamacare will doubtless stick with the President in November, others will possibly resent the new costs. Times are tough. Many people can’t afford this.

Encouraging. But. . .it isn't up to Romney. If there's any repealing to be done, it's up to Congress. That's where the political spade-work needs to happen. Not, of course, in my district. Thanks to edicts from the Sacramento Home for the Criminally Insane, only the top two vote-getters in the primary will be on our ballot. That means I will have my choice of two Democrats. (Elsewhere, there are districts in which Democrats will be overjoyed to find they have a choice of two Republicans.)

On the other hand, if the president can overturn legislation by executive order, maybe Mr Romney can do it all himself. Just executive order everyone not to enforce Obamacare. It's happening elsewhere without effective opposition.

(Constitution? What is this "constitution" of which you speak?)