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November 20, 2014 / 27 Heshvan, 5775
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Chief Justice Roberts Saves Obamacare


Chief Justice John Roberts

Chief Justice John Roberts joined the Democrat-appointed justices on the Supreme Court to uphold the constitutionality of the Obama Administration’s healthcare program.

The court ruled 5-4 that Congress has the power to impose the healthcare mandate under its power to levy taxes. “This is sufficient to sustain it,” the court ruled.

Read the decision here.

The court also ruled that Congress acted within the boundaries of the constitution in expanding Medicaid under the act, but decided that it would be unconstitutional for the government to withhold Medicaid funds for non-compliance with the expansion provisions, which it threatened to do under the legislation.

“Nothing in our opinion precludes Congress from offering funds under the (Affordable Care Act) to expand the availability of health care, and requiring that states accepting such funds comply with the conditions on their use. What Congress is not free to do is to penalize States that choose not to participate in that new program by taking away their existing Medicaid funding,” Roberts wrote in the majority opinion.

According to SCOTUSblog, Justice Ginsburg made it clear that the vote is 5-4 on sustaining the mandate as a form of tax. Her opinion, for herself and Justices Sotomayor, Breyer and Kagan, joins the key section of Roberts opinion on that point. She would go further and uphold the mandate under the Commerce Clause, which Roberts wouldn’t. Her opinion on Commerce does not control.

Teams from Faith and Action and the National Prolife Center actively prayed in front of the Court the entire time the arguments were being heard. The day before the decision they encircled the Court with prayer, placing 3300 flowers on the sidewalks around the Court as a reminder of the number of innocent babies killed every year in America as a result of abortion on demand.

Congressman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) said that “in upholding the Affordable Care Act, the Supreme Court has shown that, even at a time when Washington seems to have reached a new level of dysfunction, there remains a respect for the rule of law, for precedent, and for the ability of Congress to legislate on matters that affect the American people.”

Nadler was pleased to note that “by not caving in to the most craven political calls, it appears the Court has stood by more than 70 years of legal precedent to ensure that: some 32 million Americans will have access to health insurance; we stop the unnecessary deaths of 42,000 Americans annually who die simply because they lack health insurance; insurers can no longer deny a child health care because of pre-existing conditions; millions of young adults receive coverage on their parents’ plans until age 26; insurers can no longer impose lifetime limits on coverage; millions of Americans receive free preventive care; and, seniors save billions of dollars on prescription drugs.”

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15 Responses to “Chief Justice Roberts Saves Obamacare”

  1. Charlie Hall says:

    This moves the US in a direction towards what Medinat Israel has had for decades. And that is a good thing.

  2. Toviah Moldwin says:

    I'm in Israel now, and overhearing people talk about it, they're overwhelmingly pleased. Well, except for the doctors who made aliyah.

  3. Yori Yanover says:

    You hit the nail on the head. By keeping doctors' salaries relatively low, the cost of medicine in Israel remains reasonable and service is available to a huge majority of the people. America could learn a thing or two.

    In my opinion, the key to better healthcare in America is to lower the cost of medical education.Then doctors won't be in debt over their ears and won't have to make so much money.

  4. Charlie Hall says:

    Yori, I've been a medical school professor for over 14 years now and I've been saying just that for 14 years. The total cost of medical school tuition in the US is a tiny fraction of what is spent on health care. We could easily make medical school tuition-free, and pay off the remaining loans of all other doctors. That would reduce the cost pressure on the entire system. (Full disclosure: I'm married to a primary care physician with lots of medical school debt. As a result we can't even consider making aliyah.)

  5. I'm in Shaare Zedek hospital for ten days now,they have done every test in the book! The Israeli the system is wonderful,and has always been,I have lived here for 33 years!

  6. Yori Yanover says:

    Charlie Hall — So let me ask you: in interviewing doctors in the U.S., almost everyone of them who has his own business, was in favor of the single payer system. They said they have to hire an additional employee just to handle insurance billing.

    Do you also prefer single payer?

  7. Stephen Leavitt says:

    Refuah Shleimah!

  8. Charlie Hall says:

    I can definitely see why private practice physicians would prefer single payer. I've talked to physicians in Canada and they love not having to worry about getting paid, they love having one insurer to send claims to rather than a hundred, and they love not having to argue with non-doctors who try to tell them how to practice. My wife is a primary care physician and she supports single payer. I've also heard the President of a major New York City hospital system publicly endorse single payer.

    Me, I'm not quite so sure. In theory, single payer is more efficient, and it certainly results in reduced costs. And it has done so without poorer objective health outcomes. But with the insane anti-government craziness found in one of the two major political parties in the US, the health care system will certainly become a major target. Already the Republicans are trying to destroy Medicare in order to provide more tax cuts for high income Americans. Getting a substantial part of the private sector — the insurance industry — to be completely dependent on the viability of the public insurance system will help to preserve it in this post-Citizens United world. The LAST thing that the for profit health insurance industry now wants is to lose the individual mandate.

  9. Yori Yanover says:

    I pay around 150 shekel a month for the Maccabi GOLDEN plan with unlimited access to hospital care and physicians. That's roughly $40 a month. If I wanted the bare bones I could go for a lot less. The reason it's so cheap is, a. it's really more efficient than US public healthcare, and b. everybody is insured. When the pool is large enough the costs come down.

    It's not free, but it's damned affordable.

  10. Rc Fowler says:

    You are ignorant–nothing is free, goods and services are not free–people do not work for free!

  11. Rc Fowler says:

    The Supreme Court today affirmed a limitless expansion of oppressive, overbearing government. Obama care was never genuinely about health care–but rather about giving the government the unconstitutional ability to regulate, tax and control every aspect of a persons life and death.

    John Roberts is an evil man–a Marxist globalist!

  12. Charlie Hall says:

    When did I say that anything was free?

  13. Charlie Hall says:

    RC,

    Did you read the actual decision? It certainly put limits on the federal government in at least two areas: Its ability to justify regulation on the basis of the Commerce Clause, and its ability to penalize states' not joining one program by taking away their funding in another. The former, if applied to other areas, would probably overturn laws prohibiting the use of illegal drugs if the drugs haven't crossed state lines, and also the ban on partial birth abortions. The latter, if applied to other areas, takes away the federal government's "stick" in forcing states to follow federal policy. There was a lot in the decision for libertarians and federalists to like. No less a person than George Will has suggested that the decision was a victory for conservatives:

    http://www.ocregister.com/opinion/commerce-361220-mandate-court.html

    And the Affordable Care Act is certainly not Marxist. It preserves — some would even say bails out — the private for profit health insurance industry. That is why so many people on the Left were upset about it, and had actually hoped that it would be overturned.

  14. chief justice roberts made a smart move for the republicans to show that it was a tax from the democrates I hope that the republicans will open there eyes and see what was laid right in front of them…

  15. Charlie Hall says:

    FWIW, all the other eight Supreme Court Justices said that the mandate was not a tax. And Mitt Romney's campaign spokesman just told MSNBC that Gov. Romney also does not think it is a tax.

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