Observing The Anniversary

As the Affordable Care Act turns two today, the Serious Village Types are contractually obligated to inform us that it was the worst piece of legislation ever conceived and that President Obama is the worst politician of all time for wasting time trying to get GOP votes for the bill, and then going it alone without them, assuring they would vow to destroy the law.

We are assured that everyone hates the bill, left, right, and center, despite the fact that elements of the bill are popular (particularly the parts involving coverage for pre-existing conditions and keeping kids on insurance plans to age 26.)  But at this point I think Republicans have vastly overplayed their hand on it for three reasons.

One is MetamorphoMitt.  The one thing from his past that he can’t shake away is MassCare.  Two, the GOP really can’t stop themselves from twirling their collective evil mustaches when doing things like voting to kill the Medicare cost review board while complaining that Medicare costs too much.  The other is the GOP assault on women’s rights, which is seriously driving away voters of both sexes.

All of these are going to seriously put a dent in the amount of damage the Republicans can do in November.  And call me crazy, but I think the Supreme Court may punt on the law until 2014 because the mandate isn’t in effect yet, and precisely because the GOP has done zero to replace the law should it be struck down, there’s a fair argument that nuking the law would be a massive burden for the states and for individuals.  Indeed, the government’s argument is that without a replacement set of laws, the entire health care system itself could be at risk if the mandate is severed.

Meanwhile, the parts of the law that are going into effect are working slowly and surely behind the scenes, and the law is rolling inexorably forward.  I think we’re going to be okay here.

[UPDATE]  Sarah Kliff over at Ezra’s House O’ Wonk has a detailed rundown of the changes already made by the law.

 

103 replies
  1. 1
    WereBear says:

    My thoughts, too. Hope we are both right!

  2. 2
    Joey Maloney says:

    I don’t trust this SCOTUS not to FUCKUS. What do they care? Their health care is paid for no matter what.

  3. 3
    c u n d gulag says:

    GOP POV:
    “What do you mean, why don’t WE have a replacement plan, after we told people countless times that we were about to present one?
    Because, FREEDOM, FREE MARKETS, LIBERTY – NOT SOCIALISM – THAT’S WHY!”

    In other words, the dog didn’t eat their homework – the Democrats took the Republicans homework, and turned it into law – all without the Republicans help!

    They are now left with ‘Die Quickly. Die Quietly. And Die Cheaply. Just DIE ALREADY!’

  4. 4
    Shalimar says:

    The smart thing to do would be to punt. But I don’t see how you schedule 6 hours of oral arguments and then say “whoops, we can’t rule yet”. So my bet is that ACA gets thrown out and we have chaos for the rest of the year. Republicans seem to like chaos and panic, it makes it easier to get their unpopular priorities passed.

  5. 5
    Baud says:

    I agree. At some point, Mitt will have to explain what he would do on health, and he’s got nothing since he’s running way from Massachusetts.

  6. 6
    Whatsleft says:

    As the parent of a 22-year-old who can’t afford her own health insurance and doesn’t get it through her work, I can testify to the enormous positive response the ACA has with both her demographic and mine. I guess because we are landlineless, we no longer show up in polling data. We will show up at the polls however!!

  7. 7
    c u n d gulag says:

    Moderation?
    Really?

    And I didn’t even use any of ’em curse words, or use bad names for any other races, or lady parts, or sexy-time quicker-pecker-upper product names.

    What?
    Too many words in all cap’s?

  8. 8
    Lee says:

    I’ve read a couple of places that if the individual mandate is tossed that the resulting chaos would actually get us closer to some sort of single payer. The idea is that the insurance companies would be fuxored by all the new regulations without the individual mandate.

    I know a couple of people high up the food chain in the health insurance business and they seem to agree.

  9. 9
    Napoleon says:

    Yeah, well guess what Lee, the geniuses in the Obama administration have asked the court that if they throw out the mandate to also throw out those parts of the law that the insurance companies do not like. F—ing morons.

  10. 10

    …it was the worst piece of legislation ever conceived and that President Obama is the worst politician of all time for wasting time trying to get GOP votes for the bill…

    Could you work this language into a couple more posts in the next week or so, during the anniversary? I have a garage full of “Kill the Bill” merch I got caught with– a lot of it orange — and I’d like to beat down the inventory a bit.

    Thanks in advance….

  11. 11
    the fugitive uterus says:

    my dad is a very wise man. he said, you can’t give people something like that and then try to take it away from them. i hope the truth about how the ACA has already helped millions of people will overshadow all the misinformation.

    i know, i know – but maybe the Obama campaign can start a nice narrative on that.

    sad thing is, a lot of people with pre-existing conditions still don’t realize they CAN get coverage now(the deductible is still $2500 – haven’t been able to figure out if that includes meds, but i suspect it does) – but the premium is about half what i was paying. but you gotta make the effort to find out about all this and people without computers are at a disadvantage in getting this vital information. if you have a computer, all you gotta know is PCIP!

  12. 12
    the fugitive uterus says:

    did i mention that i wanna hit Paul Ryan upside the head with a 2×4, as hard as i possibly can?

  13. 13
    4tehlulz says:

    If Obama had just failed to pass single payer, we would not be in this mess.

  14. 14
    Lee says:

    @Napoleon: I agree that is pretty stupid on their part. But there is no guarantee that the courts will go along.

  15. 15
    mk3872 says:

    Love the DC Politico Beltway Media fascination with questions like “why is the ACA sooooo unpopular?”

    Hmmm … it has nothing to do with the BILLIONS of $$ spent by AHIP, the GOP, FreedomWorks, Karl Rove’s PAC, The Kochs or anyone else, right?

    And the media’s portrayal of crazy conspiracies like Death Panels has NOTHING to do with that either.

    It’s all just bad messaging by Dem’s and Obama is such a rookie.

  16. 16
    jonas says:

    The vast majority of people polled on this have no clue what the law actually entails and think the “mandate” means that jackbooted thugs are going to break down their doors and make them buy some kind of socialized government insurance or something that will force them to pull the plug on grandma if some “death panel” orders it. Seriously.

    Over and over when people are actually told what the law does and why there’s a mandate (so that you don’t have people not paying in, and then suddenly deciding to buy in when they get really sick and sticking the rest of us with the bill), etc., the response is a lot different.

    Our problem is not the ACA, it’s voter ignorance, apathy, and the wingnut Wurlizer that has orchestrated a Big Lie about it for two years now.

  17. 17
    El Cid says:

    Personally I’m enraged that anyone would even pause to think, much less write, that something could have or should have been done differently.

  18. 18

    @4tehlulz: It’s King Pyrrhus of Epirus in reverse: “One such more defeat, and we would be victorious.”

  19. 19
    Kirbster says:

    @Baud: He sort of did the other night on the CBS Evening News. It was some vague “let the states handle it” plus that old conservative chestnut, “tort reform”.

  20. 20
    SenyorDave says:

    @Whatsleft: Any reputable polling company has a portion of the sample that is “cell only”. The degree to which thta represents the general population is a good measure of the quality of the survey. Most polling firms underrepresent the population of cell only households, since they are much more expensive to find.

  21. 21
    Baud says:

    @Kirbster: Like I said, he’s got nothing.

  22. 22
    Splitting Image says:

    I’m guessing the Court will punt as well. If they do issue a ruling, it will be based on what will help the GOP rather than the merits of whatever arguments are presented.

    The GOP’s problem is that if they throw out the individual mandate, they will create a precedent for throwing out the other mandate, the one that forces hospitals to treat emergency patients regardless of their ability to pay. That right there is the basis of the GOP’s entire health care policy. How many times has a Republican said that no one is in danger of going without health care in the US because they can just go to an emergency room if they are sick? And what will the party do if all of a sudden that is no longer true?

    I think that if the GOP upholds the ACA, they will be throwing Mitt Romney to the wolves, but if they throw it out, they will immediately lose just about every culture war issue on the table. People are only able to take the streets ranting about gay rights and interracial marriage because their own basic needs are taken care of. Get rid of the safety net that the 27% depends on even if they don’t appreciate it, and they won’t even have time any more to care about abortion.

    So that in a nutshell is how Roberts, Alito, and Kennedy are going to understand the options: throw Mitt Romney to the wolves or throw the whole GOP to the wolves. If they do choose, I’d guess they will choose Romney, but it might be more likely they will punt until 2014.

  23. 23

    …they will create a precedent for throwing out the other mandate

    This court has never been unable to distinguish two identical precedents when it has suited their needs, or not even bothered to do so, and just issue the damned decision.

  24. 24
    runt says:

    I wouldn’t underestimate the ability of teabaggers to delude themselves. If you look at the facts, Dems win the healthcare debate. But facts obviously don’t matter much to the average Republican voter (or Clarence Thomas), so I wouldn’t bet that being right will make much difference in the end.

    And it’s not like the media will expose the tsunami of lies which is about to be unleashed on you. Romney will claim that he is on a mission to save Medicare by burning it down, Obama will object, and PolitiFact will tell people that both sides are equally wrong.

  25. 25
    Punchy says:

    And call me crazy, but I think the Supreme Court may punt on the law until 2014

    You’re crazy. SCOTUS bounces ACA. Whether that will demolarlize or energize progressives in the election is the question, but this court is as dishonest and results-driven as they get.

  26. 26
    RP says:

    Yeah, well guess what Lee, the geniuses in the Obama administration have asked the court that if they throw out the mandate to also throw out those parts of the law that the insurance companies do not like. F—-ing morons.

    The mandate cannot be uncoupled from the other parts of the law, and the admin. has to make the Court aware that it can’t pick and choose which parts of the law to uphold. IOW, without the mandate, the whole thing falls apart, so you better be damn sure you want to go down that road.

    I predict the court upholds it 7-2.

  27. 27
    Samara Morgan says:

    Like I said Zandar cher…..the ACA is far more terribly dangerous to the GOP than the demographic timer.
    Because when the ACA starts working the GOP will lose WHITE voters. And that’s ajj they have left.

  28. 28
    RalfW says:

    Indeed, the government’s argument is that without a replacement set of laws, the entire health care system itself could be at risk if the mandate is severed.

    Given the nihilism on the right, I wouldn’t count on this argument.

    One potential scenario is SCOTUS striking the law wholesale. Which would be a short-term health care disaster. To be followed by single-payer (and, one can hope, an utter decimation of the GOP electorally for a generation).

    That may sound liberal-hooey, but think about it. SCOTUS ends the whole deal. Young adults under 26 drop off family plans. Guaranteed issue, which a lot of people actually care about if you ask even one or two decently worded questions, goes away. Other sometimes invisible measures that have already worked their way into the system to help people go “poof.”

    As 10s of millions of Americans loose coverage in a hurry, insurance plans see chaos, and their is a clear line of Paul Ryan – John Roberts – Mitch McConnel – GOP asshole for President – lost health insuance, I think voters will see the connections and know “repeal and replace” was an utter joke and hold the GOP responsible for nuking some iota of medical security.

    A lot of people resent taxes, sure. But they will resent being thrown to the private insurance wolves even more. Just about everyone knows someone who’s had to go through medical bankruptcy by now. That will be the norm for some years, hospitals will be begging for relief from indigent care, insurance companies will be under siege for profiting off misery, indeed the whole system will be at risk just as it was pretty much until Obamacare.

    We and our media handlers forget just how damn much angst there was before ACA passed. That angst snaps back but quick.

    So destroying Obamacare will, I think, almost certainly lead to single payer. After several years of death and misery, unfortunately, but I don’t see striking the law as actually meeting claimed GOP goals of liberty.

    Mainly because the GOP has no long-term strategy and has only opposed this Heritage Foundation hatched plan because a charismatic black Democrat is it’s titular sponsor. They’ve rat-fvcked themselves over the long term on health care for short term political expedience. They are idiots, they can’t see that eliminating ACA will lead to a much worse (from a GOP perspective) solution.

    We have the shittiest insurance system in at least the G20, possibly the entire industrialized world. It will be painfully obvious if ACA goes away. And if the SCOTUS says a mandate is unconstitutional, then Medicare for all (or Dickensian “your’re fvcked” free markets) are the only options. I’d bet that most voters will choose Door #1.

  29. 29
    loretta says:

    If you think SCOTUS will rule in favor of big Corporations, rather than democrat or republican, I suspect that they will uphold the law. Without the mandate, the insurance companies will only receive premiums (however inflated) from sick people. Nobody healthy will bother to get health insurance unless they have a job. Without the pool of young, healthy people, the insurance companies will lose money right and left.

    So, expect it to be upheld, since big Insurance owns Washington DC.

    Also, too, note that not a Public PEEP has been uttered from United Healthcare, Wellpoint (BC/BS), Humana, Aetna, et. al., about repealing ACA. Oh, they tried their damnest to keep it from becoming law in the first place, but now they are going to make it work for them, and the mandate gives them MILLIONS of healthy new customers.

  30. 30
    Whatsleft says:

    @SenyorDave. Thx, but kinda my point. Polling under-represents actual sentiments which I posit will greatly favor Democrats.

  31. 31
    SteveM says:

    And call me crazy, but I think the Supreme Court may punt on the law

    I just can’t figure it out: Will they refrain from striking it down because striking it down will take a rallying cry away from their candidates for 2012? Or will they strike it down because the Kochs and their pals insist that they have to kill it sooner or later, and they’re afraid Obama will win again and make that more difficult?

    Hard to say….

  32. 32
    eemom says:

    Good man. Now yer talkin SENSE.

    Except the Supreme Court ain’t gonna punt on shit. They’re gonna uphold the law 6-3, 7-2, maybe even 8-1.

  33. 33
    Iany77 says:

    I thought there were some fair points in the article. The Dems really haven’t done a good job defending the bill, nor explaining it. Jon Stewart did a great bit comparing the Bush admin’s push for war versus the Obama admin’s push for health care reform. The Bush admin developed a simple set of talking points and drove them home like a jackhammer. Meanwhile, the Dems couldn’t keep the facts of the numbers straight. Obama would say one thing, Pelosi another, and Reid, something else entirely. While the Bush admin had some factors on their side, like a far less crazy oppostion, the fact that healthcare reform was more complex made the need to get a straight line of attack more important. The Obama admin just did not do that. Add in the need for Presidents Nelson, Lieberman, Snowe and Collins to preen and throw up random objections, and its a miracle that anything got done at all. I’m glad the bill is in place, but it could have been done a lot better, and the midterm drubbing would have been less severe.

  34. 34
    eemom says:

    @SteveM:

    You, on the other hand — unless that comment was snark, your buying 100% into the “Justices are all Koch hacks” meme is further evidence that you are utterly devoid of any clue as to what the fuck you’re talking about.

  35. 35
    kay says:

    @Napoleon:

    Yeah, well guess what Lee, the geniuses in the Obama administration have asked the court that if they throw out the mandate to also throw out those parts of the law that the insurance companies do not like. F—-ing morons.

    I think it was deliberate. I think Talking Points Memo is wrong by portraying that as an error. I don’t believe it. It’s more difficult for a court to throw out the whole law than strike down an (unpopular) piece, and the mandate actually IS essential to how the law is structured, so there were both tactical and policy reasons to make the mandate non-severable.

    I don’t think they can say that publicly, though.

  36. 36
    burnspbesq says:

    @Shalimar:

    “But I don’t see how you schedule 6 hours of oral arguments and then say “whoops, we can’t rule yet”.”

    The Anti-injunction Act is jurisdictional. If they decide (as they should, in my view) that it applies, then the case has to be dismissed.

  37. 37
    RP says:

    Jon Stewart did a great bit comparing the Bush admin’s push for war versus the Obama admin’s push for health care reform.

    The admin. can definitely do a better job of selling ACA, but this is a silly comparison. Bush was incredibly dishonest and selling a war based on fear (mushroom clouds!) wasn’t that hard post 9/11.

  38. 38

    @SteveM:

    I just can’t figure it out: Will they refrain from striking it down because striking it down will take a rallying cry away from their candidates for 2012? Or will they strike it down because the Kochs and their pals insist that they have to kill it sooner or later, and they’re afraid Obama will win again and make that more difficult?

    If they strike it down, it won’t be for anything so mundane as the Koch influence. They will strike it down, if they do, because they fear it will spell electoral defeat for the conservative movement as the circle squared for The New Deal. That when and if the law becomes a beloved strand in The American Quilt, like medicare and SS, that works and gives people health care security, the voting public will turn away from the GOP ideology for a generation. at least.

    I don’t believe the wingnuts on the supreme court would sell out their legal souls for the Kochs, or for economic reasons. They will sell it out because it represents to them the death of their conservative ideology, dooming the conservative movement as without electoral viability.

  39. 39

    Jon Stewart did a great bit comparing the Bush admin’s push for war versus the Obama admin’s push for health care reform.

    Then Jon Stewart is an idiot. The first issue was about as complicated as a sundial, the second, a Swiss watch.

  40. 40
    burnspbesq says:

    @Punchy:

    “SCOTUS bounces ACA.”

    I’ll take that bet. If they reach the merits, it’s going to be 7-2 to uphold.

  41. 41
    catclub says:

    @RP: “without the mandate, the whole thing falls apart,”

    Well, technically, only the insurance companies fall apart.

    The completely constitutional parts of the law are those forcing coverage for pre-existing conditions, which kill the insurance companies if they do not have new customers mandated in. I would cry a very small tear for the insurance companies — and then be completely screwed like everyone else when Blue Cross goes out of business.

  42. 42
    kay says:

    @Davis X. Machina:

    There were lots and lots of powerful people who had an interest in us invading Iraq.
    They all have excellent health insurance coverage.
    Advocates for people who DON’T have health insurance coverage are either in government or poorly-paid and not at all famous or admired or invited to media roundtables.
    It’s a bad comparison, so we agree. The biggest group that benefit from the PPACA immediately and directly are poor people. Chuck Schumer said it, and he predicted they wouldn’t get a political pay-back immediately because of that, and he was right.

  43. 43
    catclub says:

    @loretta: This.

  44. 44
    Steve says:

    @kay: I agree. It would seriously undermine the argument to suggest that the ACA could go on functioning just fine even without the mandate.

    Of course, the most prominent person to argue that you can accomplish all these good things without including an icky mandate was… Candidate Obama. I really wish he hadn’t taken that position. It was a cheap ploy to pick up primary votes and it was obvious that he didn’t really understand the issue.

  45. 45
    burnspbesq says:

    @eemom:

    8-1? Who is your eighth vote, Thomas or Alito?

    It’s easy to get to seven. The four supposed liberals plus Kennedy, plus Scalia because he painted himself into a corner with his concurrence in Raich, plus Roberts for institutional reasons. But for the life of me, I can’t see Thomas or Alito signing on.

  46. 46
    Baud says:

    @burnspbesq: I would guess Alito over Thomas. Thomas has always struck me as way, way out there when it comes to his constitutional ideology.

  47. 47
    catclub says:

    @Steve: NPR was pushing the ‘no mandate, no problem’ meme this morning. I am not convinced. I know the insurance companies would erupt if the mandate gets struck down but nothing else does.

    I just have no idea how the present GOP house and Democratic Senate agree to fix it for them.

  48. 48

    …plus Scalia because he painted himself into a corner with his concurrence in Raich,


    Corner? What corner?

  49. 49
    kay says:

    @Steve:

    It was a cheap ploy to pick up primary votes and it was obvious that he didn’t really understand the issue.

    I agree. Clinton absolutely understood health care better than Obama. During the “debate” she appeared with one or another pundit, and he asked her about the health care bill. She was absolutely great as an advocate. Leaned forward, real enthusiasm and interest, etc.

    Had she remained in the Senate, she would have been so good at that. We didn’t have Kennedy and we didn’t have Clinton, and those were the two congressional media-star invited-on-tv Democrats who could have sold it, and they were both passionate and persuasive on health care.

    Ah, regrets :)

  50. 50
    BDeevDad says:

    This article should be required reading for those that say the ACA is bad and costs too much.

    The ACA permanently slows the growth in Medicare payment rates for almost every category of provider other than physicians and makes additional targeted cuts to home health agencies and some other providers. As a result, the CBO projects that over the next decade Medicare spending per enrollee will grow substantially more slowly than the overall economy, even if there is a permanent SGR “fix.” Negative excess growth in Medicare is not as implausible as it might first sound — such a trend occurred in the late 1990s and early 2000s in the wake of the Balanced Budget Act of 1997.

  51. 51
    burnspbesq says:

    @Davis X. Machina:

    Has it escaped your notice that Randy Barnett is one of the lawyers who will be arguing against the law in the Supreme Court next week? That’s not a reasoned view of Scalia’s concurrence, it’s an advocacy piece.

  52. 52

    @BDeevDad: If it should be required reading for, and is actually read by, those that say the ACA is bad and costs too much, and can still be swayed by evidence, it’ll have the approximate circulation of a new edition of the Greek text of Bacchylides.

    You can’t refute a theology.

  53. 53
    celticdragonchick says:

    MetamorphoMitt

    Sort of like a low grade slate. Flaky, and you see the imprint of what it had been before metamorphism…

  54. 54

    @burnspbesq: I think he’s arguing before he argues, and I think he expects it to be read where it matters.

    Where is it unreasonable, by the way? He leaves Scalia a way to distinguish Raich if he wants to, and Scalia is not without a need or a motive to do so.

  55. 55
    Lawnguylander says:

    @Davis X. Machina

    I’m surprised to hear that you haven’t unloaded that stuff on the third world market yet. I half expect to come across a Reuters picture of a scene from an African village where one guy with a “2011 NBA Champs, Miami Heat” cap is posing next to another guy with a t-shirt showing Lucy and The Football or something about Negotiating 101, either way a cartoonishly simple minded outlook on the politics of recent times. Only thing that would be funnier would be prematurely produced Pats Super Bowl get up next to a “Typical White Person” piece of attire in the shade of oranger you allude to.

  56. 56
    Xantar says:

    I’m as big a fan of the Affordable Care Act as anybody, but the problem with the study described by Sarah Kliff is that it has no control group. My brother is a research assistant at Harvard where they studied the same issues and found that rather than hospitals with incentives improving their performance metrics, ALL hospitals are actually improving. We should get rid of fee-for-service of course, but I’m not sure we really understand the effects just yet.

  57. 57
    Steve says:

    @burnspbesq: It gets more interesting when you recall that Barnett was the lawyer who argued Raich in the Supreme Court, and that Scalia completely undressed him during oral argument. Of course he doesn’t want to admit that this case is a replay of Raich.

    Something I’m sure you and I agree on is that a smart lawyer can come up with a plausible argument to distinguish just about any precedent, if he really wants to. But I’m certainly not persuaded that there’s a real distinction here. Heck, that post by Barnett comes very close to admitting that the whole anti-mandate argument is an attempt to create a brand-new substantive due process right. I guess that’s something new that wasn’t in Raich, but it’s hardly the sort of theory that’s going to make Scalia feel more comfortable.

  58. 58
    eemom says:

    Just so we’re clear, evidence pro or con as to whether the ACA is a good or bad law, saves money, or creates fucking death panels, has ZERO to do with the case the Court will be hearing next week.

    @burns

    My thinking was that Thomas is the only absolutely certain vote to strike it down. I don’t know that Alito is as batshit insane as he is, but then I don’t know much about Alito at all.

  59. 59
    Steve says:

    @eemom: I agree with your thinking. The possible anti votes are Thomas, Alito, Scalia/Roberts, and Kennedy, in order from most likely to strike the law down to least likely. I doubt anyone disputes that there are at least 4 votes to uphold. I grouped Scalia and Roberts together because I don’t know which to put first. You could make arguments either way.

  60. 60

    I’m thinking the supreme’s wingers uphold the individual mandate as constitutional, but will interject an alternate means by which it is carried out. Namely, forcing the feds to give the states more control, or first bite at the apple in achieving the desired results for paying for the other regulations implemented. I have no idea how they would do this, nor if it would damage the ACA enough to sabotage its workability, but I think they will spread their federalist wings, as a signal that is the general direction they are headed. And then comes the VRA. But keep in tact the precedent of commerce clause legislation, to tie off revisiting the many other laws based on that constitutional principle.

  61. 61
    eemom says:

    @General Stuck (Bravo Nope Zero):

    but will interject an alternate means by which it is carried out. Namely, forcing the feds to give the states more control, or first bite at the apple in achieving the desired results for paying for the other regulations implemented. I have no idea how they would do this

    They CAN’T do that, General. No how, no way — though I’m sure legal scholars like SteveM will disagree.

  62. 62

    @eemom:

    They CAN’T do that, General. No how, no way

    I’ve always thought the SCOTUS could do about anything they pleased. Robed gawds, and all that. I can understand lawyers wanting to think their profession is rational and orderly at the highest court in the land, and above crass partisan politics. I simply don’t believe that, and especially when it involves existential fears of losing their core beliefs and country to the collective.

  63. 63
    comrade scott's agenda of rage says:

    @loretta:

    This.

    Folks always forget that the only reason Roberts and Scalito were put forth by the Bushies had to do with their corporate-first, Gilded Age judicial mentality. Their expected conservative outlook on the usual social issues was simply icing on the cake.

    The only two sure votes in this will be from Fat Tony and The Token and of course those will be to overturn the whole enchilada.

  64. 64
    Steve says:

    @eemom: I disagree that I disagree. I actually don’t have any idea whether I disagree. Are you snarking at me? :)

  65. 65
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    Law is upheld 6-3. Alito, Thomas, and a justice to be named later on the dissenting side. Scalia votes to uphold.

  66. 66
    Punchy says:

    I’ll take that bet. If they reach the merits, it’s going to be 7-2 to uphold.

    I’ll modify to say that it could go 5-4 either way, so maybe I’ll back off my prediction of a SCOTUS reversal after reading this thread. But I see NO WAY more than the bare minimum of Republican judges vote in favor of upholding it. If by “merits” you mean they follow precedent…..well…I, like many others, think they dont give 2 shits about precedent.

    BTW — as IANAL, can anyone say if they decide they cannot rule on this until 2014…we dont wait until June to find this out, right? They’d declare that immediately…right?

  67. 67

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    I hope you guys are right, I just can’t get my head around the SCOTUS 100% greenlighting the ACA, not this particular piece of legislation that I think is easy to understate the deep antipathy the right wing has about it. You all went to law school, while I was dissecting frogs in biology lab. So again, hope you are right, and I am wrong.

  68. 68
    Steve says:

    @Punchy: It is likely that we have to wait, regardless of what the basis for the ruling is going to be.

  69. 69
    Clime Acts says:

    @jonas:

    Our problem is not the ACA, it’s voter ignorance, apathy, and the wingnut Wurlizer that has orchestrated a Big Lie about it for two years now.

    So seriously: Where has the massive government PR campaign been over the last two years, to educate the public about this? Not just MSM messaging, but huge ad buys, educational campaigns, endless commercials?

    There’s no excuse after two years that no one knows. Where’s the Obama Administration Wurlitzer?

  70. 70
    Clime Acts says:

    @Iany77:

    What this commenter said.

  71. 71
    eemom says:

    @Steve:

    I didn’t mean you, I meant SteveM. YOU seem to KNOW wtf you’re talking about.

    Sorry for the confusion. What a difference a consonant makes.

  72. 72
    Keith G says:

    @Clime #69. Don’t you know that the Obama administration is impotent when it comes to messaging? It’s not their fault, the poor dears, it’s just that the deck is so stacked against them.

    Except of course when they actually try and a pretty good at it.

  73. 73
    Judas Escargot, Your Postmodern Neighbor says:

    @Punchy:

    You’re crazy. SCOTUS bounces ACA. Whether that will demolarlize or energize progressives in the election is the question, but this court is as dishonest and results-driven as they get.

    Five conservative Catholics, at least three of them Opus Dei, in a year where the Catholic Church has openly decided to interfere in US politics, and to re-assert its claim to supreme authority over our very flesh & blood.

    It doesn’t have to make sense, anymore than Bush v. Gore did. ACA is toast: Count on it. And it will be a broad decision that GOP operatives will try to leverage in their quest to dismantle the welfare state, piece by piece.

    November really is looking like a Firewall Election. Will we continue be a Union, with a strong Federal government? Or become a loose Confederation of virtually independent States again?

  74. 74
    burnspbesq says:

    @Punchy:

    If this case gets decided on the basis of the Anti-Injunction Act, it will be at least 2016 before the issue gets back to the Supremes. Someone will have to pay the payment on a 2014 tax return that they file in 2015, then file a refund claim with the IRS. The IRS has 180 days to rule, and if they deny the refund claim, the taxpayer sues for a refund either in the District Court for the district where they live or in the Court of Federal Claims. From there, the loser appeals to the relevant circuit. Only after a circuit rules do the Supremes get a crack at it.

  75. 75
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Keith G at 72: if you want to disagree with the actual “bully pulpit” arguments that people have made, go ahead, but don’t pull this intentionally obtuse shit. It is weak.

  76. 76
    burnspbesq says:

    @Steve:

    I also think that Marty Lederman blew some rather large holes in Barnett’s analysis in his recent post at Balkinization.

    http://balkin.blogspot.com/201.....e-act.html

  77. 77
    AA+ Bonds says:

    FYI the Republican line is that they did have a detailed alternative to the Affordable Care Act, in H.R. 3600, the Health Security Act bill, and states that effective ‘market-based’ reforms in the form of this bill were squashed by the Democrats for Red alternatives

    Any liberal response should probably get out in front of this argument which will feature more and more prominently in the media as we approach elections (and not just for the presidency) in November

  78. 78
    Steve says:

    @eemom: Oh, okay. The mistake was mine, because my initial is M as well, but I forgot I post as just “Steve” here. I always get confused when I see a reference to that guy; I guess he’s like my doppelganger.

  79. 79
    NR says:

    @Punchy:

    You’re crazy. SCOTUS bounces ACA. Whether that will demolarlize or energize progressives in the election is the question, but this court is as dishonest and results-driven as they get.

    No, you’re crazy. The same court that gave us Citizens United will gleefully uphold the mandate, because it brings about a massive transfer of wealth from American citizens to private corporations. That’s the “result” this court cares about most.

  80. 80
    NR says:

    @Lee:

    I’ve read a couple of places that if the individual mandate is tossed that the resulting chaos would actually get us closer to some sort of single payer.

    Not while the Democrats are in power, it won’t.

  81. 81
    NR says:

    @the fugitive uterus:

    my dad is a very wise man. he said, you can’t give people something like that and then try to take it away from them.

    Right idea, but it’s not people we’re talking about here. It’s for-profit insurance companies. You can’t give the insurance companies something (millions of people who are forced by law to give them money) and then take it away, which is why the Supreme Court will uphold the mandate.

    Now get to work for the Democratic party, the CEO of Aetna needs to finish his third mansion in the Caymans.

  82. 82

    @NR:

    Not while the Democrats are in power, it won’t.

    Are you really this stupid? I mean come on, concern trolling is one thing whatever is behind it, but saying such transparent stupid shit like the above is just a waste of pixels. So if the dems aren’t in power, then the republicans would be, and would be more likely to pass single payer. jeevus.

  83. 83
    NR says:

    @General Stuck (Bravo Nope Zero):

    So if the dems aren’t in power, then the republicans would be, and would be more likely to pass single payer.

    Of course, this isn’t what I said at all. Neither the Democrats nor the Republicans have any interest in passing single-payer.

    The only way to get single-payer is to start voting for an actual progressive party.

  84. 84
    A Humble Lurker says:

    @NR:
    When you can figure out a way to do that without handing power to the Republicans, can you get back to us?

  85. 85
    kay says:

    NR, the PPACA is the largest single expansion of single payer since Medicare.

    Medicaid expansion.

    Between SCHIP and this law, Democrats will have covered tens of millions of new people using Medicaid since the 1990s.

    It’s so telling to me that “progressives” never, ever mention the vast expansion of Medicaid in the law, but focus obsessively on the mandate which is not even going to be an issue for the vast majority of people.

  86. 86
    Lawnguylander says:

    @NR:

    When will you be canceling your health insurance? Surely you’re not going to put your physical and financial well being over the chance to deny some health insurance executive a few extra bucks, are you?

  87. 87
    NR says:

    @A Humble Lurker:

    When you can figure out a way to do that without handing power to the Republicans, can you get back to us?

    Yeah, if the Republicans get in power, they might do something horrible, like pass a law forcing everyone in America to send money to private corporations. And we wouldn’t want that, would we?

  88. 88
    NR says:

    @kay:

    Medicaid expansion.

    Which means nothing because the states have no money to fund it. Try again.

  89. 89
    NR says:

    @Lawnguylander: Believe me, I would cancel my health insurance if I could. I have insurance through my employer, and it has gotten so bad that I can’t use it anymore. The deductibles are so high, the wait times so long, and the customer service so bad that I just don’t go to the doctor (and pay cash when I absolutely have to).

    And guess what? This is at what is supposedly the BEST health insurer in my state. Imagine what the care is like at the worst insurer!

    And thanks to the Democrats, millions more people will be exposed to this kind of crap from the insurance companies, who now have no incentive to improve their service at all since everyone is forced by law to be their customers.

  90. 90
    kay says:

    NR, tell me about the funding mechanism for Medicaid in the health care law.
    Go ahead.
    What on earth do you think they spent all that money on?
    They spent it on 90% sudsidy fior Medicaid and federal subsidies for those who make less than 400% of poverty.
    It’s a wealth transfer, all right. It goes to poor and working class people.
    You want to expand single payer?
    We did. We did it w/SCHIP and we did it
    with this law.
    It was interesting to watch the “progressive” rhetoric evolve.
    You dropped “hurts the poor” because that was complete bullshit, and all if a sudden “the poor” just disappeared as a priority.
    Amazing to watch.

  91. 91
    kay says:

    The mandate in action is going to be a tiny part of this law, and in 10 years everyone who focused on it like a lazer is going to look like an idiot.

    Conservatives and media talk of nothing else in the law but that’s because conservatives want to kill the law and media have no idea how it
    works, or who is affected by what provision, or the break down of who doesn’t have health insurance NOW.

    Hint: it isn’t college educated white people.

  92. 92
    Lawnguylander says:

    @NR:

    Dude, you’re all pissed off that people will now be “forced” to buy what you’ve been voluntarily buying all along? And what do you mean you “can’t” cancel it? Why is canceling it not a choice for you but for all the people who will now be “forced” to buy health insurance, not having the same access to it as you have had all along was preferable? Patronizing motherfucker. You don’t give shit about any of those people. You don’t even give enough of a shit about yourself to find out how the law will help entitled douchebags like you by improving the product you are voluntarily paying for.

  93. 93
    NR says:

    @kay: 50 million new people forced by law to give money to private corporations is not a “tiny” part of anything.

    I hope you’re proud of the new corporate state you helped usher in. You think they’re going to stop with health care? Say goodbye to Social Security, say hello to the mandate to invest your retirement dollars in private banks. Say goodbye to public schools, say hello to the mandate to pay for for-profit charter schools. Say goodbye to public services, say hello to mandated corporate services. Last to go will be public police and fire departments, replaced by a mandate for you to purchase protection from a private security firm.

    And I’m sure you’ll support each and every one of those initiatives so long as Democrats are the ones pushing them.

  94. 94
    NR says:

    @Lawnguylander: Reading comprehension is not your strong suit, I see. Predictable.

  95. 95
    Lawnguylander says:

    @kay:

    The mandate in action is going to be a tiny part of this law, and in 10 years everyone who focused on it like a lazer is going to look like an idiot.

    They look like idiots NOW! Look at this fool, NR. People have been dying, no pun intended, to get access to health insurance for years and this dickhead is hung up on the fact that they’ll be forced to make the same payments he’s been making without any mandate in place. The mandate will hardly enter the mind of anyone who will be buying health insurance but had previously been shut out of the market. They’re almost all going to buy health insurance and breathe sighs of relief when they do.

  96. 96
    Lawnguylander says:

    @NR:

    Stumped, huh? Nothing to say besides that, brave warrior? Why the fuck are you giving your money to evil insurance companies? And without anyone mandating that you buy their crap product? What the fuck is wrong with you?

    You’re not going to be coming out with an answer to Kay’s question either, are you?

  97. 97
    kay says:

    50 million?
    There aren’t 50 million uninsured now.
    Again, as usual with “progressives” you completely forgotten 15 million poor and working class people, but you’re the best yet, because you’ve also disappeared 15 million undocumented who aren’t even covered under the law.
    The brutal oppressive mandate theory promoted by conservative shills and people who have no idea about who has health insurance is baloney.
    The numbers don’t add up.

  98. 98
    NR says:

    @Lawnguylander: Wow. You’re an idiot. Too stupid to even realize when your bullshit questions have already been answered. Buh-bye.

  99. 99
    kay says:

    And, NR?
    I don’t care who you vote for, if you vote, or why you vote.
    You shouldn’t think I’m working on forcing you to compromise and join a “team”.
    I’m not.
    Vote, don’t vote, start a 3rd party, protest the “red blue” cage match, fine with me, either way.
    I’ll do what I want too.

  100. 100
    Lawnguylander says:

    @NR

    You haven’t produced any answers. Because you can’t. All you’ve got is a bunch of blog cliches that make you feel like a brave iconoclast. But you willingly buy health insurance. That’s weak. I’d run away too if I were you.

  101. 101
    NR says:

    @Lawnguylander:

    But you willingly buy health insurance.

    You know, lots of people are stupid, but very few are as aggressive and in-your-face with their stupidity as you are. So congratulations on that, I guess.

  102. 102
    Lawnguylander says:

    Nothing unique about you. Just another in a long line of liberals who’ve already got theirs complaining that millions more will now, too. Arrogant, comfortable fuckheads. And none of you can explain why you don’t just cancel your insurance. You haven’t even tried to answer the question other than to explain that you need it. Other people need it too, dimwit.

  103. 103
    xian says:

    @Lawnguylander: this… sometimes the emoprog mask slips and the crypto-fascist face shows through

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