I had a feeling that the Affordable Care Act would be upheld, largely because of Chief Justice Roberts siding with the “liberal” wing of the court on their ruling on the Arizona immigration law. I thought it would be 6-3, with Kennedy also voting to uphold the law, however it is also not surprising that he voted against it.
There’s a lot of image-consciousness with this ruling, particularly in having Roberts write the opinion and Kennedy write the dissent, and this effort to partially quash the accusation that the Roberts Court is a purely partisan political animal is a bit too much of a protestation. But I’m heartened by the fact that Roberts does seem to want the Supreme Court to return to its role of ruling on the constitutionality of laws passed by Congress through interpreting the Constitution and legal precedent. Which, by all reports from legal scholars that I heard, the Affordable Care Act had on its side in spades.
The ruling itself is a fascinatingly and shrewdly narrow. It is tailored very specifically to interpret this law as it declares that the individual mandate is not in itself Constitutional, but that its structure as a de facto tax does fall within the roll of Congress. This prevents the slippery slope doom and gloom that was a common argument against the ACA and ensures that future Congressional mandates will also be interpreted individually against the Constitution.
I’ll save any further analysis since, well, I’m not an expert, merely an informed citizen. But the fact that a law that helps people who were otherwise helpless, costs relatively little in terms of the country’s total budget, begins to put the United States in-line with the rest of the developed world, and includes a massive giveaway to health insurers in the form of the individual mandate, can be so controversial is absolutely ridiculous. The arguments against the ACA are either based on the lie that it will force you to drop your employer-provided health care or based on the fear-mongering ideology that this is merely the first step in a massive government intrusion into your private lives. What’s next, state-mandated trans-vaginal ultra-sounds?
Please, your energies and efforts are better spent working toward fixing the real issues of unemployment, infrastructure collapse, poverty, and inequality plaguing this country. Let people have their damn health insurance.