Supremes uphold healthcare reform; I eat crow
It rarely feels this good to write about how wrong I was, but there it is.
As you might have heard in the last nanosecond, the Supreme Court has upheld both the overall Obamacare health package and specifically the “individual mandate” part of the law.
Yesterday I made a (nearly worthless, as I admitted at the time) prediction that the conservatives on the court would go for broke and strike the whole thing down.
I’m very glad they didn’t, as Chief Justice Roberts sided with the court’s liberal wing. Instead of pursuing a Shermanesque total-war strategy, he apparently opted for a longer-term plan of chipping away at the government’s commerce-clause powers in narrowing the scope of the federal ability to control how states spend their Medicare dollars.
Now, nobody’s even read this whole decision yet, so there’s a lot more analysis to be done. But for the moment, we know that the Obama administration didn’t waste the last four years, and the real decision about healthcare reform will be made where it should be, at the polls in November.
So maybe there’s some steam left in the old “Americans banding together to solve real problems” engine!
(As you can see from the above image, CNN’s editors apparently made the same wrong bet I did — but they actually went live with the headline, even though it was entirely wrong.)
UPDATE: As today progresses, we’ll have reactions to the healthcare decision over in Gristmill from a variety of people who are thinking broadly about sustainability.
In the meantime, here’s some food for thought:
This decision will have a massive effect on the lives of literally millions of people. Mitt Romney may have joked yesterday that the White House was “not sleeping real well” last night. But a lot of people tonight and in the future will sleep a lot better for this result … What also matters is: we may learn that President Obama sacrificed his presidency to push through this piece of legislation — the Dems already lost Congress over it. But presidencies are for doing important things not just for getting elected to second terms in office. And I strongly suspect that even if Mitt Romney wins and gets a Republican Congress, they still won’t be able to get rid of this law.
— Josh Marshall at TPM
Today’s ruling is life-changing news for indie artists and makers — especially those with families. (Like me.)
— Andy Baio on Twitter
During the New Deal, Franklin Delano Roosevelt sought to expand the federal government’s management of the economy to cope with the Great Depression. While the court initially dealt Roosevelt plenty of setbacks, the era as a whole can be seen as a ratification of Roosevelt’s broad contention that the crisis merited expansive federal intervension.
During the Warren Court, a liberal era, questions surrounding federal authority were different — and were more directly concerned with the battle between federal power and states’ rights. The Court frequently upheld the federal government’s authority over states on matters ranging from civil rights to voting to education.
Today’s decision can be seen as the start of a third such era, says [James O’Hara, a trustee of the Supreme Court Historical Society]…. This is the most far reaching decision the court has made to date to reckon with the complexities of today’s economy, of which health care is an increasingly dominant part.
— Greg Sargent, Washington Post
Get Grist in your inbox