Thursday, June 28, 2012
Healthcare ruling expected in minutes
The SCOTUS ruling on Obamacare might come as early as 9:15 this morning, or like within 3 minutes of typing this sentence. The lynch pin of Obamacare lies with the funding mandate through which all the rest of the bill is funded. The constitutional question before the court is whether the federal government can compel citizens at the point of a gun, to engage in interstate commerce. (Article 1 Section 8 Clause 3 of the Constitution gives the federal government authority to regulate commerce among the states.)
If that mandate is ruled unconstitutional, the the funding mechanism of the rest of the bill goes away and the whole thing crumbles. The question is what happens to the popular parts of Obamacare such as allowing children up to 26 to be covered on parents' policies and the pre-existing condition mandate? These are wildly popular with people who need them, but they cost the insurance industry tons of money to fund. So how to not throw these parts out with the bathwater that is Obamacare?
The only answer is to tell every current policy holder up front that their premiums will necessarily go up significantly if these things are preserved by law. If the American people want their neighbors to enjoy these coverages, then we have to be prepared to pay for them in higher premiums. The other thing to offset some of these costs is to immediately allow interstate shopping of policies rather than restricting people to in-state only policies. The competition alone would reduce significantly the costs of policies.
Either way the ruling goes today, the media will be afire with punditry and spin so pay attention and don't believe everything you hear.
UPDATE: It passed with disappointing support from John Roberts and refreshing dissent from Kennedy.