Archive for category Supreme Court
Romney Now Says Health Mandate by Obama Is a Tax
Cheryl Senter for The New York Times
Published: July 4, 2012
WOLFEBORO, N.H. — Mitt Romney declared on Wednesday that President Obama’s health care mandate was in fact a tax, shifting his campaign’s characterization of the law and aligning himself with the conservative voices in his party.
Mr. Romney’s remarks, made in a hastily arranged interview with CBS News on a national holiday, prompted renewed criticisms that he was willing to adjust his views for political expediency. Two days earlier, his chief spokesman and senior strategist had said that Mr. Romney did not believe the mandate should be called a tax.
Mr. Romney was already in the uncomfortable position of standing at odds with the dominant Republican Party message on health care: that President Obama was imposing a burdensome new tax on the middle class by requiring health insurance. His latest statement, while carrying the short-term risk of allowing his opponent to brand him a flip-flopper, helps him square an issue that could be a political liability with conservative voters in November.
A debate over whether a requirement to carry health insurance can be considered a tax — as the Supreme Court last week ruled it could — has consumed the presidential campaign since the decision. Conservatives, despite their deep dismay over the ruling, have pounced on the tax issue, saying Mr. Obama deceived the American people by disguising a huge tax increase as a health care reform bill.
Asked twice on Wednesday whether the president’s mandate amounts to a tax, Mr. Romney said that it did.
“The Supreme Court is the highest court in the nation, and it said that it’s a tax, so it’s a tax,” Mr. Romney told CBS News. “They have spoken. There’s no way around that.” He later repeated his assertion to CNN after a Fourth of July parade here, an idyllic summer retreat on the edge of Lake Winnipesaukee.
The Obama campaign seized on Mr. Romney’s words, calling it a glaring contradiction of his chief spokesman’s remarks. “First, he threw his top aide Eric Fehrnstrom under the bus by changing his campaign’s position,” the campaign said. “Second, he contradicted himself by saying his own Massachusetts mandate wasn’t a tax.”
Mr. Fehrnstrom’s comments on Monday, in which he also said that Mr. Romney felt the health care law was unconstitutional and should have been invalidated, were backed up by a campaign news release that day saying that Mr. Romney believed the mandate is “an unconstitutional penalty” — notably, not a tax.
The backlash that erupted on Wednesday was a reminder of just how problematic the issue of health care reform is for Mr. Romney. As governor of Massachusetts, he oversaw the 2007 fulfillment of a first-in-the-nation plan requiring that nearly every state resident obtain health insurance or pay a penalty if they failed to do so.
The question of the “individual mandate,” as the requirement is known, has emerged as one of the most polarizing national political issues of the day. It helped propel the Tea Party movement to mainstream politics, with conservatives calling it a gross overreach of federal power and an infringement on personal liberty.
Mr. Romney’s support of the Massachusetts plan deepened suspicions among many conservatives, who were already wary of him because of the more liberal positions he once took on social issues like abortion and gay rights.
His comments about the mandate being a tax came on an otherwise slow Fourth of July, ensuring that they dominated the news cycle, albeit one that fewer people than usual were paying attention to.
By insisting the mandate is a tax, Mr. Romney has opened himself up to the criticism that he, too, raised taxes as governor. His campaign has sought to portray him as a tax cutter, despite the Obama campaign’s efforts to highlight state fees that rose under Mr. Romney.
In the CBS interview, he insisted that he had not imposed a tax and sought to draw an academic distinction between taxes and penalties.
“The chief justice in his opinion made it very clear that at the state level, states have the power to put in place mandates,” he said. “And as a result, Massachusetts’s mandate was a mandate, was a penalty, was described that way by the legislature and by me, and so it stays as it was.”
Mr. Romney appeared to be making a finer point about the absolute role the Supreme Court plays in setting American law, even if the nuance was lost on many. “Well, the Supreme Court has the final word and their final word is that Obamacare is a tax. So it’s a tax,” he said.
He also sought to reconcile his comments on Wednesday with his earlier positions — and put himself in line with conservatives — by saying he agreed with the dissent in the Supreme Court case. That dissent, by Anthony M. Kennedy and three more conservative justices — Clarence Thomas, Antonin Scalia and Samuel A. Alito Jr. — called the majority’s ruling “vast judicial overreach” and argued that the health care law should have been struck down.
Bill Burton, a founder of Priorities USA Action, a “super PAC” supporting Mr. Obama, said that “Romney’s ideological gymnastics will both weaken his standing on the health care debate but, more importantly, will further undercut any notion of strength in his leadership.”
Mr. Romney’s remarks proved a distraction from what should have been a day of patriotic photo-ops as he vacationed in New Hampshire. He appeared in the annual Fourth of July parade here, energetically working the crowds. “Terrific to see you!” he said, beaming as he stretched his hands out toward the onlookers, sometimes shaking with both hands. “Hey, how are you? Happy Fourth of July!”
Though this is clearly Romney country — yard signs for the candidate dot lawns everywhere here, the site of his lake house — there were a few interlopers along the parade route.
Sid Hall of nearby Tuftonboro stood with a group of his friends and family waving “New Hampshire for Obama” signs along Main Street. About 20 of them were at the parade, a family ritual that is usually apolitical. But this year he said they decided to pull a quiet act of liberal defiance. “We do feel a little out of our element,” he said with a smile.
- Romney settles it: health care mandate is a tax (onlineathens.com)
- Mitt Romney walked in the Wolfeboro, NH, parade. – Boston Globe (bostonglobe.com)
- Romney: Health Care Mandate ‘Is A Tax’ (washington.cbslocal.com)
- Romney: Obama’s Health Mandate Is A Tax (npr.org)
- Romney calls Obama’s health care requirement a tax (news.yahoo.com)
- Romney: Health care mandate is a tax (firstread.msnbc.msn.com)
- Romney Calls Obama’s Health Care Requirement a Tax (swampland.time.com)
- Romney: Health-care mandate is a tax (suntimes.com)
- Romney: Health care mandate is a tax (firstread.msnbc.msn.com)
- Romney, in Shift, Says Health Care Mandate Is a Tax (thecaucus.blogs.nytimes.com)
Romney responds to the SCOTUS ruling by making stuff up
To say that Mitt Romney’s response to today’s Supreme Court decision was brazenly dishonest is an understatement:
“Obamacare was bad policy yesterday. It’s bad policy today. Obamacare was bad law yesterday. It’s bad law today. Let me tell you why I say that. Obamacare raises taxes on the American people by approximately $500 billion. Obamacare cuts Medicare, cuts Medicare, by approximately $500 billion. And even with those cuts, and tax increases, Obamacare adds trillions to our deficits and to our national debt and pushes those obligations on to coming generations.
“Obamacare also means that for up to 20 million Americans, they will lose the insurance they currently have, the insurance that they like and they want to keep. Obamacare is a job killer. Businesses across the country have been asked what the impact is of Obamacare. Three quarters of those surveyed by the Chamber of Commerce said Obamacare makes it less likely for them to hire people. And perhaps most troubling of all, Obamacare puts the federal government between you and your doctor.”
From beginning to end, this is incredibly misleading. The Affordable Care Act doesn’t cut $500 billion from Medicare services; it ends the Medicare Advantage program, which cost the government a huge amount of money with few benefits. Likewise, the law doesn’t add “trillions to our deficits.” By most accounts, the law reduces the deficit over the next decade and works to reduce the overall rate of health care spending by the federal government. And on the claims that the law will cause “up to 20 million Americans” to lose their insurance, and make it harder for businesses to hire, Romney is simply lying. Under the law, you can maintain your current health insurance if you like it. As for small businesses, since the Affordable Care Act hasn’t actually been implemented, there’s no way that it can be responsible for sluggish hiring.
The fact that Romney has decided to fabricate knocks against the Affordable Care Act is a sure sign that this ruling was bad for his campaign. The focus is no longer on whether the law is constitutional, but on whether the policy is good, and on a provision-by-provision basis, the Affordable Care Act is fairly popular with the public. Indeed, the Supreme Court’s ruling gives the Obama campaign a chance to reframe the law, and highlight its benefits for ordinary Americans. If this works, then the focus will be on what people might lose if Republicans are elected in November. This is terrible ground for a challenger to fight on.
Of course, if Romney can muddy the waters, then he might keep Obama from capitalizing on any post-SCOTUS boost. So his best bet is to lie constantly about what’s actually in the bill.
- My take on tomorrow’s SCOTUS decision on the Affordable Care Act (traderjb.com)
- SCOTUS win-lose scenarios (politico.com)
- The Romney campaign’s surreal arguments about the economy – The Plum Line – The Washington Post (mbcalyn.com)
- Obamacarians’ Pregame Rationalizations: Doesn’t Matter; Good for O; All Scalia’s Fault, and More! (txwclp.org)
- How Sun-Times plans to report the Supreme Court ‘Obamacare’ ruling (jimromenesko.com)
- Obamacare Decision Looms (huffingtonpost.com)
- SCOTUS & ObamaCare (queenofspainblog.com)
- Colbert Plans Ahead, Pre-tapes Reactions to SCOTUS ObamaCare Ruling (distriction.com)
- Obamacarians’ Pregame Rationalizations: Doesn’t Matter; Good for O; All Scalia’s Fault, and More! (reason.com)
Supreme Court upholds healthcare law as tax measure
By David G. SavageTribune Washington Bureau
9:44 a.m. CDT, June 28, 2012
The U.S. Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of President Obama’s healthcare law Thursday, ruling the government may impose tax penalties on persons who do not have health insurance.
The court’s long-awaited ruling rejected a broad legal attack on the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act brought by Republican state officials and the National Federation of Independent Business.
The legal challenge focused on the law’s so-called mandate that all must have insurance by 2014 or pay a tax penalty.
The administration defended this requirement under Congress’s power to regulate inter-state commerce. The challengers insisted the mandate was unprecedented and unconstitutional because the federal government would be forcing Americans to buy a private product.
The ruling was not a total victory for the Obama administration.
Chief Justice Roberts, who wrote the opinion for a 5-4 majority, said the required expansion of Medicaid violates states’ rights may be unconstitutional.
“The states are given no choice in this case. They must either accept a basic change in the nature of Medicaid or risk losing all Medicaid funding,” he wrote.
He said the federal government cannot require the states to follow this part of the law.
- Supreme Court decision on polarizing health care law looms (cnn.com)
- Supreme Court’s Ruling On Health Care Law Coming Tomorrow (whnt.com)
- Possible outcomes in pending health care law case (newsobserver.com)
- Which way will the US supreme court rule on Obamacare: panel predictions (guardian.co.uk)
- The Ultimate Guide To How Wall Street Is Preparing For Tomorrow’s Historic Supreme Court Ruling (AET, AGP, CI, CNC, CVH, HNT, HUM, MOH, UNH, WLP) (businessinsider.com)
- 55% of Americans Wanted U.S. Supreme Court to Uphold Arizona Immigration Law (righttruth.typepad.com)
- Health care: Time to sum up (scotusblog.com)
- The Supreme Court Scenarios on Health Care; The Odds Are Bad for a Good Result (alternet.org)
- US Supreme Court upholds key Arizona immigration clause – BBC News (bbc.co.uk)
- Supreme Court Upholds Citizens United; Tightens Corporate Stranglehold on Campaign Finance (commondreams.org)
The greatest power the justices have is carved into the marble, Simon writes. | AP Photo
Once upon a time, in a place called America, there was a government with three equal branches. That America no longer exists.
One branch now rules American life.
It is the Supreme Court, and it consists of nine people elected by nobody. They rule for life. Their power is absolute.
To overrule them requires an amendment to the Constitution, a process so politically difficult, it is nigh on impossible. (The most recent amendment, the 27th, which deals with congressional salaries, took 203 years to ratify.)
Technically, the justices can be removed from office for high crimes and misdemeanors, but none ever has been.
There is no aspect of American life — from civil rights to sports, to guns, to religion, to sex — over which the justices have not exerted control.
There are no qualifications to serve on the Supreme Court.
Though the Constitution lists qualifications to become a president, a senator or a representative, none are listed for the high court. The justices need not be of a certain age or have been born in the United States or even be a citizen.
They do not have to be lawyers, though all have been. (Some, however, never went to law school.)
You could be a justice of the Supreme Court. I could. Justin Bieber, age 18 and a Canadian citizen, also could be, though Senate approval would not be likely.
The greatest power the justices have is carved into the marble of the Supreme Court Building and gilded in gold: “It is emphatically the province and duty of the Judicial Department to say what the law is.”
These are the words of John Marshall, the fourth U.S. chief justice, written in 1803. His decision established forever that the Supreme Court had the right to uphold or strike down laws passed by Congress.
Nowhere in the Constitution is the Supreme Court given this power. The Supreme Court took it in a 4-0 decision. (There were only six members on the court at the time and two were sick.)
The Supreme Court would, over its history, come up with some terrible decisions countenancing slavery, locking up Japanese-American citizens in camps, supporting “separate but equal” segregation and approving the forced sterilization of the mentally ill.
But these were anomalies. Overall, the court would help create a vibrant and free society where citizens could live under the rule of law, where nobody was above the law and where equal rights were promised to all.
For much of modern times, the court has been seen as being above politics. This was very important as a balance to its vast power. Even though justices were appointed by political presidents and approved by political senators, their own politics was to be suppressed.r
We realized they were human beings with political opinions, but we expected them to put those opinions aside.
And then came 2000 and the court’s 5-4 decision that made George W. Bush the president of the United States. The decision was nakedly political. “The case didn’t just scar the Court’s record,” Jeffrey Toobin wrote in The New Yorker, “it damaged the Court’s honor.”
Its honor has never fully recovered. Our current court is led by Chief Justice John Roberts, who was appointed by Bush in 2005 after having worked on Bush’s behalf in Florida in 2000.
The signature of the Roberts Court, Toobin wrote, has been its eagerness to overturn the work of legislatures. This is hardly conservative doctrine but today, politics trumps even ideology. In, the court “gutted the McCain-Feingold campaign-finance law” which amounted to “a boon for Republicans.”
“When the Obama health-care plan reaches the high court for review,” Toobin predicted 18 months ago, “one can expect a similar lack of humility from the purported conservatives.”
At this writing, I do not know how a majority of the justices will rule on Obama’s health care plan, which was passed into law by Congress. Two branches of government have spoken, but their speech is but a whisper compared with the shout of our high court.
The die was cast in 2000. And it would take the most dewy-eyed of optimists to expect the court’s decision to be anything other than political.
Justice John Paul Stevens, now retired, wrote in his dissent in in 2000: “Although we may never know with complete certainty the identity of the winner of this year’s Presidential election, the identity of the loser is perfectly clear. It is the Nation’s confidence in the judge as an impartial guardian of the rule of law.”
That is a lot to lose. But we have lost it. And getting it back may be a long time in coming.
- How Right-Wingers on the Supreme Court Sold Our Democracy Down the River – Again | | AlterNet (mbcalyn.com)
- Obama’s Meddling Supreme Court Problem (themoderatevoice.com)
- Dear Dems: Get Angry if Obamacare Goes Down (newser.com)
- Insurers loses Supreme Court appeal over fraudulent injuries claim (independent.co.uk)
- Supreme Court rules mandatory life sentences for juveniles unconstitutional (jurist.org)
- GOP plan for ‘Obamacare’: Nothing (politico.com)
- HHS goes on spending spree ahead of ObamaCare ruling (theblaze.com)
- US Supreme Court upholds key Arizona immigration clause – BBC News (bbc.co.uk)
- BREAKING: Supreme Court Doubles Down On Citizens United (thinkprogress.org)
- Matthews: Current Supreme Court Would Not Have Backed Desegregation, Civil Rights Bill (mediaite.com)
How Right-Wingers on the Supreme Court Sold Our Democracy Down the River — Again
The Court’s right-wing majority refused to look at facts that showed how it erred in its 2010 Citizens United ruling.
June 25, 2012
When the gavel fell in the U.S. Supreme Court’s chamber after the justices overturned Montana’s century-old ban on corporate electioneering on Monday, it drove another nail into the coffin of American democracy.
Of course, America’s campaign finance laws have been riddled with loopholes for years. What’s new and scary is the emerging audacity and overt politicization of the Supreme Court.
Taken narrowly, the 5-4 ruling, American Tradition Partnership v. Bullock, affirmed the rights of corporations to participate in Montana elections by overturning a 1912 ban that top Montana political leaders and judges said was needed to keep the Big Sky State’s low-cost elections free from undue influence by wealthy interests.
“Montana’s arguments… were already rejected in Citizens United or fail to meaningfully distinguish the case,” the Supreme Court majority’s one-page ruling said.
More broadly, the Court’s right-wing majority reaffirmed the controversial 2010 ruling with impunity. By not revisiting any aspect of Citizens United, they declared that new facts upending the decision did not matter. Nor would they admit that they had erred on key points in Citizens United, or that public outcry over the ruling meant much, or that major loopholes unleashed by Citizens United – and follow-up court rulings – were relevant.
“Were it up to me, I would vote to… reconsiderCitizens United or, at least, its application in this case,” wrote Justice Stephen Breyer, in a short dissent agreed to by justices Ginsburg, Sotomayor and Kagan. “But given the Court’s per curiam [majority] disposition, I do not see a significant possibility of reconsideration.”
The refusal to revisit Citizens United will likely reverberate in political circles for years.
Today’s biggest campaign finance loopholes—those that allow shadow groups known as super PACs that can take multi-million-dollar donations and run the nastiest political ads, all while pretending that they aren’t coordinating their actions with candidates—are now going to become an anti-democratic fixture on the American political landscape.
What does it mean when the Court’s ruling majority cannot look at new facts objectively, cannot admit that they erred, and cannot review aspects of a recent decision despite calls to do so from the country’s best legal minds, top federal elected officials, majorities of voters asked in numerous nationwide polls, and four associate Court justices? It means, as political analyst James Fallows wrotethis weekend in the Atlantic, that most reasonable observers would conclude that the United States was experiencing “a kind of long-term coup if we saw it happening anywhere else.”
Who is leading this putative coup led by the Supreme Court’s conservatives?
The answer is the Republican Party, as the beneficiary of most of 2012’s big-dollar loopholes and whose officials have filed most of the lawsuits that have resulted in the ongoing deregulation of campaign finance laws. Also winning big are a handful of the richest Americans, typically old men whose multi-million-dollar political gifts barely dent their vast family fortunes. And it is also major corporate players, who, emboldened by Citizens United—and federal failures to enforce most campaign finance laws—have flocked to newly politicized non-profits that can spend millions on political advertising but don’t have to disclose their donors’ identities.
Lost in the deregulatory melee are the voices of ordinary Americans.
“The current situation, wrought by Citizens United, is nothing short of a gross debasement of our democracy and the idea of one citizen, one vote,” said Paul S. Ryan, senior council for the Campaign Legal Center, who filed a brief urging the Court to revisit the 2010 ruling. “In theory the decision is naïve. In practice it is shameful.”
“The Supreme Court continues to deny reality when it comes to assessing the impact of independent spending on elections,” said Public Citizen president Robert Weissman, in a statement that typified the reaction from campaign reform advocates. “The Court is not going to overturn Citizens United, at least in the near term. It thus falls on the people to overturn the Court, through a constitutional amendment.”
Weissman and other amendment proponents omit another possibility: that the best way to counter a runaway Supreme Court in the short term would be electing a president that would appoint a fairer minded federal judiciary, starting at the Supreme Court. Three justices, two conservatives and one liberal, are now in their mid-70s and approaching retirement.
A Nation of Men, Not Laws
The scariest aspect of the Supreme Court’s right-wing majority is their self-satisfying radicalism. They are anything but conservative jurists — true judicial conservatives would hold facts in higher regard than their ideological beliefs and partisan leanings.
One of fundamental precepts of American democracy is that there is a difference between the “rule of law” and the “rule of men.” The judicial process is based on establishing the facts in court and having judges interpret the laws in a fair-minded if not skeptical manner.
The problem with the Citizens United ruling, and indeed with Buckley v. Valeo, the 1976 campaign finance ruling that ushered in today’s big money-dominated elections, is that key elements of both these decisions were not based on the facts. They were based on the beliefs of justices in the majority about what they wanted the facts to be.
In Buckley, the Court looked at a new law passed by Congress that limited campaign donations and campaign spending. It wanted to rush out a decision well before the 1976 presidential election, but didn’t have a factual record about how the new contribution and spending limits would work, according to Burt Neuborne, who was involved in the case and is now legal director of the Brennan Center at NYU Law School.
So the Court asked both sides to negotiate a settlement—and that’s why that decision reads like a scholarly article, not a court case. Law professors citeBuckley as exactly what courts are not supposed to do procedurally. Yet it laid the foundation for today’s campaigns—and was the most defining campaign finance ruling until Citizens United.
Buckley unleashed a political demon. It ruled that individuals could spend unlimited amounts on their own in a political campaign. The justices held that the only reason to limit such spending was to prevent corruption, but concluded that individuals could not corrupt themselves. For years, campaign consultants and election lawyers followed this logic—and the way it was applied by judges—and created fictitious political committees that were supposedly unconnected to candidates and thus exempt from regulation. Thus, monied interests came to monopolize the airwaves and stifle electoral debate.
Over the years, campaign finance reformers have waged a number of legal battles with loophole-embracing lawyers and have only won a few—mostly to preserve campaign contribution limits, donation disclosure laws, public financing schemes, and the long-established precedent that prevented corporations from spending freely in elections.
The corporate ban fell with the 2010 Citizens United decision. In it, the Supreme Court said that corporations and unions could make unlimited donations to non-candidate political committees—so-called “independent expenditures.”
It also said that because these committees called themselves independent, they were independent and were exempt from regulation. And they said that independent political committees could not be corrupted, and that political corruption had to be close to bribery—and not just create an appearance of impropriety.
Another federal court decision that quickly followed Citizens United tied these threads together and unleashed 2012’s super PACS, in which former aids to various presidential candidates (mostly on the GOP side of the aisle) created these groups, started taking multi-million-dollar donations, and used the money for ads backing their ex-bosses.
These loopholes were unmasked and reported on by major media organizations. This record of multi-million-dollar gifts by donors who were then seen meeting with specific candidates, as well as the record of independent groups that ran negative ads that were a counterpoint to the candidate’s positive ads, were some of the “facts” that prompted many people—editorial boards, advocates, elected officials, and associate Supreme Court justices—to ask the Court’s majority to revisitCitizens United.
When in late 2011 the Montana Supreme Court upheld its century-old ban on corporate electioneering, it was widely seen as a challenge to Citizens United—because under the Constitution’s Supremacy Clause, state courts have to follow the U.S. Supreme Court’s rulings. The Montana Supreme Court said that Montana had a unique political history, and had all kinds of legal reasons to uphold its 1912 ban on corporate electioneering.
Most election law scholars believed that Montana would be overruled, but they also held out hope that the U.S. Supreme Court would rehear aspects of Citizens United, because the decision’s claims that independent political committees—like super PACs—were in fact independent had proven to be false in 2012. Moreover, they held out hope that the 2010 ruling’s declarations that independent expenditure groups could not be corrupted would also be re-examined. That appeared to the very kind of conflict of interest Buckley said could be regulated—but which Citizens United said was not a problem.
Two Supreme Court justices, Stephen Breyer and Ruth Bader Ginsburg, issued a short statement when the Court took the Montana case, saying they hoped their colleagues would use the case to revisit these aspects of Citizens United. A variety of legal briefs were filed arguing the same thing. Arizona Republican Sen. John McCain and Rhode Island Democratic Senator Sheldon Whitehouse said wealthy interests were using the threat of outsized donations to super PACs to threaten elected officials—giving another real-life example of Citizen United’s anti-democratic impact.
Former top American Civil Liberties Union officials, who broke with the group’s fundamentalist First Amendment stance, wrote a brief reminding Citizen United’s main author, Justice Anthony Kennedy, of his prior decisions holding that not all corporations were treated equally for First Amendment purposes.
None of these arguments swayed the Court’s right-wing ideologues.
“Montana’s experience, like considerable experience elsewhere since the Court’s decision in Citizens United, casts grave doubt on the Court’s supposition that independent expenditures do not corrupt or appear to do so,” Justice Breyer wrote in his dissent.
Campaign finance reformers pledged to keep fighting in the wake of Monday’s ruling. Many states across the country, including Montana, are looking at ballot measures calling on Congress to send a constitutional amendment to the states that would return the power to control campaign finances to Congress.
But there is no getting around the bottom line. The Montana ruling at the Supreme Court is a dark day for American democracy. The Court only makes campaign finance rulings periodically and often decades apart. In the meantime, the special interests and people with the deepest pockets have new power to dominate and distort all stages of the democratic process—from elections to lobbying.
Whether the solution is a constitutional amendment or electing a president who will not appoint ideologues to the court is an open question. What is clear is that American democracy is certainly weakened and possibly imperiled when the highest court deliberately chooses to ignore facts and consequences that impact how the public elects its representative government.
- High court affirms corporations’ right to political spending (nbcpolitics.msnbc.msn.com)
- Montana governor calls for amendment to overturn Citizens United (rawstory.com)
- Supreme Court Upholds Citizens United; Tightens Corporate Stranglehold on Campaign Finance (commondreams.org)
- Supreme Court Declines to Revisit Citizens United (nytimes.com)
- Supreme Court Throws Out Most of Draconian Arizona Immigration Law, Keeps “Papers, Please” Part For Now | AlterNet (inprisonedwomen.wordpress.com)
- In New Decision, The Supreme Court Still Loves Citizens United (motherjones.com)
- Matt Taibbi: Wall Street Mafia | Why Are Americans Anxious and Stressed? | Right-Wing Supreme Court Sells Us Out (womensphilanthropy.typepad.com)
- US Supreme Court Reaffirms Loyalty To Citizens United, Rejects Montana Campaign Finance Ruling (ibtimes.com)
- Court affirms Citizens United ruling (thehill.com)
With Justices Set to Rule on Health Law, 2 Parties Strategize
Published: June 14, 2012
WASHINGTON — House Republicans are not waiting for the Supreme Court verdict on the new health care law to plot their strategic response. If the measure is not thrown out entirely, House leaders plan to immediately force a vote to repeal the law to reinforce their deep opposition to the legislation, opposition that has become central to their political identity.
· Contingency Plans Are Few if Court Strikes Down Insurance Requirement (March 28, 2012)
· News Analysis: In the Court, Split Seems Partisan (March 28, 2012)
· Health Ruling Hinges on How Justices Frame the Core Issue(March 28, 2012)
The emerging game plan for the Republicans who control the House is just one element of the coordinated planning by groups on both sides of the issue as the Supreme Court ruling approaches as early as next week. The Republican National Committee, in consultation with Congressional campaign offices and Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign, is readying a war room. TheNational Republican Congressional Campaign has mounted a petition drive for repeal, complete with a function to allow signers to watch their faxed petitions arrive over the Internet.
At the White House, which has much riding on the case, top officials continue to project confidence that the court will rule in its favor and that the administration will move on from there to put the law into force. But White House allies and advocates of the new law do not necessarily share that view and are gearing up in the event of an unfavorable decision.
Pro-health care law groups from key political battlegrounds converged on Washington this week for two days of meetings to coordinate their political response at the behest of Families USA, one of the law’s most stalwart defenders. Democratic aides on Capitol Hill are readying a comeback designed to force Republicans to show their hand on the issue of the uninsured.
House Democrats have been issued a “pocket card” to carry with them, spelling out in big numbers how the law has already helped people: 86 million who have received free preventive care, 105 million who no longer face a lifetime cap on benefits, and as many as 17 million children who can no longer be denied coverage because of pre-existing health conditions.
And the health insurance industry has started a lobbying and social media effort to drive home its contention that popular regulatory provisions in the law cannot survive if the Supreme Court strikes down the mandate that all Americans buy health insurance.
“Our focus is making people understand the inextricable link between the coverage mandate and the rest of the insurance regulations,” said Robert Zirkelbach, a spokesman for America’s Health Insurance Plans, the insurance industry group behind a campaign known simply as “The Link.”
The Supreme Court’s decision is expected as early as next week but more likely the following week. Rarely in the high court’s history has a decision had so much riding on it, for the economy, for the vast health care industry and for the nation’s body politic — from the White House race to the 435 House campaigns.
After a burst of prognostication around oral arguments over the health care law, known as the Affordable Care Act, groups on both sides have fallen back into a state of nervous anticipation. No one is certain how the court will rule, or how the politics will shake out in the aftermath.
Lawmakers, political strategists and activists are preparing for three contingencies: the court upholds the law, the court invalidates the insurance-purchasing mandate but preserves most of the law, or the court throws out the law, Mr. Obama’s signature domestic achievement. In the event that the law it is crippled or eviscerated, the contest will be to ensure that the other party is held responsible, not only for the popular provisions that are lost but what comes next for the 46 million Americans still without health insurance.
Representative Eric Cantor of Virginia, the House majority leader, said that unless the court throws out the law in its entirety, House Republicans intend to push the issue back to the floor of the House and call for its repeal.
Since Republicans believe that health insurance companies are contractually obligated to maintain some of the most popular provisions, like allowing adults under age 26 to remain on their parents’ health plans or ending lifetime payment caps, until the next open insurance enrollment period, they contend there will be less pressure on Republicans to produce the “replace” part of their promise to “repeal and replace” the Affordable Care Act. Republicans say their view was bolstered by recent signs from the health insurance industry that they will retain some popular benefits.
“I don’t think we would take the step of countering with a comprehensive, thousands-of-pages bill like Obamacare, no,” Mr. Cantor said. “I don’t think that’s what the country wanted. I think that’s what scared so many people.”
After a repeal vote, Republicans plan to first let the dust settle. Then, Mr. Cantor said, they would move forward incrementally with bills to allow the purchase of insurance across state lines, to loosen restrictions on consumers wishing to change insurers, and to bolster tax-preferred health savings accounts. When several Republican lawmakers suggested popular parts of the health care law would be maintained, conservatives loudly revolted. House Speaker John A. Boehner of Ohio stepped in to say the law must be wiped clean before any next steps are taken.
A senior Republican House aide said it was up to the White House, not the Republicans, to produce a contingency plan for those left behind by a court invalidation, like the thousands of sick people or consumers with pre-existing conditions who have joined new federally backed high-risk pools.
Even before those moves, advocates are trying to seed the political battleground. The conservative group American Crossroads and Crossroads GPS began a $4.6 million advertising campaign against six Democratic Senate candidates on Wednesday, includingan attack on Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota centered on “Obamacare.”
On the other side of the issue, Ron Pollack, executive director of Families USA, said this week, advocates of the law from the most politically important states are gathering to coordinate messages for the week ahead. The most important task is to impress on voters that the court’s ruling will likely have no impact on the heart of the health care law — health coverage to the uninsured, started in 2014, through the expansion of Medicaid, the establishment of state-run health insurance exchanges and tax subsidies for the purchase of private insurance plans on those exchanges.
The Supreme Court may well toss out the mandate to purchase insurance, and without that mandate, two of the most popular regulations may have to go, the ban on denial of coverage for pre-existing conditions and an end to variable insurance rates for different populations, like women and minorities, in favor of “community rating.”
“If the court invalidates the mandate and invalidates those two key insurance market reforms, we need to make sure public does not see that as meaning the law is killed,” Mr. Pollack said.
The Herndon Alliance, an umbrella group that was critical to assembling the coalition that got the health care law passed, has put together a Web page devoted to “Supreme Court messaging” in the coming days.
“One of our goals is getting people talking off the same sheet of paper,” said Bob Crittenden, the group’s executive director.
- Supreme Court Debates Striking Down Whole Health Law – NYTimes.com (policyabcs.wordpress.com)
- New Poll: The Supreme Court and the Health Care Law (thecaucus.blogs.nytimes.com)
- Obama Health Care Law: Living On Borrowed Time At The Supreme Court? Join Us For A Live Discussion (huffingtonpost.com)
- GOP adjusts health care strategy (politico.com)
- Supreme Court ruling on healthcare law could bring trouble for Republicans (thehill.com)
- Romney: Overturning health care law ‘right thing’ (kansascity.com)
- Fox News Poll: 60% Think Health Care Mandate Violates Individual Rights (foxnews.com)
- Budget Office Director Says Health Law Hasn’t Hit Economy (thecaucus.blogs.nytimes.com)
- Classical music news: Guess what kind of classical music reigned supreme as the U.S. Supreme Court debated the merits and constitutionality of the national health care law? (welltempered.wordpress.com)
- IRS among those anxiously awaiting Supreme Court ruling on health care law (dontmesswithtaxes.typepad.com)
Republican Stupidity of biblical proportions
Obamacare is dead. Or it will be when the Supremes finally administer the coup de grace. So what comes after Obamacare?
Would you believe Boehnercare?
What is it?
It is the plan that is now circulating for when the Supremes strike down Obamacare. The Republicans want to take the “popular” aspects of Obamacare and make them Boehnercare.
Is brain death a prerequisite for becoming a leader in the Republican Party?
Mr. Boehner, if Obamacare is unconstitutional, what the hell makes you think your version of it will be?
The Republicans want to bribe the voters with the so-called popular provisions, such as allowing your kids to live in your basement and stay on your insurance until they are 26 or the coverage of preexisting conditions.
Allegedly they want to keep healthcare affordable.
If you want to make healthcare affordable, there is one foolproof system that will work every time. It is called the free market.
Not only does it work, we have proof. If you need to see the free market at work, look at vision correction, AKA Lasik.
When Lasik first appeared on the scene, treatments cost $10,000. Today it is $199 an eye and the doctor will finance it for you.
It is simple. Health insurance does not cover Lasik. Health insurance distorts and destroys the free market. Healthcare consumers neither know nor care what the costs of healthcare are. All they know is what their copay and deductable are. That is it.
The Republicans in Washington are talking about using government to try and keep healthcare costs down. If you are not terrified of that, you should be.
Washington’s competence ends at the level of managing a two-moon outhouse.
If Boehner and company pander this way, all we will be getting is Obamacare lite. Government is never the solution. It is the problem.
All this proves is that Boehner and company are big government Republicans. There is no commitment on their part to reduce the size of government. We can’t even afford the level of government we currently have.
Our debt exceeds that of all of Europe combined. Debt is a far greater enemy than the lack of a government healthcare program.
When will the Republicans ever learn?
They have bought into the myth that we must make certain that everyone has health insurance.
Health Insurance is what is making healthcare more expensive. Healthcare is not the issue. Making healthcare inexpensive so that the average American can pay out of their pocket. The Republicans have fallen for it. The debate should be how could we use the free market to make medical care affordable, more efficient and more cutting edge.
By buying into the left’s line that the issue is the number of uninsured, we have lost.
If the Republicans put parts of Obamacare back in, this time as Boehnercare, we will destroy the budget and we will set the platform for socialist healthcare in ten years.
It will just be easier for them next time.
- Low-budget super PAC goes after ‘Obamacare’ with horror movie videos (rawstory.com)
- Amazing Poll Results. And, Obamacare. (isellerfinance.wordpress.com)
- Obamacare Gets A Haircut (notamystery.com)
- The Folly of “Free Market” Healthcare Reform (usnews.com)
- Republican Games as usual in Washington. – Tea Party Nation (gds44.wordpress.com)
- Newt Gingrich supported Obamacare before he didn’t support Obamacare (warmsouthernbreeze.wordpress.com)
- Occupy Obamacare Super PAC Releases Horror Video Attacking Health Care Plan and Electrocuting Herman Cain at Tea Party Rally (thesalvationtimes.wordpress.com)
- Hump Day Report: Obamacare Judgment Day (humpdayreport.wordpress.com)