Supreme Court Not a Threat to Obamacare

 

President Trump’s nomination of Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court has brought a new wave of “fake news” and false claims by Democrats. The latest is that her confirmation will destroy healthcare in America.

This latest scare tactic is based on the fact that the Supreme Court will hear arguments in its next session concerning the Affordable Care Act (ObamaCare). Health insurance industry analyst Robert Laszewski tells everyone to calm down. ObamaCare isn’t going anywhere fast.

Laszewski says this latest appeal to the Supreme Court relates to the repeal of the Individual Mandate, which happened in 2017, as a part of the Tax Reform Act. Since then, a number of Republican state attorneys have sued, arguing the loss of the Individual Mandate nullifies the entire legislation. The appeal to the Supreme Court comes from a decision by a Texas federal judge who determined that the whole law is unconstitutional in the absence of the Individual Mandate.

Laszewski gives several reasons why he doesn’t believe the Supreme Court will toss out ObamaCare:

  • Weak legal argument – Many conservative legal scholars have questioned the current challenge on the merits. Jonathan Adler of Case Western University, the architect of the last challenge, filed an amicus brief in which he said the current challenge is, “unmoored from law or contemporary doctrine.”
  • Past court decisions – Republican appointed justices are not purely partisan animals marching to the Trump political line. According to the Supreme Court database, from 2000 to 2018, 36% of all decisions were unanimous. Their 7 – 2 or 8-1 decisions made up 15 percent of decisions. The 5-4 decisions, by comparison occurred in only 19 percent of cases. Even in the 2019-2020 term, with new justices Gorsuch and Kavanaugh, only 21% of decisions were 5-3 or 5-4.
  • False claims – Those who are promoting fear of the dissolution of ObamaCare believe the dubious notion that if the Individual Mandate is gone, so will broader parts of the law such as the Medicaid expansion and the individual insurance subsidies. This is highly unlikely.
  • Unintended consequences – If the law were deemed entirely unconstitutional, it would eliminate insurance overnight for all those who are covered by ObamaCare policies. It is hard to see how one gets from eliminating the Individual Mandate, which has already been gone three years, to justifying elimination of coverage for millions overnight.

 

The Wall Street Journal editorial board agrees. They believe SCOTUS will preserve ObamaCare even in the absence of the Individual Mandate. “Justices Kavanaugh and Alito joined the Chief in striking down the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s for-cause removal provision while upholding the law. So it’s unlikely they will vote to overturn all of ObamaCare, especially since the economic reliance interests have also grown considerably since 2012.”

ObamaCare currently insures only 4% or about 20 million Americans. The rest have private health insurance, Medicare, Medicaid, or government-provided insurance for government employees or the military. Yet Democrats have seized upon this issue to spread fear that everyone is about to lose their healthcare insurance if the Senate confirms Judge Barrett.

This is a scare tactic, plain and simple, in the same way that they claim President Trump wants to eliminate coverage of pre-existing conditions. Both are false claims. Ironically, it is the same Democrats who want to eliminate your private health insurance through Medicare for All (Bernie Sanders’ plan) or ObamaCare with a “Public Option” (Joe Biden’s plan). Either way they want you to accept complete government control of your healthcare, sooner or later.

The confirmation of Judge Barrett is anathema to the Democrats, not because they fear the elimination of ObamaCare, but because they fear the loss of their ability to change our laws through activist liberal justices, rather than through the democratic process of change through Congress. The former allows changes never approved by the people, while the latter ensures the people have their constitutionally-guaranteed right to vote. That’s the way democracy is supposed to work.

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