The Fate of Obamacare

Three days of oral arguments on the constitutionality of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act have concluded. Day 1 was too boring for words, and didn’t matter anyway. Day 2 covered whether or not the “individual mandate” (everyone has to buy health insurance or pay a penalty / tax (see Day 1)) is something Congress can force on people through the Constitution’s Commerce Clause. Day 3 dealt largely with how much of the law can stand if the individual mandate is found to be unconstitutional and thrown out. Also in Day 3, the extent to which the Feds can coerce states to take certain actions by threat of withdrawing funds was covered. This has to do with an expansion of Medicare that is part of Obamacare. Good summaries at the links.

I think the five conservatives on the court (Kennedy is one) will either throw out or severely sabotage Obamacare so as to notch an ideological victory. That’s been the pattern. See, Heller, Citizens United, etc.  Throwing out the individual mandate would hamstring the entire thing.

Of course, single-payer government run health care (the liberal dream) is clearly constitutional. There may be a backlash demanding this once people realize what they’ve lost. But I doubt it.

The fact is, healthcare costs are out of control in the United States, and something has to be done.