Chief Justice John Roberts, appointed by former Republican President George W. Bush, broke with other conservative colleagues to join the court's liberals to uphold the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. The United States Supreme Court ruled 5-4 Thursday that President Barack Obama's landmark healthcare legislation was in large part constitutional, shocking many around the country, especially here in Mississippi.
More specifically, SCOTUS ruled that the individual mandate was not constitutional but the idea was acceptable under Congress' power to tax, effectively relabeling the mandate a tax contrary to what Obama and fellow Democrats claimed when the legislation was debated and passed.
Chief Justice Roberts said the government doesn't have the right to force “individuals to become active in commerce… [so] the individual mandate cannot be sustained.”
But, Roberts added, "The Affordable Care Act’s requirement that certain individuals pay a financial penalty for not obtaining health insurance may reasonably be characterized as a tax. Because the Constitution permits such a tax, it is not our role to forbid it, or to pass upon its wisdom or fairness."
This means that the Obamacare Tax will be the single largest tax increase in American history never voted on as a tax by Congress. Did you catch that? The Obamacare Tax will be the single largest tax increase in American history never voted on as a tax by Congress. Let that sink in for a minute. Surely this could be challenged in and of itself, but I'm not a constitutional attorney so I'll leave such debate to those in another pay grade.
The Obamacare Tax further harms struggling small businesses and families in an economy this administration has yet to provide solutions to end the downturn it has overseen since taking office.
Many are now wondering if the government can force you to buy a product it endorses as long as it is called a tax, and if so, where does it stop.
In President Obama's remarks, he did not acknowledge the individual mandate as a tax, avoiding the terms altogether while saying it's time to move forward, not fight the battles of the past.
Yet, that is exactly what most Americans want based on public opinion polling and that's also what Congressional Republicans plan to do the week of July 9 as Speaker John Boehner announced a vote to repeal Obamacare that week by the U.S. House, a measure that is merely symbolic in that the U.S. Senate is still controlled by Democrats and Obama is the in the White House. Such repeal efforts are pointless unless and until Republicans can maintain control of the House, take the Senate and win the White House. In the mean time, three of Mississippi's four Congressmen and both U.S. Senators (all Republicans) are sure to support any repeal effort, despite the uphill battle.
Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney also spoke in the wake of the SCOTUS announcement disagreeing with the ruling and urging conservatives to end Obamacare by ousting Obama. The ruling also quickly buoyed the Romney camp's fundraising efforts as they announced some $300,000 in donations just 90 minutes after the ruling and over $1 million in three hours.
One portion of the law that SCOTUS struck down dealt with states and Medicaid. Roberts said, "What Congress is not free to do is to penalize states that choose not to participate in that new program by taking away their existing Medicaid funding."
The Chief Justice went on to say, "Given the nature of the threat and the programs at issue here, we must agree....In this case, the financial 'inducement' Congress has chosen is much more than 'relatively mild encouragement' — it is a gun to the head.... A State that opts out of the Affordable Care Act’s expansion in health care coverage thus stands to lose not merely 'a relatively small percentage' of its existing Medicaid funding, but all of it."
Mississippi House Public Health Chairman Rep. Sam Mims told Yall Politics, "I am greatly concerned and disappointed about today’s healthcare decision by the U. S. Supreme Court. It is most unfortunate that all Americans will be required to purchase health insurance or possibly face a severe penalty for not doing so. The insurance coverage mandate truly represents a tax increase on the citizens of our nation."
Mims, along with his Senate counterpart, will be tasked with overseeing the state legislature's response to Obamacare and enacting its mandates. He added, "While it is fortunate that the Court also ruled that states should not be required to expand Medicaid programs, I shall continue to develop conservative legislation to improve healthcare for all Mississippians."
Mississippi Right to Life issued a press release pointing out that the ruling on Obamacare "left intact the dangerous rationing provisions and abortion funding in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act... The decision is a blow to efforts to protect the vulnerable lives of unborn babies, elderly persons and those with serious illnesses."
Barbara Whitehead, Executive Director of Mississippi Right to Life (MSRTL) said in the release, “Any law that results in funding the killing of unborn children and the withholding of medical care must not stand... The state’s pro-life majority is extremely disappointed that the nation’s highest court has upheld a law that will lead to abortion funding and rationing.”
Yall Politics will continue to monitor this story as it relates to Mississippi. Stay tuned to our features and headlines for more updates.
Posted June 28, 2012 - 12:22 pm