How will Supremes rule in ObamaCare case? Place your bets at this window

The U.S. Supreme Court is scheduled to hear oral arguments next week on lawsuits challenging the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act (aka ObamaCare).

Your typical right-winger thinks the ACA is unconstitutional on its face. But, of course, your typical right-winger also is notoriously ignorant of the court precedents on issues likely to come into play in this case.

Moreover, your typical right-winger is utterly unaware of the far-reaching consequences that could result from a broad ruling against the ACA. The aftermath could be chaotic, to put it mildly, as all manner of laws and programs are subsequently seen as failing to meet the standards of constitutionality established by the high court’s wholesale rejection of ObamaCare.

Before you make what you think is an educated prediction of how the Supremes will rule, you might want to check out THIS PIECE by Jonathan Cohn, which only scratches the surface of potential consequences:

Rejecting the Affordable Care Act could deprive 30 million people of health insurance, weaken the coverage for tens of millions more, and alter one-sixth of the economy. In those respects, obviously, it would be a highly consequential decision. But such a ruling could also have have far-reaching legal effects… At least in theory, the court could use this case to redefine the boundaries of federal power, in a way that the courts have not done in nearly a century.

UPDATE: Meanwhile, Jonathan Chait ARGUES that some conservative opponents of ObamaCare don’t want to be bothered by facts:

[H]ostility to empiricism has defined the conservative approach to health care. How else could a concept developed by a conservative think tank, implemented by a Republican governor, and largely uncontroversial within the conservative world suddenly become the death of freedom? Because the conservative movement’s understanding of concepts like “freedom” is a hazy ideological abstraction, unmoored from factual grounding, that can attach itself to nearly any partisan position. If you’re uninterested in the details (or even, like [Bill] Kristol, actively hostile to the very idea of being interested in the details) then your disposition toward one idea can easily lurch from mildly supportive to hysterically in opposition.





  1. Neftali

    Almost all of ObamaCare is perfectly legal. The stickler is the insurance mandates. The Supreme Court will eventually find it Unconstitutional. They will strike out the mandates part but let everything us slide.

    In the grand scheme of things, the mandates don’t matter much. Everyone who wants insurance, can get it thanks to the new laws against denying people with pre-existing conditions. Yes, there are the people who will refuse to get health insurance even though they can afford it, but the effect really doesn’t have that much effect of the typical individual insurance policy. Nor does covering that small percentage of “those who can afford insurance but refuse to get it” really add to the grand cost of ObamaCare.

  2. Unfortunately, wrong Neftali. Under the scenario you described, why would I have insurance when i am healthy? If I cannot be denied for any pre existing condition, I just wait until I am sick or need major work and sign up for the plan that best covers the illness I have.

  3. Ted Biondo

    Obamacare will be declared unconstitutional by a 5-4 vote. And because of your warnings of dire consequencies should the court rule that way, Pat, methinks that you believe that will be the result, too.

  4. Justice Kennedy will determine the fate of all.

  5. Carol Foster

    No matter the ruling on this one, Republicans will still be seen as the Party who did nothing about healthcare insurance problems.
    This nation voted nearly four years ago and clearly said changing healthcare was a top priority. Most Americans like the plan. If the court kicks it to the curb, Republicans will feel the backlash in the November electons because they have produced nothing to replace it and have clearly said the old way voters were rejecting was just fine with them.
    No matter the outcome, Democrats will have changed forever the conversation on which political party listens to the real problems Americans are facing in the real world they live in and not the insulated walls of Board Rooms and Government.

  6. Neftali

    Carol – How to do explain the largest mid-term election victory for the Republicans in 70 years in 2010?

    The answer is that most Americans do NOT like the plan.


  7. Ted: Actually, I expect that the court will uphold all or most of the ObamaCare law. I mentioned the potential consequences of broadly overturning the law simply to point out that the justices would have a hard time reconciling such a decision with previous rulings upholding laws that involved similar questions of constitutionality.

    For example, as Jonathan Cohn notes in the piece to which I linked:

    “Justice Antonin Scalia, in particular, would have to find some way to explain away his concurring opinion in Gonzales v. Raich, in which he stated ‘Congress may regulate even noneconomic local activity if that regulation is a necessary part of a more general regulation of interstate commerce’ and when a failure to take such action might ‘undercut’ legitimate regulations. This is precisely the argument that the administration and its allies make about the mandate: That, without it, regulations of the insurance industry won’t work as well.”

    And then there’s this quote from a ruling made by Appellate Court Judge, a conservative, in upholding ObamaCare:

    “No Supreme Court case has ever held or implied that Congress’s Commerce Clause authority is limited to individuals who are presently engaging in an activity involving, or substantially affecting, interstate commerce. … To be sure, a number of the Supreme Court’s Commerce Clause cases have used the word ‘activity’ to describe behavior that was either regarded as within or without Congress’s authority. But those cases did not purport to limit Congress to reach only existing activities. They were merely identifying the relevant conduct in a descriptive way, because the facts of those cases did not raise the question–presented here–of whether ‘inactivity’ can also be regulated. In short, we do not believe these cases endorse the view that an existing activity is some kind of touchstone or a necessary precursor to Commerce Clause regulation.”

    Silberman also said that the “right to be free from federal regulation is not absolute, and yields to the imperative that Congress be free to forge national solutions to national problems, no matter how local–or seemingly passive–their individual origins.”

    So, you see, Ted, overturning ObamaCare could also have the effect of overturning lots of stuff that has previously passed constitutional muster with the Supreme Court. That’s why I think it won’t happen.

  8. Carol states

    “No matter the outcome, Democrats will have changed forever the conversation on which political party listens to the real problems Americans are facing in the real world they live in and not the insulated walls of Board Rooms and Government.”

    If the Democrats don’t get involved in those board room and government discussions none of the political rhetoric of feelings over reality that they love to spew will matter one whit. How do you think the Greek people are “feeling” right now about the liberal politics they have endorsed for decades?

    Listen to an adult explain the crisis we face, and why it is important that at least some Democrats act like adults rather than political hacks.


    While these ideas have enjoyed growing bipartisan support, President Obama has doubled down on policies that have drawn growing bipartisan opposition.

    With regard to Medicare, his latest budget calls for giving “additional tools” to the Independent Payment Advisory Board, an unaccountable board of 15 unelected bureaucrats empowered by the new health-care law to cut Medicare in ways that will lead to denied care for seniors. Just this month, Democrats and Republicans alike voted for a measure to repeal this board.

    And with regard to tax reform, the president’s latest budget calls for taking more from American families and businesses by raising rates and adding complexity to the tax code—precisely at odds with the bipartisan consensus for tax reform.

    It is rare in American politics to arrive at a moment in which the debate revolves around the fundamental nature of American democracy and the social contract. But that is where we are. And no two documents illustrate this choice of two futures better than the president’s budget and the one put forward by House Republicans.

    The president’s budget gives more power to unelected bureaucrats, takes more from hard-working taxpayers to fuel the expansion of government, and commits our nation to a future of debt and decline.

    The contrast with our budget couldn’t be clearer: We put our trust in citizens, not government. Our budget returns power to individuals, families and communities. It draws inspiration from the Founders’ belief that all people are born with an unalienable right to the pursuit of happiness. Protecting this right means trusting citizens, not nameless government officials, to decide what is in their best interests and make the right choice about our nation’s future.

  9. Neftali: You’re on pretty shaky ground with your implication that Republican victories in the 2010 congressional elections pivoted on the issue of ObamaCare.

    The exit polls showed that the economy, not ObamaCare, was by far the most important issue to voters.

    Moreover, several pre-election polls (Associated Press, Washington Post-ABC News, Kaiser Family Foundation) showed that the public was almost evenly divided on the ObamaCare issue. The Kaiser poll, for example, showed 47 percent of Americans supporting the law and 48 percent opposed.

    There’s simply no good evidence that the wave of Republican victories arose mainly from opposition to ObamaCare. Rather, it was the economy.

  10. Neftali: Two points regarding the Gallup poll to which you’ve linked.

    1) That poll was published fully one year after the 2010 congressional elections.

    2) That poll showed that 47 percent of Americans favored repeal of ObamaCare, while 42 percent opposed repeal. The difference between the two sides was within the poll’s margin of error.

    So, you’re wrong when you cite the Gallup poll as proof of this: “The answer is that most Americans do NOT like the plan.”

  11. ” The difference between the two sides was within the polls margin of error” leaves us with over 100 million people opposed to a plan that will dramatically impact each and every one of their lives.

    Hardly a consensus building effort. Of course in the deluded world of liberals (as you note in another post today) those that oppose the plan are just too stupid to know what is good for them.

    I bet Hitler, Stalin and Mao believed that too.

  12. Brilliant, doc! By your logic, one has to be like Hitler, Stalin or Mao to think that there’s a sizable segment of the American public that is badly misinformed on certain matters.

    And, of course, none of this has anything to do with how the Supreme Court will rule on ObamaCare — a subject you seem to have avoided in all your comments in this thread.

  13. The Supreme Court will leave it intact.

  14. Mary Phillips

    The solution? If you want to drive , you must have insurance. If you want to utilize the healthcare system you must pay, either via insurance or out of your pocket. If you decide you do not want to be part of the system, then do not get sick. If you get sick , you must pay for your care. Otherwise, you DIE ! (Is this what we want our society to reflect?)

    I do not like paying my premiums, however it is the RESPONSIBLE thing to do.

  15. maryphil

    If Obamacare as written is be repealed by the Supreme Court. They will also state that hospital and doctors doNOT have to treat if you cannot pay.
    ( where else can you go for services and NOT pay? )

  16. I like how ExpDoc is hitting all of Fox News’ biggest talking points. Congrats, ExpDoc, you’re Fox News’ biggest advocate.

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