Quite a few supporters of Obamacare are sporting a glass-half-full attitude in anticipation of a ruling against the law’s individual mandate to purchase health insurance.
This is admirable, in a way. It’s as if they’ve preemptively skipped straight toward the last stage of grief, acceptance.
Theda Skocpol and Lawrence R. Jacobs write in the Los Angeles Times:
What happens if the Supreme Court nixes the individual mandate? Politically, the law might actually be better off if the mandate is surgically removed. After a couple of weeks of doomsaying, the focus of public discussion will switch to the important provisions most Americans favor.
Bob Keaveney, editorial director of Physicians Practice, says the law’s expansion of insurance coverage was overrated in the first place:
The ACA will succeed or fail based on its ability to rein in healthcare costs generally and Medicare costs in particular. Nothing will make health insurance more accessible than making healthcare more affordable. … Even without the mandate, millions of uninsured Americans will gain access to coverage via the expansion of Medicaid.
At Talking Points Memo, Brian Beutler gamed out plausible non-disastrous scenarios:
But the fact is that if the mandate falls next week, nothing will happen. Then the next week, nothing will happen. Nothing again the week after that, and nothing will continue to happen for the next 70 weeks, which is roughly when the bulk of the law takes effect. In the meantime, Congress can do something, or it can do nothing, Democratically controlled states can step in, or not. If lawmakers move aggressively and fix it in advance, great. If they don’t and then in 2014 the reforms start to wobble, Congress will do something, or a lot of states will pass their own laws to broaden the risk pools, and things will settle down.
Former Gov. Howard Dean was characteristically blunt, and, in a twist, says the loss of the mandate isn’t worth grieving:
I don’t give a damn about the individual mandate. It was a foolish thing to do anyway, and I hope it does get thrown out.
(On that, and only that, conservatives can agree with the doctor.)
Then there’s Jonathan Chait. Let’s just say Chait is commingling acceptance with anger:
It would be, in addition to a travesty of justice, a tragedy, depriving millions of Americans access to health insurance. I want to be clear about this: If the Court strikes down the mandate, I will lose my sh*t. But striking the mandate would not end the law, or even most of the law.