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Liberals Preemptively Coping with Adverse SCOTUS Ruling on Mandate

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 [2] 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 [3] 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 [4] 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 [5], 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 [6]. 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.

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#1 Comment By TomB On June 25, 2012 @ 6:45 am

@ Scott Galupo:

Scott, you’ve got “conservatives” agreeing with Howard Dean where he hopes the mandate does get kicked, but it’s worth remembering that the mandate was originally the Right’s (good) idea to prevent “free ridership.” It only abandoned that when it found it better—in terms of whooping up its base—to try to deny Obama any credit for any successes and so started denouncing not only the mandate but “Obamacare” in total too.

On this issue at least the Right/conservatives are not being honest: They aren’t really against the mandate, they are against doing anything as regards the present system—as shown by Bush not having done anything about same other than incredibly burdening it with the unfunded prescription drug benefit for seniors.

Their present stance thus comes down to this: They dare not openly say to the broad public that absolutely nothing needs to be done, because obviously it does. So what they effectively end up doing is supporting Obamacare’s new structure, but denying it one of it’s best ideas and that helps fund it.

And of course this sort of thing should sound familiar to people: Writ small, it will result in exactly the same global situation that plagues us with programs upon programs that have been eagerly passed but never really funded, leaving us effectively bankrupt.

Pretty damned hard to support the Right/conservatives here: Having no ideas of their own they end up *supporting* free riders on the rest of our backs.

And you watch, whatever Romney ends up proposing after being eventually forced into endorsing something—again because it’s obvious something must be done—it will not allow free-ridership simply because no comprehensive plan could viably allow same.

The game-playing and partisanship and hypocrisy that’s gotten us to where we are now are just simply on spectacular display with this health-care issue. And instead of coming up with their own proposals and solutions, it’s the Right/Republicans who have been playing at things so hypocritically, no matter what damage it means to the country.

#2 Comment By Scott Galupo On June 25, 2012 @ 10:01 am

Oh, don’t get me wrong, TomB. I’ve written previously that I don’t object in principle to the mandate. And I agree with you that conservatives’ opposition to the ACA has been opportunistically muddled, and that they’ve generally been useless on the healthcare issue for decades.

#3 Comment By Jim Dooley On June 25, 2012 @ 11:54 am

“The game-playing and partisanship and hypocrisy that’s gotten us to where we are now…”

I don’t give a new rat’s a*** about “the game-playing and partisanship and hypocrisy that’s gotten us to where we are now.” They have been always with us. What I object to is the power of the know it all establishments in Washington DC, a city in a perpetual state of nervous breakdown, telling every man jack in America what he must buy. If it is costing me, you, and whomever a few hundred bucks a year to pay for the ‘free-riders’ in order to circumscribe at long last some limits on that bunch, speaking for myself, I’ll consider the price well worth it. As to hypocritical Right/Republicans inflicting damage on the country, that indictment distinguishes them from which party to this debate I’m left wondering?

#4 Comment By C. Van Carter On June 25, 2012 @ 3:49 pm

There is a lot of confusion about free riders, see [7] and [8].

#5 Comment By TomB On June 25, 2012 @ 5:40 pm

Jim Dooley wrote:

“If it is costing me, you, and whomever a few hundred bucks a year to pay for the ‘free-riders’ in order to circumscribe at long last some limits on [Washington], speaking for myself, I’ll consider the price well worth it.”

Now it’s my turn to say don’t get me wrong. For lots of reasons, including some of them C. Van Carter really brilliantly has cited to but also because of the coercion factor I don’t like *any* state-run health system, and prefer others to Obama’s if possible even.

But Jim, what’s gotten us into this mess in my view is that it’s been government spending in the first place *on* health care (mostly via Medicare and Medicaid since the Sixties) that have just simply made paying for same by the average person impossible.

And I mean *impossible.* One bad slip by a family member these days can (and does) mean utter bankruptcy for a family. (And indeed health-care bills are said to be the leading reason for bankruptcies these days.)

So whaddya do? One way or another—the mandate or (my preference) just via general taxes—the only way is to make everyone pay.

Unless you either try to get rid of Medicare and Medicaid and turn the clock back, or you say the present horrible situation is okay.

I just don’t see any other option. As they say, this pooch was screwed long ago, so either one says we just live with it (and it’s getting worse), or we all bite the bullet on it.

None of which slakes the equal anger everyone should share with you at the criminal bastards in D.C., past and present, in both parties. As I’ve said before, we’ve got criminal laws they’ve now passed making grossly negligent CEO’s into felons. Why the hell can’t we have criminal laws against grossly negligent (much less knowingly corrupted) politicians for their actions?

#6 Pingback By They Are the SCOTUS, Coup Coup Kachoo | The American Conservative On June 25, 2012 @ 6:09 pm

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