Thursday, June 28, 2012

Holy Cow -- The SC Upheld the ACA

I have to admit, I and NDD had a post ready to go up in the event the court over-turned the ACA.  However, that is not necessary for obvious reasons.

As an aside, I think that Roberts voted for the act, largely because he was concerned about the Supreme Court's stature in the US as a whole.  Had the ACA been voted down, the court would have been seen as far more partisan -- and therefore less relevant and important.  I also think he saw the political landscape as one where there was no hope for health reform should the law be voted down.

I'm very pleased by this development, happy the law was upheld, and am glad this nonsense is over.

Have a good day.
NDD here -- Here's what I wrote, regardless of the actual ruling:

>>The only way to solve the problem is at the national level, which is clearly within the commerce clause.

>>If the pharmaceutical and health care insurance industries aren't "interstate commerce", I don't know what is. Medical care expenses constitute 15% of GDP, about 5% more than any other industrialized country. There are no intrastate pharmaceutical manufacturers. The field is dominated by a few very large international companies. Similarly, there are only a few, nationwide health care insurers who dominate the field. Even the hospital system is becoming more concentrated and dominated by a decreasing number of providers, who frequently have multiple locations in metropolitan areas spanning several states.

>>So the idea that health care as a whole is anything other than the largest single component of interstate commerce is laughable. That spiraling medical costs from this interstate, even international system, is anything other than a crisis that demands an federal solution is similarly laughable. If ever there was something within Congress's delegated power to regulate interstate commerce, this is it.

>>Indeed, if individual states attempted to rein in medical costs as Congress has attempted to do under the ACA, it is unclear to say the least if those statutes could withstand Constitutional challenge themselves, as unduly burdening interstate commerce (the reason that state level Usury statutes were largely gutted by the Supreme Court in 1978).

>>Further, so long as the means of implementing that regulation of interstate commerce are reasonable and do not impinge on other substantive Constitutional protections -- such as the right to privacy, which even though Justice Scalia doesn't like it, is the reason that I can't be forced to eat broccoli -- there ought to be no question that the legislation is valid.<<

With the exception of Chief Justice Roberts, the opinion broke exactly the way partisans expected it to break immediately after oral argument.   There are four reactionary Justices who want to repeal the New Deal.  There are four liberal justices who are in favor of maintaining the precedents from the last 75 years.  I agree with Bonddad's first impression (which by the way is shared by at least one reactionary partisan) that Roberts joined the liberal Justices because of the likely devastation to the Court's reputation had the opinion been seen - accurately in my opinion - as enshrining reactionary partisan loyalty as constitutional Dogma.  Keep in mind that the price for that was the 5-4 ruling that places new restrictions on Congress's power to regulate interstate commerce.

Those are my immediate impressions, subject to more patient reflection.