Stunning turn for Obamacare—GOP promises fight
ashington DC-In a stunning turn of events today, the President’s signature Obamacarelegislation was ruled Constitutional in a 5-4 decision with Chief Justice, John Roberts joining the liberal side of the Court. Politico watchers inside the beltway said this was a much-needed victory, and Obama’s healthcare reform act will now put the Republicans on defense in the neck-and-neck 2012 presidential race.
A stunned Republican party vowed to mount an aggressive fight to repeal the law. GOP nominee, Mitt Romney, responded briefly to the Supreme Court ruling: “I will repeal and replace Obamacare.” He also conceded that health care does need to be reformed and mentioned pre-existing conditions, affordability for all and removing limits as areas the Congress needed to address.
At the heart of the legislation, the mandate, five Justices ruled to let it stand, not under the Constitution’s Commerce Clause as the government originally sought, but as a tax, a power the Congress can regulate.
An example of the taxes Americans’ can expect to pay if they don’t have insurance look like this. Beginning in 2014, those earning $50,000 will pay approximately $500 or 1 percent, in 2015 it doubles to 2 percent and finally in 2016 the penalty tax reaches 2.5 percent. To enforce the new law the government will turn to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Additionally, Obamacare counts on approximately $500 billion in new taxes as a funding mechanism, as well as a $500 billion cut in Medicare spending by the government. Currently, nearly 50 million Americans rely on Medicare, more than 40 million of those are senior citizens.
Critics have argued that drastically cutting Medicare isn’t the way to reform health care, but haven’t revealed the best way to fix a broken health care system.
According to a recent Forbes story, Mark Bertolini, CEO and Chairman of Aetna Insurance announced at conference, “that the end is near for profit driven health insurance companies. The system doesn’t work, it’s broke today [sic]. The end of insurance companies, the way we’ve run the business in the past, is here.” He continues to say, “While I have long argued that the for-profit health insurance model no longer works, and that some form of a single-payer system is—whether you like it or not— inevitable, the simple fact is that we are no more ready to make single-payer a success in America then we are capable of sustaining the existing for-profit model.”
Nevertheless, the ruling was not a complete victory for Democrats, as Chief Justice Roberts protected the states through the Commerce Clause. The ruling now gives states more control to limit the reach of the federal government, according to the majority dissent. Here, the liberal Justices described their skepticism and said under the Commerce Clause Obamacare remains unconstitutional, explaining a states’ refusal to expand the federal-state Medicaid program could not threatened states’ existing funding. In essence, the Court said the federal government couldn’t penalize states if they forgo Medicaid expansion under Obamacare.
While the issue reclaims 2012 political implications, attendees in front of the Supreme Court were either fans of Obamacare or fans of repeal and replace.
“This is a great day for Americans,” said Lorena James. “Now everyone will get healthcare and it will be cheaper for all of us. The President (Obama) promised us universal healthcare with free preventative care and his promise was upheld.”
However, those who fought against Obamacare see things much differently. “There is nothing free in life. Do you think doctors and hospitals are giving their time and products away for free? No way, someone is paying for the free ride and its the taxpayer,” said Debbie Monroe. “This issue will only inspire the Tea Party to rise up and vote out the President.”
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